Karen Niemi headshot

Karen Niemi

Karen Niemi is the president and CEO of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping to make social and emotional learning (SEL) an integral part of American education.

Niemi joined CASEL in 2014 and under her leadership, CASEL has been instrumental in establishing SEL as the pre-eminent education strategy to improve education systems and student outcomes. CASEL’s collaborative ethos and methodology have validated and accelerated its work at the intersection of research, practice, and policy. CASEL’s intentional influence strategies have included conceiving the launch of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, organizing the largest international conference on SEL and leading the field in promoting SEL as a lever for equity and social justice.

Niemi has made a career of leading education companies across sectors in high-growth situations to identify scalable solutions that best support the needs of all students.

Niemi received her undergraduate degree from Augustana College and a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Rush University. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Deerfield, IL, where she waits to be released from COVID restrictions to do more hiking, get back to yoga classes, and engage with people offline.

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