National Practitioner Advisory Group Launches!

By Dale A. Blyth, Sr. Consultant to CASEL and Deborah Moroney, Managing Director, American Institutes for Research


This last spring, we invited applications from practitioners to become part of a new National Practitioner Advisory Group on Using Data to Inspire SEL Practice (NPAG). There was an overwhelming response as almost 200 people applied from all over the US and even a few internationally.  It took a while to select the 26 people and four Assessment Work Group liaisons who now make up NPAG. It is quite an impressive group as you can see from the list that follows this blog.  We are grateful to our funders and in particular CASEL who invested the needed funds to make this effort possible.


Altogether NPAG includes 8 direct practitioners from teachers to youth workers and building student support services staff; 5 principals from elementary, middle school, and high school buildings; 7 district leaders from district research, evaluation, and assessment offices to district school psychologists and SEL directors to those responsible for professional development, instruction, and learning; 3 people currently or previously from state departments of education; and 4 leaders from national education related organizations – including charter schools.


The group comes from 17 different states and all regions of the country. They are at various places along their journey to implement and assess SEL efforts in their classrooms, programs, schools, districts, and states.  They have much wisdom to share and a passion for learning and helping others explore best practices.


July 25th and 26th we were able to bring 23 members together in Chicago in order to get to know each other and better understand and discuss what they see as the pressing issues and challenges surrounding SEL assessment and efforts to use data to inspire SEL practices. Special thanks to the American Institutes for Research for hosting the meeting. The conversations were rich and far reaching from questions about equity and power as it influences SEL to whether and when to assess SEL and what aspects of SEL to assess from student competencies to climate to adult SEL and how to understand and interpret data from different contexts and youth whose experiences are very different.


Just as exciting was the exploration of what NPAG members as a group could do to contribute to building a stronger field.  From reviewing briefs to exploring tools to sharing the latest information and crafting a statement for the field, many ideas surfaced.


As the co-chairs who will have the joy of working with this group over the next 15 months, we are excited to learn more and to put their wisdom and approaches and lessons learned out there for everyone.  Stay tuned for blogs from members as well as other opportunities to learn about their journeys and insights.  We hope you will share your experiences with them as well as with us, so we can better understand, illustrate, and promote ways of using data to inspire SEL practice.



  • What issues, challenges, and questions would you like to see NPAG work on?
  • How can we best amplify and listen to what practitioners say in our efforts to improve efforts that support SEL?


Members of the National Practitioner Advisory Group

Michelle Ackley Social Emotional High School Counselor Red Bluff Union High School District, California
Kay Augustine Project Director of School Climate Transformation Grant & SEL Lead for Iowa Iowa Department of Education
Claudia Bessette School Counselor, Vaughn Middle School Washoe County School District, Nevada
Victoria Blakeney Director of Student Support Renton School District, Washington
Sara Burd Director of Guidance & Social Emotional Learning Arlington Public Schools, Massachusetts
Carla Burley Director of SEL Boston Public Schools, Massachusetts
Peter Di Nuovo Director of Behavior


New York City Department of Education, New York
Courtney Franklin Director, Strategic Data Consultation & Support for Measuring Student Outcomes Teach for America
Kee Fricke-Pothier Central Office Administrator San Francisco Unified School District, California
James Gallagher Vice President of Education Aspire Public Schools, California & Tennessee
Maria Guzmån-Rocha Implementation Sciences Manager YMCA of the USA
Heather Hirsch School Climate Specialist Minnesota Department of Education
Amy Hoffmaster Director of

Program Innovation

Citizen Schools
Peter Jacob-Dolan Classroom Teacher Bedford Public Schools, Massachusetts
Tracy Litchfield Educator & SEL Champions

Team Lead

Avon Grove School District, Pennsylvania
Brenda McLaughlin Chief Strategy Officer BELL – Building Educated Leaders for Life
Eric Moore Chief of Accountability, Innovation and Research Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota
Marc Morgan Director of Programs Denver Kids, INC
Laurie Morrison Executive Director of Instructional Leadership Highline Public Schools, Washington
Christne Rick Principal Egret Lake Elementary – School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
Kirsten Sanft Founding Principal West County Charter Middle School, California
Jennifer Scarpati Principal Amherst Street Elemntary School, Nashua School District, New Hampshire
LaurieI Solchenberger Behavior Interventionist Port Townsend School District, Washington
Dana Stiles Inclusion Teacher E.L. Haynes Elementary Public Charter School, Washington, DC
Susan Ward Roncalli Social Emotional Learning Facilitator Los Angeles Unified School District, California
Joseph Webb Principal & Chief Academic Officer Washington Leadership Academy Public Charter School, Washington DC
Erin Whalen Assistant Principal Da Vinci RISE High, California
Jean Wing Executive Director of Research, Assessment, & Data Oakland Unified School District


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