Self-Leadership Collaborative, LLC
Self-Leadership Collaborative, LLC

Our Story and Testimonials

Since 2011, Joanna Curry-Sartori, LMFT, the Founder and Executive Director of the Self-Leadership Collaborative, has been implementing mindfulness and social and emotional well-being in school systems throughout the Greater Hartford, Connecticut. As Curry-Sartori studied and practiced Internal Family Systems (IFS) as a therapeutic model, she recognized its unique potential to address fundamental unmet social and emotional needs of children and adults in schools.  

Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012,  Curry-Sartori joined colleagues at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) to envision a fundamental paradigm-shift in how we nurture well-being in our school communities. From this collaborative effort at CCSU, a team emerged whose focus was to envision the translation  and integration of IFS into the school setting.  

In 2017 Curry-Sartori established the Self-Leadership Collaborative to lead the global initiative to adapt Internal Family Systems (IFS) as a well- being model for schools. Starting the fall of 2019, Curry-Sartori pioneered the first whole-school implementation of IFS in three pilot schools in Connecticut- an elementary, middle and high school. This effort has been endorsed and generously supported by the Foundation for Self-Leadership (see link to their website below).  Program evaluation of the pilots demonstrated statistically significant results.  Curry-Sartori assembled best practices into a curricular framework and has written a book on this topic that is currently in publication.

As the Self-Leadership Collaborative model has evolved, this unique approach has been made available to educators, school leaders and mental health providers worldwide. Our hope and intention is that educators everywhere will benefit from the core principles and practices of Self-Leadership, and use them to nurture their own experience of well-being, uplift our children's self-confidence, and create learning communities characterized by calm, compassion and courage. Our schools can lead the world in discovering our greatest potential to collaborate together to lead from Self.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FOUNDATION FOR SELF LEADERSHIP who is generously funding the program evaluation, curricular development and implementation of our work in schools you can visit their website. The Foundation for Self Leadership is a public charity dedicated to advancing emotional and relational healing and well-being through IFS.


“It’s impact has been immediate because it's not an initiative but rather a shift in culture...with a focus on relationships, with a core of wellness and it's spreading.”

-A Superintendent

"One of the common themes was that ultimately (this sort of) leadership is about a way of being, being our best Selves so that in our daily practice we are better in relationships. We have to learn to differentiate our responsibilities and task orientated mind from this way of being - this needs to come first."

-A Second Superintendent

"I can't wait for this model to take the world by storm.

- School Social Worker

“Teachers and administrators realize they first must do their own work, to be aware enough to notice your own triggers first ... Call me crazy: I think
we can do something differently and thanks to this approach we are

seeing a difference ...

 -A Third Superintendent

“Practicing this model has transformed me… for the first time in my career, instead of being anxious to go back to school in the fall, I could truly look forward to it.
I felt ready and relaxed.”
-Elementary, Special Ed

"Using this model has changed my entire life. I've seen a difference with my students. The last few months there has been a shift. The communications between staff ...people are taking more risks as opposed to keeping things in...there is more kindness and awareness with how we talk to each other... My hope is that we can shift the mindset of our schools through emotional empowerment. We need to cultivate a community of understanding; a place where compassion, curiosity, and connections lead our daily lives"

-Middle School Teacher