We are so inspired by educators! We learn from the wonderful teachers, counselors and leaders we work with every day and we also find ourselves going back time and again to some of our real heroes in the field.
Over the last couple of months we have been writing blog posts about each of the classroom lessons in our Don’t Laugh at Me curriculum. There are more to come, but as we have been going through the lessons, we have been reminded of our dear friend, Linda Lantieri.
Linda is an internationally known expert in social and emotional learning and nurturing the inner life of teachers and children. In 1985, she co-created the research-based Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP), upon which our Don’t Laugh at Me curriculum is based, and which has been highlighted by CASEL as one of the most effective social and emotional learning programs in the United States.
In 1999, when Peter Yarrow was inspired to create a curriculum around the Don’t Laugh at Me song, he reached out to Linda to ask her to collaborate, along with Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility (formerly Educators for Social Responsibility, Metropolitan Area) and Engaging Schools (formerly Educators for Social Responsibility) and the rest is history!
In addition to serving as the Senior Content Advisor on the curriculum, Linda created professional development workshops to support the implementation of the Don’t Laugh at Me program in schools, and trained a cadre of master trainers to provide hundreds of workshops for educators throughout the United States and internationally.
Since those early days, we have trained tens of thousands of educators around the world and touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and young people. Just this school year, students in 63% of elementary schools in Israel will experience Don’t Laugh at Me lessons; 25 elementary, middle and high schools in Clark County, Nevada will participate in the Operation Respect/Welcoming Schools project; and school leaders in New York City will receive personal leadership coaching from Operation Respect all thanks to the early work of Linda Lantieri to set us down this path.
As Director of the Inner Resilience Program, a Senior Scholar at the Fetzer Insitute, a Fellow of the George Lucas Education Foundation and a Fulbright Scholar, Linda has made innumerable contributions to the field of education and her work embodies the mission and spirit of Operation Respect.
We are so grateful for the love and care she has given to children, educators and parents everywhere, and for the positive difference she has made throughout the world.
Thank you, Linda, we love you!