Yorel Lashley is the Director of Arts in the Office of Professional Learning and Community Education at UW–Madison’s School of Education. He is a developmental psychologist interested in self-efficacy and social-emotional learning in arts, academic and integrated environments as well as the Founder/Director of Drum Power. Drum Power uses learning West African Traditional, Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban percussion to help young people develop and practice social-emotional skills—discipline, community and leadership. The program has supported more than 3,800 young people from New York City, Denver and Madison, Wisconsin to date. Lashley, who also provides professional development, created the Relationships First framework for building and maintaining healthy classroom culture, fully integrating academic content with social-emotional learning.
“My goal is to teach like I parent–with love and connection, but also parent like I teach with development as the ultimate goal realizing that we all need love and limits, freedom and structure. Teachers should be strong grounded guides and caregivers on that journey.”