Nation’s Leading Superintendent on SEL to Head AASA’s Social Emotional Learning Initiatives

January 14, 2021


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – January 14, 2021 –AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the premier national organization representing school system leaders, is pleased to announce that Sheldon Berman, a 2020 recipient of the Mary Utne O’Brien Award for Excellence in Expanding the Evidence-Based Practice of SEL and one of the nation’s leading authorities on this critical issue, will serve as lead superintendent of the AASA Social and Emotional Learning Consortium.

Launched in the spring of 2019, the AASA SEL Cohort is a vibrant community engaged in meaningful dialogue about how SEL is contributing to the whole child—from physical and mental health to the development of fundamental, lifelong learning skills. Later that year, Berman played a key role in the creation of AASA’s partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an agreement to explore and strengthen policies and programs superintendents and other administrators are creating to advance social and emotional learning outcomes for students nationwide. The CZI Initiative is using technology to help solve some of our toughest challenges — from preventing and eradicating disease, to improving learning experiences for kids and to reforming the criminal justice system.

“Throughout his career, Shelley Berman has been a strong leader in every facet of education administration, and has had a positive and long-lasting impact in every district he has served, particularly in the area of social-emotional learning,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “Ensuring the needs of students are met in terms of social and emotional development, especially in the COVID environment in which we live, is paramount in public education today. Shelley is a welcomed addition to lead our SEL Cohort.”

A superintendent for nearly 30 years, Berman recently retired as the head of Andover Public Schools in Andover, Mass., after holding similar positions at the Eugene (Ore.) School District, Jefferson County (Ky.) Schools and Hudson (Mass.) Public Schools. He has provided national leadership in multiple organizations that champion SEL and was a member of the Council of Distinguished Educators of the National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development.

“It is truly an honor to be working with AASA to lead the SEL Cohort and support districts in their implementation of social-emotional learning,” said Berman. “As an educator for 45 years, I’ve experienced how social-emotional learning enables our students to feel known, cared about and valued. When students feel known and valued, they perform at higher levels academically and school becomes more meaningful in their lives. AASA’s work in SEL will enable us to effectively pursue equity and create identity-safe and culturally responsive classrooms that will benefit our entire society. I’m proud to be able to provide support and leadership for this important effort.” 

Berman has authored an extensive collection of articles, book chapters and other writings that featured SEL and related topics that appeared in national publications, as well as two books on social responsibility that are closely tied to the core of social and emotional learning. He also contributes every month to the Ethical Educator column in School Administrator, AASA’s award-winning monthly magazine.

For more information or to find out how to participate in the AASA SEL Cohort, visit the AASA website or contact Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director, leadership network, at, or Debbie Magee, program director, at


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit