Team - Teaching Empathy Institute
Teaching Empathy Institute works to establish emotionally and physically safe learning communities for elementary, middle and high school students and the adults who work with them. Working in the Hudson Valley of New York, TEI creates tailor-made programs designed to foster dialogue about social culture building while strengthening the capacity for the infusion of empathy and compassion into all aspects of the learning experience.
Teaching Empathy Institute, SEL, Social and emotional learning, mindfulness, diversity, education, bullying, anti-bullying, k-12, learning, david levine, school of belonging
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Meet our Team

David Levine


David is an educator, writer, musician, and a nonprofit leader with more than 30 years of experience working in a multitude of educational settings, as a teacher, facilitator and systems change specialist. Between 2014 and 2016, he worked for Turnaround for Children in New York City, as a designer and coach. Turnaround works with high-poverty schools in NYC, Newark, NJ, and Washington, DC, facilitating learning environments that meet the physical and emotional needs of all students. David also worked for four years as the chief trainer and facilitator for The Northeast Regional Center’s Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Program, a Department of Education project devoted to creating emotionally safe learning communities.  David has consulted extensively for school districts up and down New York’s Hudson River Valley, including schools in New York City, Poughkeepsie, and the city of Beacon, focusing on creating caring and compassionate school cultures where social and emotional learning and emotional intelligence are foundational practices.

As a musician, songwriter, and producer, David produced a Parent’s Choice Gold Award winning recording of original children’s music for Angel Records, and an award-winning music video documentary, focusing on empathy and social decision making.  Using his songs as learning tools, David designed the Music Dialogue process which inspires both children and adults to look within to make a difference without. As a writer, he wrote four books and numerous journal articles that focus on empathy and emotional intelligence practices, as community building tools.  He earned an MEd in Creative Arts in Learning from Lesley University, in Cambridge, MA, and a BA in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire.

In March, 2016, he founded Teaching Empathy Institute.

Rachel Brown

SEL Educator

Rachel is a mindfulness and SEL educator with a passion for supporting students, families and teachers with the tools to live mindful, engaged and empowered lives. She trained at Bank Street School of Education, and has taught as a special and general education teacher over the last ten years in both public and private schools. During the summer, Rachel assists at the Mindful Education Teacher Training at the Omega Institute, in Rhinebeck, NY.

Rebecca Maher

Rebecca has fifteen years of experience as a teacher, instructional coach, and curriculum developer. In both public and private schools, she specialized in providing direct instruction in social and emotional learning, using literature as a lens through which to explore human relationships and writing as a means of clarifying our thinking and expressing our unique perspectives on the world. Rebecca is a Vassar graduate and an alumna of the New York City Teaching Fellows.

Meg Lewis

Office Manager

Meg brings her extensive background in office administration to support the work of TEI as Office Manager. She comes to TEI from the HR department at University of Pennsylvania and prior to that, worked in several non-profits and companies in the US and abroad. Meg is a certified Professional in Human Resources and received her Masters in Education from Penn with a focus on SEL from a literacy perspective.

TEI’s media production team is made up of three Hudson Valley treasures:

Dean Jones of No Parking Studios, recording engineer, producer, and composer

Sarah Burt of nographica, designer for print & web

Jim Fossett, videographer and director