Daniel Rechtschaffen, Linda Lantieri, and Meena Srinivasan are the Co-founders of TEL. They are people whose outer work in the world is informed by their inner callings. They have collaborated on various projects for over a decade prior to the work with TEL.
Linda led the Inner Resilience Program which was founded after the events of 9-11, integrating Mindfulness and SEL into k-12 education. Meena was with the Oakland Unified School District where she was implementing SEL in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and prior to this work had published a book on bringing mindfulness into the classroom. Daniel authored two books on Mindfulness in K-12 education and has shared its content and strategies with schools throughout the world. All three co-founders were concerned that there was a real void of support for educational leaders who were implementing SEL and Mindfulness. They were not getting the support they needed to integrate these skills, competencies and strategies into their own lives as well as into their work.
It became clear to the co-founders that they needed to create a “beloved community” among educational leaders. Their focus was on equipping leaders with resources and strategies to make a difference in their sphere of power and circle of influence. Their goal was to work with a racially diverse group of educational leaders who were in positions that could effect systemic transformation through their leadership in the areas of Equity, SEL, and Mindfulness. Each co-founder has been deeply committed to systemic transformation with equity at the center of their successful careers.
TEL was founded in February 2018. This quote explains the sentiment of the co-founders:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and materials assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
- WH Murray
Early in the unfolding of TEL, the NoVo Foundation answered the call to provide financial support which helped TEL achieve its goal of having 40% Leaders of Color in its initial cohort (2018-19).
As the TEL Team prepares to welcome the next cohort in July 2020, they are reflecting on the learnings from the past year and fine tuning the logistics in preparation to receive the second cohort of participants.
The team has also expanded to include two committed and experienced educational leaders, Janice Jackson and Hector Montenegro. They bring many years of valuable experience and wisdom to the team and have balanced out the TEL Team in many dimensions. TEL will be off to another year-long journey of growth, joy, stretching, and integrating our inner and outer selves of action and service. The four threads of TEL will guide the work. The TEL leadership team will continue to be responsible stewards of resources that have been given.
The TEL framework is rooted in the transformational potential of leadership that integrates Equity, SEL, and Mindfulness.
The fields of Leadership, Equity, SEL, and Mindfulness have historically operated in silos and have not mutually supported each other. We believe that individuals who are transformed inwardly will take actions and make professional decisions that reflect these inward changes, leading to changes in their organizations and wider systemic changes Integrating the threads of leadership, SEL, mindfulness, and equity in a personal transformational model for educational leaders that moves to system level transformation represents the best opportunity to affect the quality of the field of education and improve the lives of children.
TEL Leadership Team
2018-2019 Guest Faculty
TEL brings together the leading researchers and practitioners in the fields of Leadership, Equity, SEL, Mindfulness & Systems Change. 2020-2021 guest faculty coming soon.