2022–2023 Second Step® Educator of the Year Awards

Illustration of people on stage

Celebrating Excellence in SEL

Every day, educators across the country use Second Step® social-emotional learning (SEL) programs to build safe, supportive environments where their students and colleagues can thrive.

This year, we celebrated the extraordinary work of the following Second Step educators by recognizing their achievements and amplifying their stories so others can learn from their experiences.

2023 Award Winners

A gold star.

Nerwin Balilu

Grades 6–8 Resource Teacher, Arizona

A gold star.

Joann Chan-McShane

Resource/Special Education Teacher, Illinois

A gold star.

Marlo Diaz Davis

Culture and Climate Coach, California

A gold star.

Ali Drutowski

Grade 8 Teacher, Minnesota

A gold star.

Madison Hunt Wilfong

Grade 6 Teacher, Georgia

A gold star.

Stacie Paruta

Special Education Teacher, New Jersey

A gold star.

Neha Singh

Kindergarten Teacher, Virginia

A gold star.

Carrie White

Grade 2 Teacher, New York

A gold star.

Marie Williams

Grades 3–4 Teacher, California

A gold star.

Katie Wohlford McCracken

School Counselor, North Carolina

Second Step Educator of the Year 2023

Second Step® Educator Showcase

We had an incredible time celebrating this year’s winners and the work of all Second Step educators at our live showcase. If you missed the event, you can view a recording of the highlights!

Judging Criteria

All nominations were judged by a panel of Committee for Children staff on the following criteria.

  • Impact

    There is qualitative or quantitative evidence that the nominee’s use of Second Step programs has had a positive effect on students’ SEL, classroom culture, school climate, or staff well-being.

  • Innovation

    The nominee demonstrates the ability to ensure there are strategies in place for systemic implementation to thrive. Where strategies do not yet exist, the nominee has advocated for or created solutions to address these gaps so all levels of the system are supported.

  • Generalization

    The nominee actively integrates SEL into their work with students or colleagues outside of Second Step lesson time.

  • Learner-Centered Approach

    The nominee demonstrates an ability to build a more equitable classroom or school community by incorporating equity components—including explicit attention to the culture, history, values, assets, and needs of the community—into SEL principles, strategies, frameworks, and implementation tools.