Sara POTLER LaHayne

Founder and CEO of Move This World
The Power of Creative Expression

Sara LaHayne is the Founder and CEO of Move This World, an award winning education media company that delivers social and emotional learning tools directly to students so they can establish and maintain healthy relationships, build trust, and navigate an increasingly complex world.

As CEO, Sara faced hard truths about her company and her personal shortcomings head on to better serve students and school communities. Change has been consistent for MTW, but one thing has remained the same: a steadfast vision from a founder determined to develop skills for authentic expression and emotional management so that every student, teacher, and administrator is free of the limitations that we often place on ourselves.

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It all began at recess…

As a lifelong dancer, she knew creative expression could be used as a mechanism to promote social emotional learning skills.

When Sara first embarked on her journey as a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia in 2007, it struck her as odd that students in conflict ridden Bogota were being taught empathy and conflict resolution through textbooks. Students weren’t interested in reading about these important concepts.

They wanted to dig deeper…

One day at recess, Sara watched students passionately rock out to reggaeton music playing from a boombox in the school parking lot. She saw how inspired students were, through their laughter and movement. That was the moment she needed. She approached the school’s physical education teacher to discuss how she could use something all of the Colombian students loved – music and dance – to inspire those same social, emotional and civic skills being taught in their textbooks. In partnership with her Fulbright research team, educators and creative arts therapists, she developed and implemented the first Move This World (MTW) social emotional learning curriculum.

After returning to the US, Sara worked with the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and the American Institutes for Research to adapt and expand the program. The curriculum was carefully developed to align to the five core social emotional competencies as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

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