Dear IFSEL Community,
Our hearts are deeply saddened and we are in an aching state of shock that we have lost our cherished friend, devoted team member, and wise colleague, Dan Sweeney, to cancer on December 2, 2022. His tireless work as one of The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning's Directors was integral to our program's steadiness and humanity.
Many of you experienced Dan's expert facilitation, knowing laugh, and conscientious attention in Summer Institute 4 - Day workshops or on a school campus within every quadrant of the USA as well as Beijing, Tokyo, and Bangkok. Dan loved the world and loved to travel. We relied heavily on his extensive and expert facilitation. He was often one step ahead of us on our worldwide journeys; troubleshooting details and design, adding comments that focused and clarified our work. Dan asked us to think deeply and broadly.
Over the past 12 years with IFSEL, he also helped design and deliver countless IFSEL sessions for educators, tirelessly bringing his astute insights on the vital role social and emotional learning plays in bringing equity and inclusivity into community. Because of his work at Seattle Country Day School as teacher and administrator for those same 12 years, Dan kept the pulse on ways to implement real practice of SEL. He designed SEL and Advisory at SCDS where he led student and faculty group problem solving and held many key leadership positions, ending with Middle School Division Head and Director of Professional Growth K-8th Grade.
Dan wanted middle school students to experience the real lives of diverse people and places around the world. He led over one hundred trips including recently to Monterey, California’s Steinbeck country, for face-to-face connection with the needs of migrant workers; Dachau, Germany at the Concentration Camp Memorial Site, for a deep and empathic perspective of humankind's unspeakable history, or in Rwanda, partner-teaching with an all-girls school, making new friends, and delivering supplies.
We pledge to honor his legacy in our daily work and to continue to find ways for "empathy to abound so all people thrive."
With gratitude for our kind and loving community,
The IFSEL Team