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Our Team

Lauren Porosoff

Lauren Porosoff is the founder of EMPOWER Forwards, a collaborative consultancy practice that builds learning communities that truly belong to everyone, and where everyone truly belongs. An educator since 2000, Lauren has taught at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx, New York, the Maret School in Washington, DC, and the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland. She has taught the 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades, mostly in English and history, and has also served as a DEI coordinator, a grade dean, and a leader of curricular initiatives.

Lauren’s commitment to transforming the psychological experience of school has been a constant in her teaching practice, leading her to learn about values-guided behavior change in contextual psychology. Informed by research and practices from this field, and by her 18 years as a classroom teacher, Lauren develops tools and protocols that empower students and teachers to make school a source of meaning, vitality, and community. Her work includes the instructional design processes she describes in her book Teach for Authentic Engagement (2023), the professional learning strategies in The PD Curator (2021), and the approaches to social-emotional learning in EMPOWER Your Students (2018), Two for-One Teaching (2020), and EMPOWER Moves for Social-Emotional Learning (2022). Follow Lauren on Twitter at @LaurenPorosoff.

Articles about Empowering Students to Access Their Values at School

Articles about Empowering Teachers Through Professional Learning

Articles about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Curriculum

Jonathan Weinstein

Jonathan Weinstein, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to working with veterans, he was an early contributor to the Mississippi Center for Contextual Psychology at the University of Mississippi. He participated in the development of relational frame theory and acceptance and commitment therapy during his graduate training. He has presented at multiple international and regional conferences on topics relating to contextual behavioral approaches to suicide prevention and acceptance and commitment therapy in groups. Follow him on Twitter at @JHWeinstein.

Articles in Scholarly Journals

Articles in Professional Media

Photos: Roman Iwasiwka

Our Story

Lauren and Jonathan grew up in neighboring towns but didn’t meet until 1992, through a mutual friend. After many years apart, they reconnected on social media and were married in 2010. As Lauren described her ongoing mission as a teacher—to make school meaningful for students—Jonathan quickly realized that she would benefit from learning about contextual behavioral science (CBS), which is all about helping people find meaning and purpose in life by connecting their actions to their values, and accepting the pain and struggle that always comes along with living a meaningful life.

Although Lauren resisted at first, she and Jonathan eventually started to discuss the interconnections between her work as a progressive educator and his as a CBS-trained clinical psychologist. Together, they developed a variety of CBS applications for education, in areas ranging from instructional design to social-emotional learning to professional development. Lauren and Jonathan live in New York with their two spectacular children and a cat named Benedict. When they’re not nerding out about relational frame theory or arguing about whose turn it is to make the kids’ lunch, Lauren and Jonathan enjoy hiking, cooking, high-concept fantasy shows, and cake.

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