Mara Schanfield

Mara Schanfield
Project Lead

Mara Schanfield, EdM, CAGS, is the lead for the Chicago Public Schools Teacher Retention Project for Region 9 and serves as a subject matter expert in social and emotional learning (SEL).

Previously, she led a multiyear Midwest Comprehensive Center project to increase teacher retention in the Chicago Public Schools’ hardest-to-staff schools by improving the teaching and learning conditions. She has worked in partnership with state agencies such as the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Center for School Improvement to conduct collaborative needs assessments and provide support services through the Statewide System of Supports. She has also led federal projects in Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa to build state capacity to implement early warning systems.

As a senior technical assistance consultant at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Schanfield specializes in SEL, teaching and learning conditions, school improvement, and collaborative processes for using data to drive change. She also leads AIR’s SEL Solutions service line. As a result of partnering with SEL Solutions, districts enhance their use of evidence-based SEL practices to create positive school environments and increase educators’ capacity to integrate SEL into instruction. In Greene County Consolidated School District in Georgia, she led SEL implementation using Concerns-Based Adoption Model tools to drive the district’s efforts to create the requisite conditions, structures, and policies for districtwide adoption of SEL. Schanfield currently serves as the director for a multiyear technical assistance project with the Pasco County Schools in Florida to develop and implement districtwide SEL. She facilitated a process in which district stakeholders reviewed existing SEL standards, and then developed their own set of district SEL standards with grade-band benchmarks. Her team is now using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model to aid in implementation of the SEL standards. She also leads a project for J. Sterling Morton District 201 in Illinois to strengthen a multi-tiered system of supports and structures to enable SEL at the classroom level.

Prior to AIR, she served as a public high school administrator and turnaround specialist. She coauthored a forthcoming publication on SEL and trauma sensitivity, which will be published in early 2021: Osher, D., Guarino, K., Jones, W., & Schanfield, M. (forthcoming). Trauma sensitive schools and social and emotional learning. Pennsylvania State University, Edna Bennet Pierce Prevention Research Center. Schanfield is a licensed school counselor and earned her Master of Education in risk and prevention along with a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.