Educational Leadership Program


Marianne Riggio
Program Supervisor

Every fall a select group of educators from across the globe is invited to Perkins’ historic campus in Boston to take part in the Educational Leadership Program (ELP). Every spring they emerge ready to make a difference.

The ELP offers advanced training to teachers and related professionals from developing nations. Participants of the ELP are immersed in expert instruction and hands-on learning experiences – both inside and outside the classroom. They attend lectures, conferences and workshops, and visit public schools. They observe and teach in Perkins’ classrooms and assist residential students with daily activities.

The result is transformational. Graduates depart for their home countries, eager to share their new knowledge and improve the lives of children all over the world who are blind, deafblind or blind with multiple disabilities.

A Proud History

Educational Leadershop Program graduating class of 2014

This practice of teaching teachers goes back to 1920, when Perkins School for the Blind established a teacher training program for educators of children who were blind or deafblind. Today, the ELP continues that tradition of sharing advanced training, educational strategies and real-life experience with teachers and professionals from organizations around the globe.

By imparting knowledge and skills, the ELP works to spread Perkins’ belief in the right of all children who are blind with additional disabilities to high quality educational services.

Hands-on Learning

There is no better place to learn best practices in the education of children who are blind and have additional disabilities than on Perkins’ 38-acre campus in Watertown, Massachusetts. Program participants attend lectures in Perkins' historic buildings, observe and teach in our classrooms and assist students in their residences for a unique training experience that provides a comprehensive understanding of education and services for students who are blind with additional disabilities, including those who are deafblind.

Curriculum for all participants include academic courses led by Perkins’ experts and other noted professionals in the field, as well as hands-on learning in classrooms and living quarters, where they can put theory into practice.

The Program

Participants may choose a six- or nine-month program, both of which incorporate academic lectures and written projects, classroom observation and hands-on experiences with Perkins staff and students in residences and the classroom. Practicum is planned according to each participant’s individual interests and needs in areas, including preschool and early intervention, deafblindness, multiple disabilities and elementary or secondary education.

Participants in the nine-month program spend three months in full-time practice teaching on campus. Participants also travel off-campus to observe in public schools, audit university graduate courses or attend workshops and conferences. Participants are challenged to adapt and learn in a culture that may be different from their own, and to fully embrace the learning experience.


Application to the ELP is a competitive process. We accept teachers, direct service providers, program administrators, university instructors and professionals who are committed to expanding their own knowledge and sharing it with their home organization.

Preference will be given to applicants who:

  • Work as a specialist or team leader at an agency that provides direct services to children with blindness with additional disabilities or deafblindness, and have at least two years experience in the field
  • Are involved in training teachers in the area of multiple disabilities, blindness and/or deafblindness
  • Have adequate knowledge of the English language (speaking, reading and writing)
  • Have the support of their organizations to study at Perkins

Perkins welcomes qualified applicants without bias toward race, religion, gender or disability. Scholarships are available to qualified applicants.

Map of the Earth detailing that more than 250 Educational Leadership Program graduate are changing lives around the world

Class of 2015-2016 Stories

Keshari Thapa Rana smiling
A 24-hour-a-day job Keshari Thapa Rana can’t wait to bring knowledge from Perkins’ Educational Leadership Program back to her students in Nepal.
Andrea Richards smiling
A mission inspired by motherhood Andrea Richards from Antigua brings personal passion for teaching children with blindness to Perkins’ Educational Leadership Program.
Mai Ahmed Ameen Elkoduse kneels on stage next to her 13-year-old student, who wears a medal around her neck.
A career switch from the heart Working with children with disabilities brings joy to Mai Ahmed Ameen Elkoduse from Egypt, who attends Perkins’ Educational Leadership Program.