Resilient Educators.
Vibrant Schools.

We believe social and emotional well-being is the foundation for all learning. When educators feel resilient and confident, students flourish and schools thrive.


Kristin Daniel

Kristin B. Daniel, Ed.D.

President and Co-Founder

Kristin comes to The Circulus Institute with over eighteen years of experience in education and professional development. She began her teaching career in special education in the Washington, D.C. area working with students needing learning and emotional support. She earned her doctorate at George Washington University with a focus on preparing teachers to succeed in high-need schools. During this work, she was drawn to research around teacher resilience and self-efficacy*. Her work at GWU inspired her to focus on student-led teacher growth and well-being.

Ellen Mahoney, M.Ed.

CEO and Co-Founder

Ellen is an alumna of international schools and has worked in education and youth development as a teacher, counselor, and director since 1997. Her primary expertise is in youth mentoring and third culture kid development. She works through a transitions-informed lens and is an active advocate for comprehensive child-safeguarding. In 2018, she was selected to be a ​Council of International Schools (CIS) Affiliated Consultant.

Ellen Headshot



Jane Larsson
Executive Director, Council of International Schools

I recommend this work with great confidence, particularly during this challenging time of anxiety and uncertainty due to school closures, remote learning, travel bans and quarantines.

Jessica Panfil
Principal, Claremont Elementary School

School leaders must make the space and time for reflective personal growth. It’s essential to our well-being and that of our communities. The Circulus Institute provides the much needed support in finding that space and making that time.

Michael Nachbar
Executive Director, Global Online Academy

It is critical that schools invest in the wellbeing and social and emotional competencies of educators if they are to be expected to help students thrive in an unpredictable world. Having worked with both Ellen and Kristin, I know that the Circulus Institute will equip schools with exactly what they need to do this well.


To equip adults with the competencies youth need in order to nurture their social and emotional development.


Decades of research tells us that when we invest in the social and emotional development of our youth, they learn better and our society reaps the economic, civic and social benefits.

The good news is that many schools are making these investments. Unfortunately,  too few schools are making comparable investments in the people who will teach students these skills.

To help students develop socially and emotionally, adults  must first be able to model stress management and social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies. Yet the evidence suggests that professional development programs for SEL rarely do enough to help educators build up these skills. 

“Studies have consistently found that programs pay little attention to giving teachers the knowledge and skills they need to promote their students’ social and emotional competence and to create positive classroom environments that enhance student success,” says Dr. Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl, a developmental psychologist and the head of the University of British Columbia’s Social and Emotional Learning Lab. Teaching is a stressful job–now more than ever–and when teachers experience constant stress and are not equipped with the strategies to manage negative emotions, their performance in the classroom declines and students struggle in every respect.

At the Circulus Institute, we’re committed to closing this gap. We create experiences and relationships that drive educators’  learning and well-being.  We celebrate educators around the world who dedicate their careers to creating rich experiences and relationships for young people. We also know that it is unfair to expect educators to be perfect. Inequitable school and justice systems, educators’ own personal struggles, high levels of stress, and low levels of autonomy make it difficult to bring our best selves to work every day, especially during this unprecedented time.


These are the competencies The Circulus Institute is committed to developing in educators

Well-Being Skills

Emotional Intelligence

Cultural Responsiveness

Relationship Skills


Self Expression

Conflict Resolution


Active Listening

Perspective Taking


“Creating a profession of teaching in which teachers have the opportunity for continual learning is the likeliest way to inspire greater achievement for children.”

Dr. Linda Darling Hammond, Stanford University


Karl Poulin

MS Principal, American Community School of Abu Dhabi

Project: Practicing, Modeling and Sharing Resiliency Practices with the MS Leadership Team

Ryan Haynes

Director of Upper School Academic and Personal Counseling, Taipei American School

Project: Measuring the Well-Being of Senior Advisees

Danielle Troy

Art Teacher, The Overlake School, Redmond, WA, USA

Project: Finding Resilience in Pictures


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