In February 2020, we went to Los Angeles, California on what would prove to be our last before quarantine. We went to visit Dr. Lauren Casella on the campus of Loyola Marymount University. Casella is an expert in teacher leadership. After a great visit, we looked forward to further sharing of ideas. It took longer than we could have anticipated, but this fall, we reconnected with Dr. Casella on an episode of the Good Athlete Podcast.
Getting through the pandemic has taken resilience. In her mentorship of teacher-leaders, Casella notes that resilience has become a common thread. What sits below that resilience, she suggests, is faith. Optimism and faith. The idea is profound. And it makes sense. The ability to push forward is at least subliminally guided by the belief that there is something down the road worth pushing toward.
Dr. Casella learned a bit about optimism and resilience during her time as a division one swimmer at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) – her work ethic, leadership ability, and competitive edge shine through in her current work. Before returning to her alma mater as a professor, she earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California (USC). These days, she leads leaders through the Academic Program Director for the Catholic School Leadership Academy and in her role as Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration in LMU’s School of Education.
Her work includes a heavy dose of social emotional learning (SEL). “We’ve all heard of grit, resilience, growth mindset – but how often are we explicit about it in our teaching? In the way me model those qualities to students?” she wonders.
She goes on to acknowledge that this work is not exclusively for students… SEL is for adults as well, of course. “It’s a constant journey of learning how to be in the world.”
Learning how to be in the world, then passing that understanding on to the next generation. That just might be the essence of education.
“We’re learning about ourselves. And the more we learn about ourselves… man, the more work I feel like I have to do!” she laughs, noting a humbling truth we all share.
We learned a lot from Dr. Casella on this episode of the podcast. Check it out, share it, and let us know what you think!