UMass Boston

Anne Douglass

Curriculum & Instruction
Professor A
Bayside Floor 04


Anne Douglass, PhD, is associate professor of early childhood education, director of the graduate certificate program in early education leadership, and founding executive director at the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Additional Information

Dr. Douglass’s work focuses on the design of programs, systems, and policies that support individual and collective leadership for quality improvement and innovation among early educators who work with children from birth to age five. She is the author of Leading for Change in Early Care and Education: Cultivating Leadership from Within (2017) and co-author of Engaging Young Engineers: Teaching Problem-Solving Skills through STEM (2015). She has been published in a wide range of academic journals, books, and news media, and presents nationally and internationally to academic, policy, and professional audiences. Since 2009, she has been awarded over $23 million in external funds for research and training from foundations and government agencies including the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services, New Profit, United Way, and The Boston Foundation. 

All of Dr. Douglass’s academic research, writing, speaking, and instruction is informed by a prior twenty-year career in urban early care and education (ECE) as a teacher, administrator, family child care owner and educator, and quality improvement coach and mentor to programs serving children and families in Boston’s most underserved/disadvantaged neighborhoods. There, she saw firsthand that quality improvement in ECE cannot be imposed from the outside but must be built, designed, and nurtured from the ground up by those closest to the work, all in the context of supportive systems and policies. At the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation, Dr. Douglass tests, studies, and implements new policies, practices, and systems that increase the capacity of early educators to lead change and improvement in ECE. Her research is conducted in partnership with professional, community, government, and philanthropic entities that share a vision to dramatically transform quality in ECE.

Dr. Douglass is a current Pahara-Aspen Institute Leadership Fellow. She earned a PhD in social policy at the Heller School at Brandeis University, an EdM at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wellesley College.