What People Are Saying
In order for our leaders to thrive in our school buildings, we must give permission for them to prioritize their own mental health and teach them how. Thriving YOUniversity has been a great partner in helping us rethinking of how we “do” school. Thriving YOUniversity affirms that if we care for our adults’ mental health, they will better care for themselves and colleagues, creating a better school environment for our students, so we all can Thrive.
Dr. Crechena Wise
Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction
ABC Unified School District
What can I say about Dr. Joelle Hood and the team at Thriving YOUniversity that will fairly and accurately communicate their awesomeness? Joelle and the Thriving YOUniversity team are key partners for my district and for the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) in supporting positive organizational culture and cultivating effective workplace and classroom environments using research-based practices. The feedback from participants, leaders, and organizers is always positive with gratitude for the resources the Thriving YOUniversity team provides. A recent participant at the ACSA Principals Institute at UCLA, who is a new principal, stated that she was “excited to return to her site and use the resources she received from Joelle and the Thriving YOUniversity team to inspire and motivate her staff”. We have invited the Thriving YOUniversity team to return to our district to work with our Leadership Team and be a part of our “Charter Oak University” district-wide professional development offerings to inspire our staff and kick off the upcoming school year. If you are looking to empower organizational awesomeness that will directly benefit your students and staff, I highly recommend the professional and engaging staff at Thriving YOUniversity.
María Betancourt Thompson
Director of Student Services, Equity, Access, Outreach, and Innovation
Charter Oak Unified School District
Team Leader, ACSA Principals Institute at UCLA
Dr. Hood and the Thriving YOUniversity team, through their outstanding professional learning, were instrumental in helping us address our focus on wellness, #WellnessLOSD, in response to the difficult challenges and pressures educators have faced in the past two years. The team provided simple, powerful, research-based tools targeting resilience, trauma-informed practices and social emotional strategies for educators to use personally and with their students. Our staff felt uplifted by the focus on their own mental health and wellness and they came away feeling inspired and empowered by the authenticity and passion of the presenters. We would highly recommend Thriving Youniversity as a partner in your school wellness endeavors.
Dr. Daisy Morales
Live Oak School District
Having the privilege to equip thousands of new teachers across California has truly solidified my belief that most educators are phenomenal in taking care of their students and those around them yet truly struggle to make their own self-care a priority. Having Dr. Hood and Thriving YOUniversity facilitate our Wellness Wednesday sessions has truly been life changing for many of our educators. Through Dr. Joelle Hood’s engaging sessions, our teachers have learned the importance of prioritizing self-care as well as been given practical tools and strategies for themselves and their students. Joelle has a unique way of combining science and research based activities that create learning opportunities for all. Her sessions are full of humor and self-reflection that empowers the participants to grow at their own pace as they embrace thriving in their craft. We are forever grateful for the team at Thriving Youniversity!
Director of Center for Teacher Preparation
Riverside County Office of Education
SIATech staff and teachers have been fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with Dr. Joelle Hood. We began our relationship with Dr. Hood at our annual RAPSA Alternative Accountability Policy Forums where she shared her educational experiences with us for several years. When the pandemic hit and it was apparent our staff needed some time for self-care, we called upon Dr. Joelle Hood once again to work with our staff. This year, the Thriving YOUniversity team presented to all our teachers at our annual content workshops on a variety of relevant topics. The sessions are always high energy, interactive, and collaborative. Teachers and staff walk away with new tools, new strategies, new connections, and a renewed sense of inspiration and passion. We look forward to even more engaging sessions in the future!
Director of Professional Development
SIATech Charter Schools, CA
Thriving YOUniversity, led by Dr. Joelle Hood, has been instrumental in providing a space for social-emotional practices for students and staff. Thriving YoUniversity is transformative and has made the development of self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, and relationship-building key components in our daily interactions. Staff thoroughly enjoyed the professional development opportunities and gained insight into the importance of social-emotional learning and its impact on student success. Thank you, Thriving YoUniversity for giving us tools to instill the capacity of hope, love, and kindness each and every day!
El Nido Elementary School District
In our quest to bring professional learning that would best arm our 52 schools and over 3,000 staff members to best support our students during these tumultuous times, we knew our professional development had to be exceptional. That is why we collaborated with Thriving YOUniversity — the best group I’ve ever worked with. Their content is research-based, their delivery is incredibly engaging, and they are wonderful to work with. Most importantly, their work provides the social/emotional support work that our students and staff need now more than ever. Their training will not only help educators reach more students, but it will also make them better parents, friends, spouses, and people. I cannot overstate the impact of Thriving YOUniversity on our staff and students.
Jeremy Goins, Ed.D.
Administrative Director, Instructional Support
Corona-Norco Unified School District
The comprehensive approach provided by Dr. Joelle Hood and her team at Thriving YOUniversity has been outstanding. Unfortunately, the ravages of the past few years have left many reeling. Central Union took a much needed approach to focus on educator social-emotional wellness. Dr. Hood worked with us to provide a virtual comprehensive PD session, and the training was flawless. Even virtually, Joelle gave our staff one of the best PD training sessions in years and offered strategies for use right away. Staff throughout our District have spoken to me directly about the positivity of this session. The training benefitted our employees, but the approaches translated into immediate support for all within our classrooms and school sites. We also extended our training via the SEAL modules for any staff member desiring to ‘go deeper’ into emotional well-being and classroom impact. These modules were designed to extend and reinforce the concepts reviewed in our ‘kick-off’ SEL PD. I continue to receive positive feedback from staff on the SEAL curriculum. The resources and ongoing training will continue to impact our school community moving forward. I look forward to our continued partnership with Joelle and her team in the years ahead!
– Thomas Addington, M.A.
Central Union Elementary School District
I participated in the year-long S.E.A.L. Internal Champions Series with my school site. This experience was very beneficial to me as it enhanced my teaching. I must also admit it was very timely with students lacking motivation due to the limited social interaction with their peers because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I am excited that I was able to use some tools such as emotional literacy, being more effective, restorative practices, and affective statements. I believe the most important for me was the self-assessments because it is very humbling as it reveals potential areas of growth. To be an effective teacher you have to focus on the little things that are negatively impacting the students and it will make the biggest difference in the classroom. This is measured by the student engagement in my class. Thanks Thriving YOUniversity!
– Dr. Bryan Bowens
Math Teacher, Thompson Jr. High, PBVUSD
I heard great things about the SEAL Team Champions course but I had no idea how uplifted and inspired our team from Van Horn Elementary School would feel after each session. Our course took place during the Covid-19 pandemic when many of our students were struggling to stay engaged and many of our teachers were grappling with how to best serve all of their many needs. Each time we met with Dr. Hood and the Thriving YOUniversity team, we had a chance to engage, reflect, share our best practices, and build the foundation for a stronger school community. After completing the course we now have the scientific understanding, a wealth of strategies, and the tools we need to support all of our students’ social-emotional and academic needs, while also attending to our own unique needs during a very uncertain time. After we trained our staff, we received amazing feedback after they tried the strategies in their own classrooms. We are all better teachers and human beings for having been a part of the SEAL Champions course.
– Camille Fulton
Van Horn Elementary
Thanks to Thriving YOUniversity, I have a new passion for the work that I do. Joelle, Jessie, and Janeen created such a supportive community of PBVUSD members during our S.E.A.L. Champions training. Not only did we learn about how we can change our students’ lives, but we even learned how we can change our own lives. Even though we only saw each other over zoom, we all became so close that we felt comfortable talking about our emotions and self-reflecting. We laughed, we cried, and we all came out as better educators because of it. Joelle, Jessie, and Janeen are such amazing human beings and the magical things that they teach are changing the academic environment for the better, and more importantly, they are helping students all over the country have a more successful and impactful education experience.
– Celeste West
Behavioral Intervention Assistant, Van Horn Elementary, PBVUSD
I have been lucky enough to participate in this inspirational and thought provoking training — the year-long S.E.A.L. Internal Champions series. This has given me the tools and strategies to better serve my students. It has helped me to provide my students with intentional, research based strategies that help with mental well-being and social emotional skills. It has helped both our students and our staff members. The SEAL team and Thriving Youniversity group was amazing to work with. I would highly recommend this training to anyone in the educational field.
– Thomas Rucks
ATS Teacher, Thompson Jr. High, PBVUSD
We had heard very positive things from another district in Maine that participated in “Strategies for a Successful Year.” We were searching for a way to give back to our teachers during these stressful times brought on by the pandemic. What we received from Dr. Hood and the amazing Thriving YOUniversity team was “Taking Time to B.R.E.A.T.H.E.” – a 3-part, highly interactive remote workshop focused on personal well-being and resilience. The sessions were jam-packed full of helpful information, research-based tools, and tips. As an encore, the J-Team presented a 1-hour version of their “L.E.A.D.S.” session to 40 administrators from across the state. Response to both sessions has been very positive — gifts we believe that will keep on giving.
– Scott A. Harrison
Executive Director of the Central Aroostook Council on Education
Our 22 Complex Area Team members participated in Thriving YOUniversity’s “Strategies for a Successful Return”, but what we “experienced” was SO much more than just another professional development “course”. Although COVID-19 forced these sessions to be conducted virtually via ZOOM, the amazing J-Team (Joelle, Jessie, and Janeen) were extremely successful in modeling powerful strategies for promoting social-emotional well-being, building a sense of belonging, and fostering interpersonal connections. This experience truly felt like a summer “RETREAT” which allowed our team to reflect deeply, consider the bigger picture, examine our values, explore new territory (SEL during a pandemic), get to know other team members on a personal level, strengthen interpersonal connections, and develop an appreciation for the work we share as an entire team. We are a stronger team because of this Thriving YOUniversity experience and much better prepared to support SEL during this pandemic.
– Gregg Iha
LMW Complex Area Resource Teacher, Hawaii Dept. of Education
After participating in a Thriving YOUniversity session with Dr. Hood, I was energized and motivated to bring everything I learned back to my staff. It shifted my practice and in my last two staff meetings both times I have had 3 to 4 emails from both certificated and classified members telling me “this was the best meeting we’ve had thus far” and “I so needed this today”: The training fits perfectly with where we are on our MTSS implementation journey and where we are as a staff. It is making a significant impact as we address secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, and refilling the depleted emotional piggy banks of the staff as they provide care and compassion to our students at a school with 91% poverty and significant S.E.L. needs pre-pandemic.
– Charles “Derrick” Lawson
Principal of Indio High School, Desert Sands Unified School District
Thriving YOUniversity’s “Strategies for a Successful Year” was fantastic! This PD was exactly what our staff needed to get themselves in the right space for our kids. GREATLY APPRECIATED.
– Ryan Gleason, Principal
Yarmouth Elementary School, Yarmouth Schools, Maine
Dr. Hood and the Thriving YOUniversity team brought a much needed and relevant training to three schools in PBVUSD, district-level MTSS team, and several district administrators. The presentations were done with passion, commitment, and deep dedication to building adults’ capacity and knowledge in SEAL. During the start of a very turbulent Distance Learning School year due to COVID, this training brought clarity, focus, and a desire to put social-emotional learning at the forefront of the virtual learning format. It is essential now more than ever before to weave, social-emotional learning throughout the school day. I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Hood and her team for their gift, expertise, and passion in social-emotional learning.
– Amy Mensing, Principal
Berkshire Elementary School, PBVUSD
Inspirational, engaging and thought-provoking are just a few words to describe the professional development opportunity Joelle and Thriving YOUniversity provided for our staff. The resources they gave after the training were game changers for me as a school counselor. In over 20 years in this profession, Joelle’s delivery of information and her passion for the subject were by far the best professional development I have ever experienced. I have used her resources in both my professional and personal life. I cannot thank Thriving YOUniversity enough!
– Laura Spellman, School Counselor
Yarmouth Elementary School
I have been fortunate enough to see Joelle present in several different formats and I have never been disappointed. She is absolutely the best! Joelle’s presentation “Strategies for a Successful Year” was just what we needed to start the year! She is a breath of fresh air in these turbulent times. The material she shared, as well as the passion in which she delivered it helped calm the waters and apprehension our staff was feeling. She used research-based, actionable items that could immediately and easily be implemented and make a difference for everyone in our district. Her strategies undoubtedly have helped us develop a sense of belonging and a more positive climate. She didn’t just talk about staff and students, she talked about all of us as humans and the importance of connection, empathy, and self-compassion. The only thing we didn’t get from Joelle was enough time! I could listen to her all day, every day. She really is in touch with what educators and humans need in their lives right now.
– Courtney Camino, Ed.S.
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Licensed Professional Counselor
Converse County School District#1, Wyoming
I am so thankful for Thriving YOUniversity and for the online S.E.A.L. course because it’s forced some needed introspection on my end to occur. It’s forced me to think of ways I can be even more deliberately impactful on others in terms of their mental & physical wellbeing, their productivity at work, and in our relationship as co-workers, friends, peers, neighbors, etc… Fostering those things in a positive way is always something that brings me joy, so I intend on being more deliberate in doing just that. As a father of a current student with us (with another just three years out), as an alumnus of our school, as a member of our community, and as someone who has lived nearly the same life as the kids we interact with daily, I look forward to seeing the positivity brought on by those in my midst at TUHSD that took the time for this P.D. and that take the time to actively practice/implement these tactics going forward. Thank you for the great work & effort to help us grow!
– Josh Bryant, Chief Business Official (C.B.O.)
Taft Union High School District
I have known Dr. Joelle Hood for many years. I knew her before she completed her doctorate and became a world-class expert in well-being. Now, many years later, she is the expert I go to when I need advice to support students and staff. I brought the Thriving YOUniversity team to present to our teachers on wellness for students and the response was overwhelming. Many teachers thanked me and said it was the best training they had ever been to. Many said they felt personally empowered like never before. I cannot stress enough the faith I have in Dr. Hood and the Thriving YOUniversity team to lead this all-important work.
– Bob Brough, Director of Pupil Services
Perris Union High School District
The “J Team” (Dr. Joelle Hood, Jessie Fuller, and Janeen Antonelli) at Thriving Youniversity are more than amazing partners. They are at the forefront of research, experts in a multitude of areas within Social, Emotional and Academic Learning. They have truly impacted and encouraged us as individuals and as a collective group. They have been essential to the scaling up of our educational framework and design of our SEAL/MTSS systems. Our team never feels alone in the work knowing we have such dedicated, knowledgeable, and incredible associates by our side.
– Aaron Wood, Director of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
Thriving YOUniversity continues to provide superb training and support for our district. The Triple J team of Joelle, Jessie, and Janeen customize for our context their expertise in social-emotional learning with training, tools and support to meet the needs of our learning community. We couldn’t be more happy to have them as thought partners along this journey of wellness.
– Karen Valdes, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent, Student Services
Hemet Unified School District
I had the pleasure of witnessing Jessie present at our 4th Annual Bullying Prevention Conference. In addition to being extremely engaging and informative, she was also many of our attendees “favorite speaker of the day”. She is so delightful to work with and has also presented for our peer-to-peer program at two local high schools within Riverside, CA. She’s versatile in being able to speak to and catch the attention of her adult audiences all the way to high school teens. Jessie is wonderful and through her presentations I’ve learned so much but, most importantly to keep spreading kindness everywhere!
– Bianca Gonzalez, Bullying Prevention Program Coordinator
Riverside Medical Clinic Charitable Foundation/Anti-Bullying Institute
I first witnessed Jessie at a speaking engagement at California Baptist University several years ago and to this day, remember statements that she made in her speech that has changed the way I look at other people in the best way possible.
Our Foundation had the pleasure of having Jessie speak to over 325 attendees at our 4th Annual Bullying Prevention Conference. On most of our surveys, she was listed as the “favorite speaker of the day”. She also led two dynamic speaking engagements at John W. North and Ramona High School directed at hundreds of students as part of our Peer-to-Peer HERO program.
Jessie is extremely energetic and has a way of captivating her audience with a wide range of subjects and her expertise.
I have had the pleasure of listening to many speakers over the years and Jessie is by far, one of my personal favorites. She is inspirational, kind and giving of her time and her smile is just contagious.
– Lynda E Bailey, Executive Director
Riverside Medical Clinic Charitable Foundation/Anti-Bullying Institute
Thriving YOUniversity stunned and amazed me last week during my very first interaction with them. Dr. Joelle Hood is an amazing presenter with deep expertise in mindfulness, emotional intelligence, strength-based leadership, trauma-informed practices, community building and many other areas of social-emotional learning. She quickly connected with the audience and earned respect because of her current best-practices and not some old stories of the past. The training inspired me as it brought me to tears (sitting with participants who had never met me) to embrace all the areas in which I need to L.E.A.D.(S) better. Thank you for your moving, heartfelt, educational and professional presentation! The resources freely provided will continue making me a better leader in the future!
– Dr. Marva Jones, Senior Executive Director of the Center for Continuous Improvement
Ohio Department of Education
Dr. Joelle Hood is a phenomenal educator who brings energy and connection as she shares her deep insight relating to social-emotional learning. We have made the overt choice to connect with Joelle and her team at Thriving YOUniversity multiple times each year to bolster our efforts by incorporating mindfulness in our work with kids and each other! Dr. Hood’s workshops have proven to be especially valuable as the Menifee Union School District moves forward in addressing the equity challenges in our growing school district.
– Dr. Steve Kennedy, Superintendent
Menifee Union School District
Dr. Joelle Hood along with her team at Thriving YOUniversity just changed my life forever. The data she presents, as well as the real-life applications, have you looking at the purpose of your life through a critical lens. I was able to take away quick strategies, books, videos and scenarios to quickly apply in my personal and professional life. The energy she brings is infectious and her work will change everyone’s mindset. She is truly a change agent.
– Julieta R. Flowers, School Leader
Achieve Career Preparatory Academy
In early childhood education, a leader’s resilience and social-emotional well-being are absolutely essential for managing a thriving team. Dr. Hood’s presentation at our leadership conferences, Mindful Leadership: Taking Time to B.R.E.A.T.H.E., was just what we were looking for to galvanize our school directors before the fall season. It was important for us to devote time to explore techniques that would make a difference not only at the workplace but in our directors’ personal lives, as well. Our directors came away from the session inspired by Dr. Hood’s contagious positive energy and thoughtful insights. Many have noted that they’re continuing to draw from these lessons in recognizing and tapping their own strengths as they support their teams. Sincere appreciation to the entire team at Thriving YOUniversity.
– Lisa Miskimins, Sr. Vice President of Operations
Learning Care Group
Joelle and the team at Thriving YOUniversity not only have the expertise, experience, and research to back up their leadership in SEL, culture development in teams, and personal development – they LIVE it and Model their practices in a way that proves it works and its worth the work! The workshop Joelle provided to our charter school leaders, faculty, and our authorizer team was life changing! She forever changed how participants will approach empathy and vulnerability in both their work and personal life while strengthening their resiliency and passion.
– Jennifer L. Schorr, MBA, Associate Director-Education Division
Buckeye Community Hope Foundation
Joelle and the Thriving YOUniversity are fantastic! The feedback from participants in Buckeye Community Hope Foundation’s annual All Schools Meeting was very positive — Joelle was a big hit with our school leaders.
– Peggy Young, Director
Education Division Buckeye Community Hope Foundation
After a school shooting on our campus in 2013, our district staff were ragged and struggling to find positivity in our work. Our leadership was frazzled & searching for ways to support our teachers so that they were better able to support our traumatized kids. I met Joelle & the Thriving YOUniversity team at just the right time — first at an MTSS training and then at a conference she presented at. We were able to write SEL into our LCAP & this year began our Pre-service with SEAL. Now we have a team of Internal Champions who are engaged in a training series throughout this year. My participants have said things like, “This is the best training I have participated in through my entire career,” and “This has been so affirming. It has reminded me why I became a teacher in the first place.” I highly recommend Joelle and her team –Janeen and Jessie– as trainers in your district.
– Chelle Koerner
Director of Alternative and Special Education, Taft Union High School District
I am beaming with joy from the Professional Development with Dr. Hood and Thriving YOUniversity on Belonging and Connections. The presentation was intentional, engaging and thought provoking! It was my pleasure to invite you to our school and it makes me smile every time a teacher stops me in the hall to say “Thank you for bringing her out; That presentation was great”. I’m excited to share, we are on our way to get our own ball pit! Stay tuned. Many thanks.
– Melva Mullins, LICSW
School Social Worker, Roosevelt STAY Opportunities Academy
First and foremost, Thriving YOUniversity has helped me in my personal journey to become a healthier and happier human being. I don’t think there is any better testimonial than that. I have participated in face-to-face workshops, online courses and convections through the Thrive Tribe. Every single experience helps to better my understanding of myself and build connections with others in my personal life. My life has truly changed for the better because of Thriving YOUniversity. If that isn’t enough, Thriving YOUniversity has played a tremendous role in enriching my teaching practice. I cannot even count how many ideas, methods and SEL practices I have learned and gained from through Thriving YOUniversity. Not only has my life changed, but every single student I come in contact with is affected in a positive way due to things that I have learned through Thriving YOUniversity. To me, that is priceless.
– Cathy Schmidt
Human Being and Alternative Education Teacher, YCJUSD
Are you looking for a positive shift in climate and culture within your organization? Dr. Joelle Hood and Thriving YOUniversity has a very impressive track record for totally transforming teams. I guarantee they will ignite your organizational atmosphere with positive energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and productivity. The folks at Thriving YOUniversity are committed to the transformation of teams from the inside out. The engaging learning sessions are complete with activities that boost individual well being through introspection and propel participants into becoming an even better version of themselves. I have attended many learning sessions led by Joelle, and as a result, am now involved in championing the work within our school district. Our Climate and Culture Team worked very closely with Joelle to assist us in designing learning sessions tailored to our school district’s specific needs. Joelle is an absolute pleasure to collaborate with and is extremely generous with her time and resources. She is a voracious reader which keeps her informed of the latest research and evidence-based practices; She is truly a human search engine! I highly recommend that you invite Thriving YOUniversity to lead your organization in developing individual and collective capacity.
– Melissa Copland
FUSD, Climate and Culture Specialist, Social Emotional Learning
Department of Prevention and Intervention, Climate and Culture Division
I brought in the Thriving YOUniversity team on to my site for an admin retreat. I wasn’t sure how my team would react to this type of professional development since we had never done anything like it before. The presenters were warm and welcoming and really connected with my staff. At the conclusion of our day, my team were saying things like “that’s something everyone should attend” and “I’ve been waiting to participate in something like this.” The feedback was amazing. The entire Thriving YOUniversity team were very professional and supportive and provided relevant and relatable topics. We are bringing them back for a day two and the whole team is looking forward to it.
– Michele Reid
VUSD, Principal, Visalia Charter Independent Study
Dr. Joelle Hood and the team at Thriving YOUniversity have proven to be key partners for us in nurturing a positive organizational culture and supporting the leadership team in cultivating an optimal workplace environment. Through ongoing workshops and leadership support, our team has designed and implemented strategies to improve employee well-being and maximize our passion and purpose throughout each day. If you are looking to empower the extraordinary within your organization or team, I highly recommend that you consider a strengths-based leadership approach with the compassionate and dedicated staff at Thriving YOUniversity. Becoming better humans, educators, and leaders is the first step in approaching the challenging and meaningful work of improving the lives of those we serve.
– Caryn Lewis
Assistant Superintendent, Monterey County Office of Education
Thriving YOUniversity has been a blessing! The vast amount of resources and access to coaches is phenomenal. The courses offered have not only helped me to become better at my job, but it’s helped my to find myself and be the best version of myself I can be. I would highly recommend any of the courses offered.
– Justin Brooks
KHSD, TOSA, PBIS-MTSS Student Behaviors and Supports
This team is AMAZING! I had the opportunity to collaborate and work side by side with them. They are definitely a dream team! Knowledgeable, passionate, experienced, energetic, dedicated, and humble they are. Truly, a gifted team who will have you feeling totally comfortable and confident during and after working with them.
– Janell Burton
District Resource Counselor-RP/SEL, KHSD
“Dr. Hood and the Thriving YOUniversity team have been an incredible resource for our school district as we continue to not only address S.E.A.L. with our students, but also use strategies to ensure that our leaders are providing support for our staff in a way that honors their emotional and social well-being. It has been a journey of self-discovery and self-reflection for our district, and we can’t wait to continue working with the Thriving YOUniversity team.”
– Dr. Janice Jones
HUSD, Director, English Learners & Categorical Programs
The Terrific Trio at the core of Thriving You have impacted my professional and personal wellness in a number of ways: as a high school teacher, I trained extensively with Joelle. My district brought Social Emotional Learning to the forefront of professional development and, after a one day training in SEL, I went back for a deeper dive into the practices of gratitude, kindness, mindfulness, and creating classroom community. I brought these concepts to my classroom and school site because they not only changed the culture of my school, they changed ME. I got so inspired I became a Teacher on Special Assignment so I could bring these philosophies and strategies to every professional in our district. Now, as a new retiree, I continue to be enriched by the wellness practices of gratitude, kindness and mindfulness that I learned from the Thriving You team.
– Jerri Jameson
Teacher On Special Assignment, KHSD (Retired)
Joelle Hood is a Change Agent—in ways that you and your organization must experience. Her expertise and wisdom has been infectious in my district—where professional educators, after spending time with her, led to a massive transformation in the way they taught, led, and lived that included mindfulness and positive energy in every part of their life. I cannot recommend Joelle highly enough. She can change a culture!! And do it better than any person I know.
– Kris Swett
I love Dr. Joelle Hood! First and foremost, she personally practices and demonstrates the values that she shares in her trainings on social-emotional supports and the development of Emotional Intelligence. She reminds me, weekly, of the characteristics needed for me to be a better leader- namely the development of a work environment in which everyone feels safe and deeply valued, and one in which the nurturing of connection and relationships is the first priority. She reminds me, as well, that I am at my best when I bring my authentic self to work everyday… (#JustBeBob) I am incredibly thankful to be her friend and colleague- she is having a huge impact in making our schools and school district a healthier, happier, and more effective place to learn and work, for our students and staff members alike!
– Dr. Robert Nelson
Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District
Dr. J’s training on social emotional learning really lit a fire in my professional practice as an educator. I took her passion for teaching empathy, kindness, and mindfulness and used it with my high school students and my middle school granddaughter. It truly changed the culture of my school and brought me so much joy. Now I have the pleasure of taking what I’ve learned from Joelle beyond my high school and my family and teaching other educators how to make the same impact on their campuses. It’s been a rewarding journey that just keeps getting better!
– Jerri Jameson
Teacher On Special Assignment, KHSD
Dr. Joelle Hood has been a partner with us in the important and valuable work around Social Emotional Learning for the last few years. She is gifted in leading adult learning. Joelle always models the way as a credible leader in the field, provides appropriate articles and research to reflect upon and discuss, gets participants directly involved and engaged in the learning and offers an array of powerful ideas for implementation in classrooms and schools. Joelle is grounded in best practice and customizes professional learning in a way that meets the identified needs and desires of the district. She has made a powerfully positive impact in the lives of adults and children in the FSSD.
– Catherine Stephens Ed.D.
Associate Director of Schools for Teaching & Learning, Franklin Special School District, TN
Joelle has helped me transform my life and my classroom by helping me recognize my own strengths and fostering the strengths of my students. If you’re looking for someone to help you change your mindset and be successful, she is your person. I’m so fortunate to have worked with her!
– Hannah Bush
After attending Joelle’s SEL workshops I came away feeling that I had begun a process that had the potential to be as truly significant as I had been led to believe. Sitting still, being aware and, perhaps most crucially, learning again how to concentrate – all perceptibly such simple traits gave me the essentials to incorporate into my classroom. I now use mindfulness and breathing activities in many of my classes to help my students concentrate and stay focused throughout the day. In result, my students have learned how to focus and their behavior seems much more calm than before we had incorporated mindfulness activities in class.
– Faustine Rosales
Joelle Hood is one of those professionals who sparkles with enthusiasm and dedication. Fueled by passion for transforming others to flourish and thrive, Joelle is recognized as someone who brings new ideas and solutions to the field. Integral to Joelle’s success is her ability to motivate and inspire those whose life she touches to accomplish great things.
– Diana Walsh-Reuss, Ed.D.
Riverside County Associate Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Hood is a phenomenal presenter and life coach. Her trainings and magical synergy help “spark passion” and purpose. Dr. Hood helped support our district vision on social emotional learning. Her trainings equipped our staff with the necessary tools to lead the work and support students. Dr. Hood motivates her audience and her positive energy is contagious. I am grateful and honored to have worked beside her. I have learned so much from her and I will be her biggest follower wherever she goes!
– Liz Gonzalez, M.A.
M.S., Educational Consultant & District Administrator, BCSD-CA
Joelle has given me the tools to better myself and my students through the techniques of living with purpose, getting curious and not furious, taking a breath, and self-care. She gave me a new enthusiasm for my profession after I had been in a rut after 13 years. She will change your life!
– Dianne Tiner
Joelle is an amazing presenter with deep expertise in mindfulness, emotional intelligence, strength-based leadership, trauma-informed practices, community building and many other areas of social-emotional learning. She builds a connection with her audience and earns the respect of teachers due to her experience and love for kids. The training she has provided to my district has received the highest evaluations from our teachers and has been utilized and benefiting our students.
– Zhanna Preston, Ed.D.
Executive Director of Special Education, MVUSD
I have had the pleasure of knowing Joelle for many years. She understands that the key to transformation begins with the understanding of self, then extends to developing empathy and connection with those around us. I have witnessed her working with adults and young people alike, working as a catalyst that brings groups together embracing the power of the collective.
– David Olney
Superintendent, Hesperia Unified School District
My school site principal and I share the love for mindfulness and have witnessed the positive impact it has brought to our students and staff. We created a mindfulness room this year and in the process of creating it, I reflected back on my journey through Joelle’s mindfulness course and what a valuable resource she has been and continues to be with this subject. She has been my inspiration in my practice and I hope to continue sharing the beautiful gift of mindfulness to others in the years ahead. Thank you Joelle!
– Stephanie Ford
School Counselor, CNUSD
Joelle instantly connects with her audience when she presents. She is the most engaging presenter I have ever had the pleasure of hearing and her knowledge about social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence is beyond awesome! I plan on having her back to Tennessee soon.
– Pat Conner
Executive Director, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools, TN Dept of Ed
“The team at Thriving YoUniversity has been extraordinary in helping me develop my capacity as a coach and Professional Development facilitator. I appreciate their energy, charisma and depth of knowledge in all things SEL. I would recommend their trainings for anyone who wants to fully develop their own capacity as well as that of their organization.”
– Jackie Lilly
PPS TOSA, PBIS-MTSS, KHSD
Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports
Student Behavior and Supports
Joelle was such a gift to me and our organization. In the midst of transition, the Executive Board of Fresno Consolidated (ACSA) in the Fresno Unified School District recognized the need to address the social-emotional needs of its leaders, teachers and students. As such, we invited Joelle to join district leaders on two occasions during the 17-18 school year. The theme of “Nourish to Flourish” has helped to create a foundation upon which leaders could reframe their leadership experiences in our large organization. Her work has led to additional presentations and workshops that have inspired, reinvigorated and motivated leaders in a new way. I look forward to learning more from Joelle as she begins a new phase in her own leadership journey!
– Lynn Rocha-Salazar
Principal, Ayer Elementary, Fresno Unified School District
Joelle Hood has the gift of communication and the gift of encouragement. She has inspiration in her DNA. Her in-service trainings are very much like her personality…Full of light, humor, motivation, wisdom, and encouragement. Joelle is also very skilled with all forms of technology. She weaves in motivational clips, music and inspirational stories from her vast virtual library.
Some may think that the topic of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) does not have a place in modern education. Joelle has gone to great lengths to present only evidenced-based, well-researched practices in her in-services. The current problems on school campuses are well known. Student bullying, mental health issues, and school safety have become required topics of the day. Joelle’s approach to preventing these serious issues is to get ahead of them– helping students by creating positive, emotionally healthy environments where they can thrive. She is the best I have seen at helping administrators create such environments.
– Bruce Petersen
Senior Director, San Diego County Office of Education
Joelle brought it!!! The SEL workshop brought a wealth of ideas and research to a very needed topic. Without Social Emotional Learning in schools we are depriving students from learning how to be the best human they can be.
– Sarah Gonzalez, M.A., P.P.S.C.
School Counselor, CNUSD Student Services
Joelle’s workshop was SO inspiring! Yes, common core and standards are important but there is soooo much more we need to teach our students! We can’t control what our students go through on a daily basis outside of our school walls but while they’re in our presence, we CAN help change their lives! We can shower them with love & compassion and give them the tools, confidence and drive to be someone else’s rainbow! My new daily goal is to be a “rainbow” in at least 3 student’s lives each day…..kindness, it’s contagious! Pass it on!
– Monique Biggs
Bilingual SLP, SLUSD
Joelle’s enthusiasm is very contagious ~ please stand back if you do not want happiness/joy/compassion in your life! I clung to her shirt-tail years ago after hearing/seeing her present and I continue to hold on so I personally can learn and share her amazing knowledge with my students! Dr. Hood – thank you for ALL you DO!
– Diane Hartman
School Counselor, VVUSD
Too often teachers bypass the opportunity for professional development because of the time factor – especially right before school starts and there are major preparations to be done. Caught up in the rush to be ready for the first day of school, and to consider if the time vested would be worth it, I researched Joelle Hood and found her Social Emotional Learning training information intriguing… Be reassured, I was NOT disappointed. The tools I acquired are going to be extremely applicable in this generation’s education. Thank you!
– Paula Johnson
CTE/ROP Teacher, Palo Verde Unified School District
I was blessed to hear Joelle’s SEL presentation today. I have worked for SBCSS for 25 years as an ED teacher. Everything that she shared today resonated deep down in my soul. I was teary eyed during the entire presentation. I could not figure out why….and then it dawned on me that the Social Emotional well-being of children is why I have been a classroom teacher for the past 30 years. Would love to attend future professional development trainings and do all that I can to champion this amazing cause of teaching others to become more compassionate members of society.
– Falishia Roberts
Special Education ED Teacher, SBCSS
Joelle, thanks again for a vibrant and vital presentation today. I strongly believe in this work, and now I have research and resources to support my beliefs. I will be using this with our faculty and staff, and I’m sure it will make a positive impact.
You are a blessing! 🙂
– Julie Thomas
Vice Principal, SLUSD
I thoroughly enjoyed Joelle’s presentation at the TN SCALI! Cultivating a culture of kindness & compassion–even from our youngest learners–is incredibly important! They are the ‘change makers’. I left the session feeling inspired and rejuvenated to bring the ideas and words Joelle shared to action.
– Kristie Arendale
School Counselor, Maryville City Schools, TN
Joelle is a motivational practitioner who has helped many of us to live our most authentic lives! Positivity and happiness exude from her core essence. Every workshop, coaching session, and training concentrates on how to live “in the now” and her activities demonstrate how practicing mindfulness can only enrich our existence!
– Debi Rozeski
Miniature Horse Therapy and CEIS Coordinator
My staff truly enjoyed the SEL training you provided. The message that you presented resonated the importance of how we all need to be mindful of taking care of ourselves. I hope to have you come back again next school year for a full day on growth mindset!
– Dr. Cathy Chan
Charter President, Diablo Managers Association (DMA) and Co-Administrator, MDUSD
Dr. Joelle Hood walks in her purpose and she will likely say, “I do it on purpose.” Everything she does is purposeful, intentional, and motivational. If it’s working on a new concept, a new training, a new book, or developing a plan with new clients, Joelle always puts on her growth mindset attitude and her creative brain. She has the teaching gift and the empathy and desire to coach others down their path of success. It is no wonder her following is gigantic and her sphere of influence far-reaching!
– Dr. Debbie Sacks
Educational Consultant, Humanitarian, Happiness Ambassador
I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Joelle Hood speak on Cultivating a Positive Climate of Kindness, Empathy, and Compassion through Social Emotional Learning at the Conditions for Learning Forum in Murfreesboro, TN. I really enjoyed it and am very excited to share her message with my peers. It is always nice to attend a session and come away with great ideas and plans, and this was certainly one of those sessions. Keep up the great work you do!
– Lindsay Tucker, M.S.
Elementary School Counselor, Robertson County Schools
Dr. J is the real deal! She is definitely very knowledgeable and passionate in her specified areas. Truly, a gifted individual who will have you feeling totally comfortable and confident during and after working with her. Never a dull moment. She has maintained peaceful and positive vibes each time I’ve been around her.
– Janell Burton
District Resource Counselor-RP/SEL, KHSD
Joelle, You are a superstar! Thank you for your candor, your humility, your modeling of connection, and vast knowledge – you changed my teaching for the better!
– Olivia Naturman
Teacher, ArTES High School, LAUSD
Working with Joelle is such a delight! Using SEL components in the classroom changes the tone of the entire year and empowers the students to be in charge of their own learning and behavior. With my AP students, I have had wonderful success in reducing their test anxiety through using breath work and a combination of SEL tools.
– Julie Detloff
She doesn’t just believe in the Law of Attraction, she is the Law of Attraction! Joelle’s effervescent energy, can-do attitude, and artillery of action-based positivity creates radical results. She is a powerhouse for being both cheerleader AND coach, where work becomes play and play IS the work. For her, happiness isn’t something we sometimes feel, it’s a flag which appears when we’re living our most vibrant life. I’ve never seen anyone with such fearless vision so passionately committed to cultivating happiness every day! Joelle should come with a warning label–Caution: May Cause Incredible Joy!”
– Zo Manik
Poet, Artist, and Author of May Fall Skyward Earth: 48 Rhythms and Drawings
Joelle has a keen ability to recognize a person’s strengths. Her coaching has helped me identify my own strengths and maximize them professionally. She has guided me to stay focused on and driven by things I am passionate about. Whenever life has seemed a little cluttered, she has always helped to make things more clear.
– Kristie Fabro
Teacher, Oakland Unified School District
I’ve had the pleasure to work with Joelle numerous times at youth and educator’s events. She is full of energy and very knowledgeable. Joelle always presents information in a way that keeps her audiences engaged and energized. She makes learning enjoyable for everyone who has the pleasure of listening to her presentations. As a speaker myself, I know how difficult this is, and Joelle is spectacular!
– Ray Lozano
CEO, Prevention Plus, LLC
Joelle’s energy and determination to live “in purpose and on purpose” is evident during her presentations. She is a dynamic presenter who has inspired me to not only focus on Social and Emotional Learning strategies and Mindfulness in the classroom but to apply it to my own well-being as well. Joelle’s passion to share her life’s work and purpose is contagious. She has planted an enthusiastic seed in me to continue to implement and share all the “Good Stuff.” I am grateful that our paths have crossed, so that I can join her to make the world a better place!
– Mary Bloom
Dr. Joelle Hood is amazing! Her message of “Belonging and Cultivating Connection” was the perfect opening for our 2019 Visalia Unified Convocation. Visualize over 3,000 people in a convention center moving about to share personal messages and connect with each other. Her passion created the energy and response for that type of engagement but more importantly, to change how we work with each other and with our students. A few days after working with us, I witnessed teachers using her strategies with students and site leaders embedding her ideas in their team meetings. As a result of her work with us, school staff shifted their focus, spending the first few days of school on connection activities so that they could build positive culture before immersing students in academics.
Our work with Joelle created a positive shift in a very short time. I look forward to our continued work with her as we create a better place to work with each other and a more inclusive learning environment.
Tamara Ravalín, Ed. D.
Interim Superintendent, Visalia Unified School District
The Thriving YOUniversity S.E.A.L. Champion trainings were such a wonderful spark for us to fan into flame our passion in teaching our students!
We are NOT the same group we started out as…we are BETTER and so are our students! Not only did our staff improve their connections in the classroom, our staff is motivated to build stronger platforms of communication throughout our campus. Champion trainings are definitely needed in more, if not all, of our schools and with all of our educators. Many of us did not get this learning in our credential programs and yet it’s essential to teaching scholars in the 21st century. When you’re seeing staff members take risks with new learning and initiate solutions for student success, and you see students who were failing classes, determined to turn around because they’re connecting with a caring adult on campus, you know there’s true value in S.E.A.L. training. Our goal is get all of our staff to be trained Champions!
The S.E.A.L. shift was such a game-changer!
PBIS Coach & EL TOA, Colton Joint Unified School District