Episode 2. Trauma-Informed Education

In this dynamic conversation, Alex Shevrin Venet and Mathew Portell invite us to consider how trauma-informed education can transform outcomes for students and educators alike. They remind us that trauma-informed education is not a curriculum, program, or list of strategies. Instead, being trauma-informed is a lens that we must integrate into every part of the teaching and learning culture. From their school experiences and writings on the subject, Alex and Mathew share stories and steps for reexamining current norms and practices—and for building a trauma-informed system that’s necessary for learning and flourishing.

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“Unconditional positive regard is a stance I take in relationship to my students. The message of unconditional positive regard is, ‘I care about vou. You have value. You don’t have to do anything to prove it to me, and nothing’s going to change my mind.'”

– Alex Shevrin Venet


Headshot of Alex Shevrin Venet, author of Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education

Alex Shevrin Venet is an educator, author, and professional development facilitator based in Vermont. She began her career teaching English at an alternative therapeutic school where she later served as a school leader. Currently, Alex teaches courses in the humanities and education at Antioch College of Vermont, Antioch University New Englad, and Castelton University. She facilitates equity-centered trauma-informed workshops for educators at all levels, including presenting nationally at conferences as an independent consultant for schools and districts. Alex’s writing has appeared in Edutopia, Mindshift, and the School Library Journal. She is the co-founder of the Nurturing the Nurturers collective, a healing community for educators. Her first book, Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education, is a bestseller at W.W. Norton. You can learn more about her work at unconditionallearning.org

Mathew Portell is an educator, administrator, podcaster, writer, and international speaker. Portell’s interest in trauma-informed education led him to start the Trauma Informed Educators Network, a global network of over 31,000 practitioners, which he supports with a weekly podcast and yearly conference.  He is currently the Director of Education and Outreach at PACEs Connection and has received several recognitions for his work, but the most notable was the Elementary Principal of the Year in 2021 for Metro Nashville Public Schools.  He is a proud graduate of Tennessee State University, where he received his B.A. and M. Ed.  He completed his administrative licensure at Trevecca University and his trauma and resilience certification one and two from Florida State University.

Buy The Book

“Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education”, by Alex Shevrin Venet. WW Norton & Company.

Read the article

“Understanding Trauma-Informed Education,” by Mathew Portell. Edutopia.

Read the article

“Making the Shift to a Trauma-Informed School,” by Mathew Portell, EdWeek, July 24, 2018