KDSL Global Math Consultant Dr. Cory Bennett provides the keynote at the Middle East Maths Teacher Conference


The fourth Middle East Maths Teachers Conference was held on February 22, 2020, at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre and brought together, School Leaders, Maths Advisors, Education Consultants and Mathematics Educators, from all over the Middle East and beyond, for a jam-packed day of learning and networking, with the main aim of advancing the teaching and learning of Mathematics in classrooms. The first Middle East Maths Teachers Conference was held on March 11, 2017, under the theme Active Maths…Engaged Learning. Since then, the Middle East Maths Teachers Conference has become the must-attend event for teachers of Mathematics from the Middle East and even further afield.

KDSL Global Math Consultant Dr. Cory Bennett served as the keynote speaker. He is a passionate educator who strives for equity in learning for all students. As a global consultant and an Associate Professor of Education specializing in curriculum and instruction, he has worked with educators throughout the United States and across the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and Asia.


KDSL Global interviews Rania Nasr


Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Rania Nasr of Risalla Education Consulting. Currently, Nasr is based in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about training, teaching and learning, and shifting how Arabic and Islamic Education are taught in schools. Her company is a new collaborating partner with KDSL Global.

Tell us about Risalla Education Consulting.

Risalla Education Consulting provides hands-on workshops designed specifically for teachers of Arabic, Social Studies, Moral Education, and Islamic Education. We aim to help them create a student-focused learning environment, quality lesson plans, differentiated activities and assessments, and engaging resources to increase the level of student engagement and enhance the overall learning experience. We are a Dubai-based training and education consultancy, exclusively dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of those subjects across the region. By incorporating the most recent teaching methods and practices, our workshops focus on how to engage students in higher order thinking skills within those subject areas, and keep them motivated to achieve the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

Our cross-cultural domain expertise gives us unique insight and ability to cater to the challenges currently facing Arabic and Islamic Education departments in the GCC. We understand that teachers come from varying backgrounds in education, with different outlooks on teaching and learning. In order to unify and improve this framework, it is important to bridge the gaps between Western pedagogy and Arabic/Islamic culture by providing specialized training for teacher of those subjects. Our vision is to strengthen those departments from the ground up so that they are in line with other subject areas and meet international standards of education. We provide a range of services and resources to suit each and every school needs, schedule and budget.

Our services include, but are not limited to:

  • Workshops:  Hands-on and focused, delivering best teaching practices, covering everything from effective lesson planning to differentiated assessments
  • Coaching:  Working closely with individual teachers during school visits, observations conducted to assess learning within the classroom, designing a program that best fits the needs of the teacher/department
  • Curriculum Documentation: Aligning lesson plans to curriculum using standards and benchmarks, highlighting learning outcomes for each lesson
  • Recruitment: Assisting both schools and educator candidates, ensuring high quality teaching provision at our member schools.
  • Resources: Training teachers to design their own resources to facilitate learning to increase student engagement and motivation in the classroom


What challenges are Arabic and Islamic Education currently facing?

  • Arabic and Islamic Education in most schools are not in line with all other subject areas because they are not engaging enough to keep students focused and motivated, and in many cases students do not take pride in their language and culture.
  • Schools do not invest in training their Arabic and Islamic Education teachers on a continuous basis, and when training is provided it is not concise, specialized, or focused.
  • Students are generally unmotivated, uninterested, and shy away from these subject areas in international schools. There is little sense of pride and enthusiasm shown, and the underlying cause is always the method in which these subjects are being taught.
  • Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Education come from varying backgrounds and have different mindsets when it comes to education. Often times, their teaching methods are traditional and lack creativity.
  • Lack of online resources, and lack of engaging use of technology within the classroom


Tell us about the teacher training your company offers.

  • We have over 50 training courses approved by KHDA, and are delivered in both Arabic and English.
  • We work directly with teachers in our training’s through a hands-on learning environment.
  • Our training courses are themselves models of how to plan an effective lesson while considering differentiation, assessment for learning throughout the lesson, and engaging activities throughout. The training’s also focus on the ways in which teachers can ensure and measure progress within lessons.
  • Our training’s cover various topics and are based on the teacher’s development needs. The topics covered range from depth of knowledge, visual learning and inclusion to preparing for inspections and assessment data. We work with both teachers, and head of departments to ensure they are successful in expanding their skill sets and applying them into their work.


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About Risalla Education Consulting

Rania Nasr is the Managing Director and Head Trainer at Risalla Education Consulting. They are a Dubai-based training and education consultancy, exclusively dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of Arabic Islamic Education and Social Studies across the region. Our goal is to ultimately move away from traditional teacher-centered practices to creating a more learner-focused environment in the Arabic/Islamic classroom. By incorporating the most recent teaching methods and practices, our workshops focus on how to engage students in higher order thinking skills within these subject areas, while motivating them to achieve the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

To learn more about Risalla Education Consulting visit https://www.risalla.com.

KDSL Global interviews Barbara Zielonka


Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Barbara Zielonka about innovation and her new book. Zielonka gives personal insight into her teaching strategies and approaches that have helped her bring innovation into her curriculum and meet the needs of the learners of today and tomorrow.


Tell us about Education Influence and the role that innovation plays in education. 

Education Influence is a network of teachers handpicked for their influential leadership in the community. They are chosen to act as beacons to educators around the world who may require guidance to allow their children to reach their full potential. Education Influence is also a hub for teachers all over the world to come together, safe in the knowledge that they can access a local influencer who is willing to help them move forward.


I believe education plays a very important role in developing the next generation of problem solvers, critical thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators and go-getters. If we really want our students to become successful, we need to create innovative education systems. For many teachers, innovation is strictly linked with the latest technology they use in their classrooms which is true to a certain degree, but for me, innovation means engaging students in ways we never have before and stepping outside of the box. Once teachers develop an innovative mindset and get out of their comfort zone, their students will be able to do the same. We, educators, need to create authentic and innovative opportunities for our students instead of focusing on scores and tests.


Tell us about your new book, “Keys to Educational Success: The Teaching Methods of a Top 10 Finalist of the Global Teacher Prize.”

Writing a book has always been on my bucket list. In 2014, I coauthored an English course book and I still remember the feeling I felt when I held it in my hands. In 2018, I participated in the Global Education and Skills Forum and after my masterclass one of the teachers approached me and asked whether I thought about publishing a book where I could share all my teaching strategies and methods. This question made me think. So as you can see the idea to write this book was born then and I am glad I did it.


In Keys to Educational Success, I give a personal insight into my teaching strategies and approaches that have helped me bring innovation into my curriculum and meet the needs of the learners of today and tomorrow. Through many examples and practical tips, I show how giving students a voice and a choice, cultivating a lifelong learning mindset, allowing students to shape their learning and letting students follow their passions and interests has made me a successful and renowned educator.  The book is divided into 17 chapters that can be read in any order and can be purchased on Amazon.




What do you hope your readers gain from reading this book?

The purpose of this book is to show teachers, trainee teachers, leaders strategies, approaches and tools that will make their educational journey inspirational and successful. My hope is also that every reader recognizes the importance of a student-centered approach and lifelong learning mindset. These two elements have helped me shape the classroom of the future and spreading the word about them in my book may help other readers/educators accomplish their educational goals.


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Barbara Anna Zielonka is a full-time high school English teacher, global educator, educational technologist, teacher trainer, project manager, judge in international educational competitions, lifelong learner, catalyst for change and reader.

In 2007, she earned her master’s degree in English Philology from the University of Silesia, Poland. During the past eight years, she has frequently participated in many post-secondary learning programmes in Norway such as Professional Digital Competence for Educators, ICT in Education, Educational Technology, Mentoring and Communication, international conferences, seminars and workshops all over the world. In 2012, she was one of the teachers who represented Norway at the Teachers Summer Institute 2012 in Amherst (Massachusetts), sponsored by the United States Department of State under the Fulbright Program. In 2014, she co-authored an English textbook Skills for vocational students. She participated in the Pestalozzi workshops and Comenius/ Erasmus programmes, Transatlantic Educators Dialogue between 2012-2019. In May 2017, Barbara received the ‘Gullepleprisen 2017’ from the Norwegian Educational Data Society (NPeD). This prestigious prize is awarded yearly to an educator who has used ICT in teaching in an innovative way. In June 2017, Barbara became the only European winner of the Great Global Project Challenge Grant for her global project called ‘The Universe is Made of Tiny Stories’. In March 2018, Barbara was named one of the top 10 finalists of the one million dollar Global Teacher Prize. In May 2018, Barbara became the laureate of the ‘Outstanding Pole in Norway’ contest in the category of Science.

In her teaching of English, Barbara focuses on the power of international projects, the pedagogical use of ICT tools, learner empowerment, entrepreneurship, innovation and connections-based learning. Several of her global and collaborative projects have received international recognition and awards. She also serves as an ambassador in the following organisations: Varkey Foundation, eTwinning, Connections-Based Learning, HundrED, Teach SDGs and Education Influence. She conducts professional development sessions as well.

What Made Ms. T Matter Most to Me

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Teachers Matter. This hashtag used by the Global Skills Education Forum, GESF earlier this year and  now the catch phrase is more than a hashtag or catch phrase to me. Teachers Matter to me because had it not been for teachers, education, one of two things that transformed my life, would have definitely eluded me.

As a maladjusted child, I struggled in school despite possessing great academic prowess throughout my academic life. Nothing could fill the void left inside by my mother who decided that I should not have been born. As a high-spirited child, I carried on with life, albeit fighting beasts such as feelings of insignificance, emotional imbalances, self-doubt and fear, inability to trust and inappropriate advances made by close relatives. Who could I share these horrors with? I was brought up in a household in which I was to be seen and not heard and so I tried hard enough to live by such rule.  Well, every full cup must run over. Sadly, most of my spills occurred at school. To some teachers I was the girl with the attitude that wouldn’t get very far in life.

Truth be told, I was blessed with some of the best teachers and lecturers throughout my primary, high school and even college years. And maybe some of the teachers were made the above-mentioned judgment had valid points – I had issues. These issues had they been left untended would most likely result in the destruction of me. Even though most of my outstanding teachers and lecturers inspired me in various ways, whenever I think of a life-changing teacher this one teacher, Mrs. Donna Thompson comes to the forefront of my mind. Mrs. Thompson, or Ms. T as I affectionately refer to her, bore the name ‘Bad-pickney Defender’ in her selfless pursuit to reach students like me who lacked one thing or another but were continuously brushed aside and sometimes even pushed into greater lack by people who should have been fully invested in our well-being.

During my mid-teen years life got even more horrendous at home and life at school was not better in my eyes. When most persons turned a blind eye to my situation, Mrs. Thompson reached out to me and never stopped showing she cares. She provided me with emotional support, built my self-esteem, showed me how brilliant I was – validation I never got from my family, took care of my physical needs and provided a place of refuge – just somewhere I could go to clear my head. When I walked away from high school because of the surmounting stress, she formed a team which included the school counsellor, and called an intervention. This team ensured that I sat my exit exams instead of wasting time and money. Because of Ms. T’s actions, I could have matriculated to just about any university if I could afford to. She never gave up on me, always supported me and is very much still a part of my life. Mrs. Thompson is the difference between teachers who know their content but do not know their students and teachers who know their content and know their students because they care about the people they teach.

Today, I am a heart-centered educator who is passionate about knowing my students and teaching beyond written standards and assessments. Connecting with students, making a real difference and impact in their lives and giving back, and being empathetic in my classroom and  society at large  are things I value above all.  To leave as powerful a legacy as Mrs. Thompson, I teach my students to do the same as the mark she left on me is an indelible one.





Sania S. Green-Reynolds is an overcomer, and award-winning international educator who is passionate about personal and professional growth and cultivating the richest, most diverse learning experiences for learners. She is the founder and director of Lit Publishing Ltd., a mom, wife, visionary, teacher-leader and trainer, and resourceful friend and colleague. Apart from being an extroverted-introvert who likes a light yet empowering conversation, she likes meeting new people, spending time with family and friends and exploring new content and business ideas. Sania has authored and co-authored Amazon Best-selling books, transformed her clients’ lives through coaching and the re-channeling of creative energies, and inspired change among people across the globe. In 2018 she was selected as a KDSL Global Fellow.

Connect with her on LinkedIn – @Sania Green-Reynolds or on Twitter @SaniaEmpowers

KDSL Global and the GCC ASCD Connected Community Convene the Teach to Lead Summit

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Professional Development Targets MENA’s Teacher Leaders  


DUBAI, UAE, April 29, 2019 – On Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, MENA region teachers and teams will convene in Dubai as part of an initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) called the Teach to Lead Summit.   During a summit, teams of educators convene to think deeply about a problem of practice – an idea for how to improve learning in their school or country context – and to work as a team to plan solutions. Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based education company, the Teach to Lead Summit seeks to allow participating teams to:

  • Share ideas and best practices and learn from examples of existing teacher leadership efforts;
  • Identify common challenges and create concrete, actionable teacher leadership plans to address them locally;
  • Network and build relationships with other educators and leaders in their region; and
  • Identify promising ideas for follow-up support through future engagement events.

Dubai based ASCD Emerging Leader Ashley Green said,The Teach to Lead Summit will provide the educational leaders throughout the MENA region with the platform to grow and build their ideas while receiving support and input from global community stakeholders.”


Educators, school leaders, and teams from the MENA region are encouraged to apply early to attend.  More information can be found at http://www.gccascd.com/teachtolead.




KDSL Global is a UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.


ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

Our goal as the GCC Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.




Ashley Green, KDSL Global, gccascd@gmail.com,  +971 525427009


KDSL Global interviews Power On

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Sara Shadravan, Executive Director of Power On. PowerOn is a California-based youth empowerment non-profit organization helping youth, parents and educators to discover their intrinsic value as human beings by providing meaningful educational and coaching experiences.

How did you get involved with Power On?

After 25 years teaching oversees in International schools, I returned to the US and was increasingly aware of the stress, anxiety and low self-esteem facing youth today. Bullying and school shootings are on the rise, parents are worried about their children and their futures, and educators feel overwhelmed. A group of leaders, educators and mental health professionals came together to think about what was needed to transform school communities and Power On was founded in September 2017. We are a youth empowerment organization. We help youth, parents and educators to discover their intrinsic value as human beings by providing meaningful educational and coaching experiences. In these, we address core challenges facing these three audiences and provide them the tools and techniques needed for them to create personal and professional success.

What are your inspirations for focusing on social emotional learning?

The power of perspective is real and social emotional learning is essential in promoting collaboration, self-reflection and resilience. Understanding your true value, what makes you happy and how you can contribute to your communities provides security in unpredictable times. Based on current research, positive psychology and youth input, we address the issues uppermost in the minds of youth today. How can I make a difference in the world? What does my future hold? Who can I count on? Do I have what it takes to be successful, how will I know? Am I safe?

Tell us about the variety of workshops your company offers.

We offer four different workshops catering to Youth, Parents and Educators. For youth – a 12 module interactive inquiry based program focusing on understanding your true value, what makes you happy and how you can contribute to your communities. Based on current research, positive psychology and youth input, we address the issues uppermost in the minds of youth today. How can I make a difference in the world? What does my future hold? Who can I count on? Do I have what it takes to be successful, how will I know? Am I safe? We explore the concepts of self, community, perspective, power and privilege and self-advocacy.

For parents – a 7 module workshop introducing the power of positive Psychology and personalized parenting. How to make the most of what you have to offer and how to grow your child’s potential and passions.

For educators – a 7 module workshop introducing a strengths approach in the classroom. How to give your most and identify the best in students. We focus on growing the good first, rather than fixing what is wrong first.

Train the educators – this is a training for educators to become trainers of the youth program. An introduction to inquiry based teaching and learning.

We also offer personalized coaching for parents.

To learn more about Power On



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Sara Shadravan is known for her enthusiasm and her love of learning. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of Power On.  Power On is a youth empowerment non-profit organization helping youth, parents and educators to discover their intrinsic value as human beings by providing meaningful educational and coaching experiences. She has a background in Montessori education and has worked for the past 25 years, as a teacher, curriculum developer and educational leader to transform school communities. She has worked extensively in South East Asia, the Middle East and Southern Africa, opening International schools that foster independence and open-minded inquiry.  Sara advocates for a holistic approach to education in which parents, teachers and students are equal stakeholders in the learning process. She has led parent-teacher associations, hosted community events and run extracurricular learning experiences for students and parents. She worked with the IBO to provide training to local teachers in Cambodian schools and partnered with the Ministry of Education in Swaziland to improve local preschools. Sara returned to the USA two years ago and is delighted to leverage her extensive expertise to assist youth, educators and parents to identify their personal qualities and passions. She holds multiple teaching credentials and is a certified coach from the Institute for Social & Emotional Intelligence.  As Director of Power On, she hosted youth retreats and worked with the Charter School Grace Hopper Stem Academy to pilot the strength- based inquiry program that facilitates growth in Social Emotional Intelligence. Sara has three grown daughters and two grandchildren.

YouHue: Know Your Students


KDSL Global recently had an opportunity to connect with Ammar Khan, Co-Founder & CEO of YouHueThis is a classroom app that uses mood tracking to empower students to understand their emotions so they can better manage and communicate them. Data from YouHue gives teachers insight that can be used to support student learning, identify and address issues, and build more meaningful relationships.


Tell us about YouHue and the connection to social-emotional learning.

YouHue makes social-emotional learning not only easy but fun and rewarding for every classroom. There are five core SEL competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. YouHue is a tool that guides students to practice these core competencies in how they communicate with their teacher and other adults at the school, leading to real-world impact in the classroom right off the bat.

On YouHue, students are guided to select an emotion, then reflect on and write about why they feel that emotion at that moment. Students then send that “mood log” to their teacher. Through this research-based exercise, they practice identifying their emotions (self-awareness), coping with their emotions (self-management), reflecting on situations (responsible decision-making) and communicating their emotions effectively and confidently (relationship skills). Practicing checking in with their own emotions also deepens their understanding of the ways other people experience emotions (social awareness).

Pausing, reflecting, and then articulating how we feel helps us connect with and become more honest with ourselves. Then, we can do that with others. This helps us live the life we want to, relate and collaborate with others in ways that are fulfilling and honest, and even ask for help when we need it. All of this empowers us to feel ownership and autonomy.

When we recognize our ability to manage our own emotions, we recognize our ability to choose our lives and how we want to react and interact with the world around us. It’s then not up to other people to save us by reading our minds and then giving us what we need. Asking for help, for acknowledgment, for love, for affirmation, is how we get what we need. This type of giving and receiving is what makes us feel like connected, supported members of a community which is the basis of much of psychological wellness and thriving.

We chose the student-teacher relationship to base this practice because it offers not only an opportunity for students to strengthen their skills but also for communication between students and teachers to be increased and their relationships strengthened. Increased communication means teachers better understand their students and what they need to thrive. Strengthened student-teacher relationships are proven to increase students’ engagement in academics and their feeling of being part of their school community. This improves both mental wellness and academic performance. All of us have a tough time knowing when, how, and to whom we can open up and express ourselves. For kids, it’s particularly difficult. But, it’s really important that kids communicate… especially with the adults who are trying to help them succeed at school.


What are some ways YouHue is being implemented in classrooms?

YouHue is used in classrooms with students aged five through twenty-two. Each educator receives a YouHue Toolkit to help them introduce YouHue to their students. It is filled with background about the value of mood logging and gives teachers useful emotion terminology, plus tips for introducing YouHue to students so they feel good about using it. Then, most of our classrooms try to log on a daily basis. Usually, students share how they feel as they arrive at school in the morning. Besides that, teachers often invite their students to share at times that are uniquely meaningful in their classroom. For example, they might ask their students how they feel before or after a quiz, when an important event at school, or when current events impact their lives.

Once students start logging on YouHue, educators can access their YouHue Insights Dashboard where they can see a report on trends and key topics about which their students are logging. For example, insight into what made them confused this week or what got them really excited. Teachers also receive real-time email alerts if a student logs about a topic that indicates a mental health or learning issue–for example, if a student uses a word like “bully” in a log. That empowers teachers to help that student right when they need it.

As classrooms use the program, our team is always here to support them by providing more information or guidance about how to use YouHue with students. We’re always just an email or call away.

Schools learn more about their students and are able to keep up with what is impacting their behavior and learning, as well as what makes them who they are as people. Educators see their students’ communication and self-regulation skills flourish as they grow healthy habits of self-expression. And, together they build strong and meaningful relationships that lead to learning and growth.

Each of us experiences every type of emotion at some point. When the people who care about us understand how we feel we can work together to do amazing things. It all starts with, “How are you?”


How does the YouHue team envision the future of education?

We are preparing the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, family members, and teammates to be their best possible selves–to be confident and curious, kind and loving, thoughtful and in touch with their personal values. A YouHue student of the future is one who knows herself well enough to navigate setbacks, be authentic, rely on her community, and ask for help–all skills that lead a person to live a meaningful and fulfilling life in the 21st Century.

All of this is contingent on young people growing up and learning in an environment where they feel securely connected to their community and where their social-emotional skills are fostered. Educators all across the world have been recognizing the importance of fostering growth in young people in more than just academics. There is a loud and strengthening cry for tools that expand the abilities of educators to support their students in this way. Parallel to that outcry is the demand for learning environments that facilitate positive student-teacher relationships.

Attachment theory states that a strong emotional attachment to a primary caregiver is critical to personal development. A child with a healthy sense of attachment to caring adults in her life will feel the confidence to go out and explore the world knowing that when she tries things and fails, she has a support system. She also has a model for a healthy collaboration that will determine how she will interact with others throughout her life. We are providing educators with tools that will enable their relationship with their students to be one of those empowering relationships.

Psychological science has a robust knowledge of how to help young people develop emotional health, but the problem exists in making that knowledge applicable to the real world–in real schools and homes. That is what we are doing with YouHue. By giving educators and parents tools that provide effective emotional education and ways to practice life skills, we bring that knowledge to classrooms and families. YouHue, as you see it today, is just the beginning. It is the core exercise from which we will expand into additional exercises, resources, and education content that enable schools to provide truly rich guidance and support toward emotional wellness and mental thriving.

As a technology, we don’t seek to replace and exclude adults from the child’s emotional development. We seek to empower them with the right resources at the right time that will equip them with skills that universalize the standard of support students receive in their emotional education.

What we have been experimenting with over the past few years is offering social-emotional education resources (lesson plans and exercises) that up-skill the adults who work with children. These adults have often not received formalized emotional education themselves, and so skill levels vary significantly which has a huge impact on their abilities and confidence in supporting the emotional education and wellbeing of their students. By giving them resources that feel easy-to-use, effective, and engaging we up-skill in a way that not only gives our teachers confidence, increases their ability to educate their students, but also even improves their emotional skills over time.

In this, we not only improve the mental wellness of young people but also adults! Making the kind of impact in education that our society needs on a global scale will take all of us. Our vision of the future of education is one in which we work together as a community and a society, empowered by healthy technology, to elevate well being, engage learning, and ready human beings to move toward a brighter future. It all starts by changing our relationship with the world within ourselves. YouHue seeks a future in which education is synonymous with science, reading, and emotional thriving. We are working to empower educators to provide that type of education to their students, so their students are empowered in turn to make healthy and impactful connections with the world around them.


Here’s where you can learn more about YouHue websiteTwitter and Instagram. To join the free pilot program email ammar@youhue.com.



About Ammar Khan

Ammar Khan is an education and health tech entrepreneur who is the co-founder of YouHue, a mood tracking app that helps students communicate more meaningfully with their teachers while developing core social-emotional skills that improve their wellness and outcomes in classrooms.