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What Educators Need to Prioritize Health and Well-Being

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What Educators Need to Prioritize Health and Well-Being

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About this Community

Even before the pandemic, educators were feeling stressed out, overworked, underappreciated and underpaid. We have rightly focused on student mental health as we head back to school, but educator health and well-being are equally important. So, AFT is launching a new campaign to promote educator health and well-being. Our first interactive session was held on Sept. 20.Details below. Join this community to be notified of upcoming sessions and more resources.

The launch of the AFT’s campaign will focus attention on your needs and how we can better support our educators’ mental, emotional and physical well-being. You will have the opportunity to sample some offerings we have pulled together, as well as the chance to win gift certificates and subscriptions focused on health and well-being.


Sept. 20, 4:30 – 5 p.m. Panel Discussion

  • Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers
  • Ronn Nozoe, CEO, National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • Dr. Pamela Cantor, founder and senior scientific advisor, Turnaround for Children
  • Thomas Boyd-Foster, teacher, Boston Public Schools and Boston Teachers Union member
  • Victoria Ren, young changemaker
  • Moderated by Arianna Prothero, education reporter, EdWeek

5 – 5:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions
Choose from one of the sessions detailed in the discussions area of this community.

5:30 – 5:45 p.m.
Call to action, wrap-up and reflection

Panel Speakers:

Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers

Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, a union of 1.7 million teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. The AFT is dedicated to the belief that every person in America deserves the freedom to thrive, fueled by opportunity, justice and a voice in our democracy.

Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 11 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system, as well as home child care providers and other workers in health, law and education. Weingarten taught history at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood from 1991 to 1997, and helped her students win several state and national awards debating constitutional issues.

Weingarten was included in Washingtonian’s 2021 Washington’s Most Influential People, and in 2013, the New York Observer named Weingarten one of the most influential New Yorkers of the past 25 years.

Weingarten holds degrees from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law. She worked as a lawyer for the Wall Street firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1983 to 1986. She is an active member of the Democratic National Committee and numerous professional, civic, religious and philanthropic organizations. Born in 1957 and raised in Rockland County, N.Y., Weingarten now resides in the Inwood neighborhood of New York City.

Ronn Nozoe, CEO, National Association of Secondary School Principals

Ronn Nozoe is a lifelong educator and the CEO of NASSP, an organization dedicated to transforming education through school leadership. Nozoe has served as associate executive director, interim executive director, and senior adviser at ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) since 2015. During that time, he led the development of some of ASCD’s most high-profile programs, including the ASCD Whole Child Network and ASCD Activate, an online professional development library of resources. Nozoe joined ASCD after an appointment as deputy assistant secretary for policy and programs at the U.S. Department of Education, where he worked on initiatives to build state and local capacity in the areas of teacher quality, school safety, rural education, and migrant and Indian education. In his home state of Hawaii, Nozoe served as deputy state superintendent from 2010–15, during which time he amplified principals’ voices in statewide decisions with the creation of the Deputy’s Principal Roundtable; and leveraged federal Race to the Top funds and School Improvement Grants to increase statewide achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. Prior to that, he served as district superintendent of the Farrington/Kaiser/Kalani complexes, and as a principal, vice principal, and teacher in various schools across the state. Nozoe holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in education and teaching, both from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Dr. Pamela Cantor, founder and senior scientific advisor, Turnaround for Children

Pamela Cantor, M.D. is a physician, author, and thought leader on human potential, the science of learning and development, and educational equity. Dr. Cantor practiced child and adolescent psychiatry for nearly two decades, specializing in trauma. She founded Turnaround for Children in 2002 after co-authoring a study that assessed the impact of the 9/11 attacks on New York City school children. In schools located in neighborhoods grappling with ongoing adversity and poverty, Dr. Cantor saw student potential everywhere. But she also saw students acting out and having trouble focusing, teachers struggling to meet the variable and often intense needs of their students, and principals scrambling to build environments that were safe and supportive. She recognized that the research on adversity, the developing brain, learning and health that she had studied in medical school had not been translated and shared with the systems and people that educate children. Science tells an optimistic story about what young people are capable of when the environments and relationships in their lives are designed intentionally to reveal their talents and skills. 

Today, Turnaround translates scientific knowledge about how children develop and learn into integrated tools, and services for educators to establish the conditions for all students to thrive. In two books published in 2021, Whole-Child Development, Learning and Thriving: A Dynamic Systems Approach and The Science of Learning and Development, Dr. Cantor crystallizes key scientific concepts about how human potential and learning unfold so that anyone seeking to open pathways for learning and opportunity for young people may do so. 

Dr. Cantor has shared her insights at convenings across the United States, including the ASU + GSV Summit, Aurora Institute Symposium, Aspen Ideas Festival, Carnegie Corporation/National PTA/American Federation of Teachers Town Hall, CCSSO Summer Leadership Conference, Deeper Learning Symposium, Education Writers Association National Seminar, ExcelinEd EdPalooza, Learning and the Brain Conference, NASBE, and SXSWedu. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, on NOVA and on National Public Radio. She is a featured contributor to Edutopia’s How Learning Happens series which has been viewed more than 11 million times, and to the film A Trusted Space

Dr. Cantor is a governing partner of the Science of Learning and Development Alliance, a collaborative effort focused on elevating science, advancing equity, and transforming education. She received an M.D. from Cornell University, a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and was a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Thomas Boyd-Foster, teacher, Boston Public Schools and Boston Teachers Union member

Thomas Boyd-Foster is a 1st grade, inclusion teacher with Boston Public Schools. He began his career as a teacher in 2018. He graduated from Virginia Union University in 2006. After spending 12 years in private education, he decided to get his master’s degree at the University of Massachusetts, Boston in Early Childhood Education. Upon entering his first year of teaching, Thomas understood the importance of self-care. He had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural program Educators Thriving. He said the program truly helped him get through his first year of teaching. He has worked within Educators Thriving ever since.

Victoria Ren, young changemaker

Victoria Ren is a high school senior based in Pittsburgh, PA. When she was 13, she cofounded STEM & Buds—a STEM x Civics, peer-mentorship education nonprofit—and has since been interested in education, public policy and social innovation. Outside the classroom, she's been organizing for her community's racial justice coalition and building a guidebook for all youth to create change. She also enjoys reading New Yorker cartoons and wearing crocs.  

Arianna Prothero, education reporter, EdWeek (moderator)

Arianna Prothero is a Texas-based reporter for Education Week covering students and their well-being. She has also extensively reported on school choice policy for the paper. Previously, she was a reporter and anchor at WLRN, the NPR-affiliate station in Miami. She got her start in journalism at WFIU, the public radio station in Bloomington, Ind. She has a degree in political science from Indiana University.

 Learn more about the event.


Andy Kratochvil
Senior Associate, American Federation of Teachers
Susan Youssofi
Educational Organization / Business Professional