Press Release

CASEL Announces 2023 Social and Emotional Learning Leaders of the Year (SELLY) Awards

Seven recipients celebrated for advancements in social and emotional learning research, practice, and public policy

November 20, 2023

CASEL announced the recipients of the 2023 SELLY Awards, honoring outstanding achievements of seven “Social and Emotional Learning Leaders of the Year” in the categories of research, practice, and public policy. The annual awards recognize individuals whose body of work and commitment to social and emotional learning (SEL) have advanced the field and paved the way for others.

“The social and emotional learning movement is built by people who have spent their time, energy, and passion working together to create optimal outcomes for students. These awards pay tribute to pioneering SEL leaders and honor today’s education innovators dedicated to enhancing the lives of youth across the nation,” said CASEL President and CEO, Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel. 

This year, CASEL recognizes seven individuals: 

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

  • U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois
  • U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine
  • Dr. Linda Dusenbury, former lead of CASEL’s Collaborating States Initiative 

Mary Utne O’Brien Awards for Excellence in Expanding the Evidence-Based Practice of Social and Emotional Learning 

  • Eric Gordon, former CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Dr. Kamilah Drummond-Forrester, leading SEL educator, coach and expert

Joseph E. Zins Award For Outstanding Contributions to Action Research in Social and Emotional Learning

  • Dr. Susanne Denham, University Professor Emerita of psychology at George Mason University
  • Dr. Julia Mahfouz, Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Denver and CASEL Weissberg Scholar 

Learn more about the recipients:

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