AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A five-year, $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has been awarded to two professors in the College of Education at UMass-Amherst.

The funding was awarded by the DOE Office of Special Education Programs to provide special education leaders with expertise in research and teaching, as well as in the implementation of rules, guidelines and federal laws in an effort to meet the needs of all students with disabilities in public schools.

Professor Mary Lynn Boscardin, special education leadership and administration, is director of the program that will be implemented under the grant, “Preparing the Next Generation of Culturally Responsive Leaders of the Administration of Special Education (NextGen).” Program co-director is John Hintze, school psychology, and grant-related education faculty members include Linda Griffin, teacher education and school improvement; and Craig Wells, research, educational measurement and psychometrics.

The program provides funds for graduate students who want to complete a Ph.D. program in either school psychology or special education, in addition to obtaining their license as a special education administrator in Massachusetts. It is also expected to help lessen a shortage of public school special education directors, as well as qualified faculty who prepare administrators and special education leaders.