CASEL Awards

CASEL presents annual awards in research, practice, and public policy.

To recognize outstanding achievements and encourage high standards in the field of social and emotional learning, CASEL presents annual awards in research, practice, and public policy.

CASEL believes that great movements are built on collaboration with others to produce the richest insights, biggest impacts, and best outcomes in support of children. The awards recognize individuals whose body of work and commitment to SEL have advanced the field and paved the way for others.

The awards honor individuals who played leading roles in the early years of the organization:

  • Joseph E. Zins Awards for Social and Emotional Learning Action Research
  • Mary Utne O’Brien Awards for Excellence in Expanding the Evidence-Based Practice of Social and Emotional Learning
  • Ann S. Nerad Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Advance Policies for Social and Emotional Learning

Awards are presented annually in the fall. Information on the 2021 recipients will be posted to this page, in our newsletter, and on social media. Check back soon. 

Joseph E. Zins Awards for Social and Emotional Learning Action Research

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Joseph E. Zins - A light-skinned, male-presenting person with a mustache wearing a tie

The Zins Award was established in 2007 to honor the memory of collaborator Joseph E. Zins, a research pioneer in SEL and former director of the University of Cincinnati’s doctoral program. We present the awards to two investigators and researchers per year that are at distinct phases in their careers: an early-career researcher and an established scholar.

The early-career researcher is limited to researchers at the research scientist, assistant, or associate professor level. The established scholar is a senior investigator or full professor who has advanced the field in important and meaningful ways, across the span of a distinguished career.

These contributions could include applied research, theoretical contributions, or research on curriculum, policies, or practices.

      • Early Career Recipients: Sara Rimm-Kaufman (2007), Marc Brackett (2009), Celene Domitrovich (2011), Angela Lee Duckworth (2012), Stephanie Jones (2013), David Yeager (2015) Camille A. Farrington (2018), Anne Gregory (2018), Laura Hamilton (2020), Clark McKown (2020)
      • Distinguished Scholar Recipients: Maurice Elias (2011), Edward Zigler (2011), J. David Hawkins (2012), Joseph Durlak (2013), Kimberly Schonert-Reichl (2015), and David Osher (2018)

Mary Utne O’Brien Awards for Excellence in Expanding the Evidence-Based Practice of SEL

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The Utne O’Brien Award was established in 2011 to honor the memory and dedication to high-quality practice of Mary Utne O’Brien, former CASEL executive director and key leader in the SEL field. We present the awards to two district or school leaders per year who have provided the vision, inspiration, and practical strategies for developing the infrastructure and support for high-quality SEL at the district or school level.

      • District or School Leaders: Carol Comeau (2012), Jillian Ahrens (2013), Linda DePriest (2013), Koua Jacklyn Franz (2013), Ed Graff (2013), Sherrie Raven (2013), Trish Shaffer (2013), Kristina Tank-Crestetto(2013), Karen VanAusdal (2013), and Michelle Van Allen (2018), Sheldon Berman (2020), Byron Sanders (2020)
      • Federal or State Policymaking: Congresswoman Judy Biggert (2011), Congressman Dale Kildee (2011), Congressman Tim Ryan (2012), Ellen Moir (2015), James Comer (2015), Joan Duffell (2018), Tom Roderick (2018)

Ann S. Nerad Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Advance Policies for Social and Emotional Learning

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Ann NeradThe Ann S. Nerad Award for Distinguished Contributions to Advance Policies for Social and Emotional Learning was established in 2021 and will be presented this year for the first time to two recipients that are leading SEL public policy.

    • There are no past recipients for this award.

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