Dr. Dena Simmons

Headshot of Dena Simmons

Self-care, Healing, and Equity-Responsive Practices When The World Feels Heavy

In this session, we will explore self-care strategies as a way to cope with isolation, uncertainty, and the collective traumas of COVID-19 and our country’s reckoning with race. We will also reflect on what is causing our burnout as a way to tackle it with relevant emotion regulation and self-care strategies. As we plan for the start of a new year, we will discuss how best to meet the needs and demands of former and current students who expressed harm done at school/district, plans for creating systemic change, and anti-racist practices to ensure equity and to facilitate healing in the midst of multiple pandemics.

About Dr. Dena Simmons

Dr. Dena Simmons is the founder of LiberatED, a liberatory approach to social and emotional learning, racial justice, and healing. She is also the inaugural scholar-in-residence at the Institute for Racial Justice at Loyola University of Chicago. She is the former Assistant Director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, where she supported schools to use the power of emotions to create a more compassionate and just society.

Prior to her work at the Center, Dr. Simmons served as an educator, teacher educator, diversity facilitator, and curriculum developer. She has been a leading voice on teacher education and has written and spoken across the country about social and racial justice pedagogy, diversity, emotional intelligence, and bullying in K-12 school settings, including the White House, the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit, the United Nations, two TEDx talks, and a TED talk on Broadway.

Dr. Simmons has been profiled in Education Week, the Huffington Post, NPR, the AOL/PBS project, MAKERS: Women Who Make America, and a Beacon Press Book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists. Dr. Simmons is a recipient of a Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a J. William Fulbright Fellowship, an Education Pioneers Fellowship, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, a Phillips Exeter Academy Dissertation Fellowship, a Hedgebrook Writing Residency, and an Arthur Vining Davis Aspen Fellowship among others. She earned her doctorate degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she recently served as faculty in the Summer Principals Academy. Dr. Simmons’ research interests include teacher preparedness to address bullying in the K-12 school setting, culturally responsive pedagogy, and the intersection of equity and social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions—all in an effort to ensure and foster justice and safe spaces for all. She is the author of the forthcoming book, White Rules for Black People (St. Martin’s Press).

Learn more about her work at https://www.denasimmons.com/