Skip to main content

Center for Educational Leadership


Building leaders. Catalyzing learning.

Support CEL@SSU

Additional Information

For more than 20 years, Salem State has effectively prepared PreK-12 educators to take on leadership roles in schools (learn more about our formal teacher leader and principal/assistant principal preparation programs).

However, as school leadership work becomes increasingly complex, ongoing professional learning and leadership support is needed well beyond graduation. Very few existing organizations provide contextualized leadership professional learning that is rooted in the specific needs of local leaders in MA. From trauma-informed leadership, to supporting anti-racist work in schools, to interweaving academic and social-emotional learning instructional practices, today’s MA school leaders need more support than ever to meet rapid shifts in the educational landscape.

Operating at the intersection of university, school district, research/policy realms, CEL@SSU is uniquely positioned to meet already-identified leadership needs, as well as those on the horizon.

Building on decades of experience preparing school leaders, and initially supported by a generous gift from the Cummings Foundation as part of the dedication of the McKeown School of Education at Salem State, the new Center for Educational Leadership launched in the Fall of 2022 and is already building strong leadership partnerships within and across districts in MA and beyond.

  • The purpose of CEL@SSU is to build PreK-12 school districts’ leadership capacity to create and sustain excellent and equitable learning opportunities for students in MA schools and beyond.
  • Our mission is to help leaders facilitate the collaborative adult learning and development work needed to catalyze change resulting in equitable outcomes for all students.
  • CEL@SSU is built on a theory of change that centers adult learning in service of excellent and equitable outcomes for all students.

Specifically, our work:

  • Builds the leadership capacities, knowledge, and practices of teacher leaders and formal leaders to impact the experiences of students in schools and systems.
  • Provides the experiential knowledge and support, grounded in an understanding of adult development, to catalyze change in other adults in any educational setting.
  • Leans into the key role that collaboration, co-creation, and facilitation play in any school/district change efforts.
  • Recognizes that educator learning and development is complex, deeply contextual, and requires intentional, tailored support.
  • Centers students and just outcomes for all students in the work of leadership learning and change.

CEL@SSU’s initial services fall into three broad categories:

Cross-district professional learning communities (PLCs)

  • Our monthly PLCs offer SSU leadership program alumni, as well as current teacher leaders and formal leaders across districts, role-alike and cross-role opportunities to share and begin to solve of dilemmas of leadership practice.
  • The leadership PLCs build educators’ capacity for understanding, framing dilemmas, and managing perennial as well as new challenges that arise for leaders in PreK-12 schools.

One-on-one principal and leadership coaching/mentoring

  • CEL@SSU supports schools and districts by matching individual school and district leaders with expert coaches and mentors.
  • This one-on-one mentoring provides just-in-time support to leaders across levels who are interested in growing their leadership practice via reflective dialogue and intentional goal setting with an experienced colleague.

Collaboratively designed, district-based leadership professional learning projects

  • These professional learning projects are designed to support individual districts or multi-district collaboratives wishing to directly influence leadership work (and thereby teaching and learning) in their schools.
  • Projects are collaboratively designed by CEL@SSU leaders and district/school leaders to responsively meet individual district priorities.
  • CEL@SSU professional learning projects are either fully customizable or can be contracted as part of a project package (e.g., large-group leadership learning; small-group learning; one-on-one support; etc.).
  • Projects often involve close CEL@SSU-district partnerships over a longer period of time (1 to 3 years) in order to achieve a specific district-defined goal (e.g., designing and refining instructional leadership team work; supporting district-identified curricular review and related teacher leadership initiatives; articulating, refining, and assessing instructional coaching efforts; etc.).

Partnership Spotlight

Back to top