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Karen Niemi

Executive Director

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Karen Niemi


Karen Niemi is the executive director at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. With a distinguished career in the field of social and emotional learning (SEL), Karen has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of SEL both nationally and globally. Before joining the Center, she served as the President and CEO of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), where she played a pivotal role in establishing SEL as a critical component of education reform, enhancing CASEL's operational strategies, and fostering impactful collaborations. Karen has been a key figure in expanding funding sources, diversifying revenue streams, and driving the financial and operational success of SEL initiatives.

Before assuming her position at CASEL, Niemi held diverse roles in the education and social-emotional learning sector, notably serving as a distinguished CEO and President for SEL and education publishing enterprises. Additionally, she garnered respect as an advisor to school districts, schools, educational publishing companies, and non-profit organizations. Niemi's reputation as a catalyst for positive change in education precedes her, firmly establishing her as a trusted figure in advancing social and emotional learning initiatives. Karen's favorite ways to recharge and maintain balance are through spending time with her family, yoga, and exploring the great outdoors, a passion that aligns with her commitment to holistic well-being and lifelong learning.

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