With the school year underway, we want to share some of our favorite implementation resources with you to help make your work a little easier! Join us as we talk through our new Implementation Roadmap along with curriculum-specific implementation tools that are included in our PurposeFull People Elementary Toolkit, Middle School SEL, and High School SEL curriculum.
Houston is a speaker, author, and kindness advocate who has spoken at over 750 schools or events internationally. In 2016, he co-founded CharacterStrong - curricula and trainings that help teach social and emotional skills to over 10,000 schools globally across all 50 states and over 35 countries. In 2019, his face was featured on Lays BBQ chip bags as someone who helps “spread smiles.” In 2020, his first book Deep Kindness was published by Simon & Schuster. In 2023, Be Kind: A 52-Week Journal for Practicing Kindness was released. He has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, Hallmark, Katie Couric, and more as an expert on developing a more empathetic, kind world. His mom is his hero and her best life lesson is to “hug like you mean it.”
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMIZED IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORTS
Megan Gruis, Ed.S., LSC, was fortunate to serve in a variety of K-12 settings both at the building level and district level for nearly 20 years. During that time, she delivered practices, supported professional development and led team initiatives focused on social, emotional, behavioral and academic integration. During 10 of her years in education, she also consulted for the Minnesota State Implementation Team, providing training, coaching, and evaluation supports to schools and districts working to adopt and integrate PBIS into the fabric of their schools. Megan currently serves as the Executive Director of Customized Implementation Supports where she leads the CIS Team focused on supporting schools and districts with the strategic implementation of social, emotional, behavioral, and academic frameworks to enhance student outcomes.
Sonjanita Moore has more than 26 years of experience working with schools & non-profit organizations in the Chicagoland area. She joined the staff of Character Strong in 2021 as the Secondary Specialist.
DIRECTOR OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION
Julie Hinshaw is CharacterStrong’s Director of Elementary Education, where she oversees the creation and improvement of the PurposeFull People curriculum. She has over 15 years of experience in education and holds a M.Ed. in Administration. She served as a classroom teacher in grades 3-8, led her middle school campus to be recognized as a National School of Character, and was recognized as her district’s Teacher of the Year. Julie also worked for 2 years as a district-level social-emotional learning coordinator, supporting 10 campuses in their whole-child programming and leading professional development. Julie has been presenting on character development at the district, state, and national level for over 5 years. Her passion is rooted in using education as a vehicle to make the world a better, kinder place!
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