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The Perrone-Sizer Institute
for Creative Leadership:

Certificate Program for Leaders in Education

The Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership develops creative, innovative and adaptive leaders who integrate education, artistic and community-­based resources to transform the lives of youth and families from diverse backgrounds. The Institute is a leadership certificate program, named after Vito Perrone and Ted Sizer that can also lead to principal licensure and/or graduate credits at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The program immerses leaders in school settings and community-­based organizations and employs a design thinking approach to leadership development. 


Target Audiences for the Certificate Program

The Perrone-Sizer Institute invites interest and applications from individuals who are:

  • Experienced and creative educators with a strong community ethos
  • Motivated and committed professionals with the ability to lead, inspire and create
  • Open-minded thinkers with a passion for engaged learning and social justice
  • Individuals who self-identify as artists, community-organizers, or educators with passion for educational leadership

Leadership Competencies

Leaders will develop the following competencies during the Certificate program:

  • Creative Leader, Engaging, persisting, use design and studio thinking in their work
  • Effective Communicator, Communicate regularly, pro-­actively, clearly, inspirationally and harnessing the power of technology
  • Skilled Politician and Community Leader, Bring the community around common values, a common mission and dynamic organizational strategy
  • Head-­teacher, Demonstrate performance-­based instructional leadership and deep commitment to academic/intellectual/social/emotional/civic development of students within an ethos of equity
  • Chief Talent Developer, Recruit, nurture and retain high-­quality colleagues
  • Entrepreneurial and Competent CFO, Manage the fiscal resources of the organization, understanding the role of fund-­raising and use of data
  • Reflective and Ethical Practitioner, Embrace complexity, human imperfection, uncertainty, crisis management, and moral courage

UMass Boston Partnership

Through a unique partnership with the University of Massachsetts Boston, participants in the Perrone-Sizer Institute can elect, for an extra fee, graduate-level credits. These credits can be applied towards a Master’s degree with UMass Boston.

UMass Boston Courses and Titles

Fall 2017
ADM G 622-01C Curriculum: Status, Issues and Trends — 3 credits ADM G 646-01C Leadership Development — 3 credits

Spring 2018
ADMG 655-01C Advanced Seminar in Supervision — 3 credits

Summer 2018
EDCG 606 Socio-Cultural Perspectives in Education — 3 credits


MA Principal Licensure

Participants seeking to qualify for Massachusetts principal licensure are required to pay for all 12 graduate credits with UMass Boston, plus a part-time practicum in Educational Administration. This practicum consists of a 500-hour apprenticeship in a Massachusetts public or charter school.

Fall 2017

ADM G 686-01C Internship I, Educational Administration — 1.5 credits

Spring 2018

ADM G 686-03C Internship I, Educational Administration — 1.5 credits

The candidate is also required to submit the four-part Massachusetts Performance Assessment of Leaders (PAL). The candidate is expected to identify and obtain support for his/her own placement in a school, but will be provided coaching support once a month by instructors from the Perrone-Sizer Institute.


About Vito Perrone and Ted Sizer

Vito Perrone was a professor of education at the University of North Dakota and Harvard University. He was a leading advocate for humanistic and regimentation – free public education. Upon receiving an award from the Cambridge Peace Commission, he spoke of his apprehension about public school systems that encourage teachers to “accept the message of test scores rather than go beyond them.” He always used questions to further his students’ thinking and in this instance asked, “What if our children and young people learn to read and write but don’t like to and don’t? What if they don’t read the newspapers and magazines, or can’t find beauty in a poem or love story? What if they don’t go as adults to artistic events, don’t listen to a broad range of music, aren’t optimistic about the world and their place in it, don’t notice the trees and the sunset, are indifferent to older citizens, don’t participate in politics or community life?” With a teacher’s rhetorical urgency, he added, “Should any of this worry us?” Vito mentored countless generations of emerging teachers and leaders. He is also the author of the book “Letters for Teachers.”

Ted Sizer founded The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) in 1984 when he was the chair of the education department at Brown University. At its height, CES had over 1,000 member schools in the US and around the world that subscribed to a set of 10 common principles such as: “Student as work; teacher as coach;” “learn to use one’s mind well;” “Less is more: depth over coverage;” “personalization.” These were revolutionary ideas in the early 1980s and many still consider CES’ focus on democracy and equity as essential to the healthy development of schools and communities. In 1994, with his wife, Nancy, they founded Francis W. Parker Charter School in Devens, Massachusetts. Sizer is best known for his books: Horace’s Compromise, Horace’s School and Horace’s Hope – a trilogy that deeply influenced generations of progressive educators, school reformers and school leaders.


Read what others are saying

My vision of myself as a leader didn't become clear until I joined the Creative Educational Leadership Institute. Being given a chance to process my story using Marshall Ganz' "Story of Self, Us, Now" gave me the confidence I needed to believe that I am a leader. The power of the narrative has illuminated my leadership in various contexts. One such way has been through my board leadership at a Filipino Cultural School in Bedford, MA. This school is a non profit, volunteer organization that has been in existence for 40 years. I am currently serving a second term as a board member and curriculum chair of the school. I shared the Self, Us, Now exercise so that we could be reminded why we chose to be the leaders of this organization. At the end of the meeting, the group felt much closer and my goal of rejuvenating ourselves for the school year was accomplished. I thank this institute for giving me the tools to make this happen.

-Gizelle Lev, Instructional Math Coach, Cambridgeport School

Dear Linda,

I wanted to take a few minutes and thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Creative Educational Leadership Institute this past year. Most of my classmates were in their late 20s to early 40s and enrolled in the Institute as part of a search for more meaning in their current educational positions, or to seek support for launching a new career. Being a 60+ aged person who is completing the 27th year at her current job, I wasn’t quite sure what journey I needed/wanted to be on at this juncture of my career.

Wow, in the past year, my definition of myself as a leader radically changed and deepened. While I would never say that I believe I always have the right answer to a question or problem, I probably would have described myself with over 35 years of experience in arts and education as a leader who knew the “correct” pathway to take when problem solving, or in planning an innovative course of action.

The Creative Educational Leadership Institute opened so many pathways for me as a practicing leader, renewed my confidence in actions that I have undertaken over the years, but also invigorated my desire to adopt new ways of leading both in the department that I run, as well as the arts organization as an entity.

I wish you great success with your new initiative at UMASS-BOSTON. I hope you will attract educators, artists and other creative types OF ALL AGES to discover inspiration and renew personal commitment to education and leadership.

Sincerely, Donna Glick

Director of Education, Huntington Theatre Company