The seventh grade English class was presented with a question that changed everything for Heidi, “If someone hits you can you choose how to respond?” At first Heidi’s adolescent brain could only entertain one option, hitting back. Upon further reflection, she felt self-awareness and the opportunity to choose. At that moment Heidi knew she encountered something powerful which sparked her passion for social and emotional learning (SEL).
Since that time Heidi Stevenson, PhD, has become a researcher, author and teacher educator. As a survivor of childhood trauma, Heidi knows first hand the benefits that a supportive school environment can provide, and has dedicated her career to training educators in SEL to help students to feel safe and learn, especially those from marginalized communities.
To contribute to these goals she formed Transformative Outcomes Consulting, where Heidi helps educators to transform student lives and save time by seamlessly integrating SEL into their existing curriculum for increased performance in four main areas: classroom management, academic achievement, leading with equity and mental health.
Heidi has also worked in culturally responsive SEL by training K-12 and teacher educators at a non-profit, designing an academic conference, publishing research articles, co-editing a research journal, helping create California’s SEL benchmarks and ensuring they are culturally responsive, and working as a partner for SEL Consulting Collaborative.
Heidi brings to this work her early experiences teaching preschool, elementary and middle school, and adult migrant education in low-income schools throughout the San Francisco Bay area. She went on to earn a doctoral degree in Education from UC Santa Barbara and has spent 20 rewarding years training educators at all levels – highlights include working as a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley (2006-2007) with K-12 teaching candidates, and Associate Professor at University of the Pacific (2004-2020) with K-12 teaching candidates through doctoral students.
As you can see, a spark lit by SEL in the seventh grade ignited Heidi’s career. Her story is just one small example of the transformative power that SEL has to positively impact the lives of our young people so that the next generation can learn and thrive.