Extraordinary Teachers is dedicated to empowering teachers with tools to create greater levels of happiness and purpose within themselves and their classrooms.

My name is Danielle Sullivan and I’m here to support you in bringing happy back in and out of the classroom.  It’s a hard time to be a teacher right now.  Teachers are feeling overwhelmed, under appreciated and disconnected from everything.  Extraordinary Teachers is here for you.

Our goal is to help teachers:

arrow-58-256Become inspired to do the work they love- the work they were meant to do and be the best version of themselves

arrow-58-256Discover their personal power and use that power to be happy in their lives

arrow-58-256Feel like they can affect real change in and out of the classroom

We want to create a community of like-minded educators– the teaching staff you wish you had! Our dream is a world where educators support each other and are unstoppable

I’ve spent my entire life in the field of education. I began on Capitol Hill working on education reform. Then I spent the last 9+ years teaching in a Title I schools. I also spent tons of time co-teaching several summer institutes with the National Writing Project, running professional development workshops, and providing instructional coaching and consulting. When I wasn’t teaching kids, I was talking with teachers about what worked and what didn’t in their classrooms and lives.

For the last 5 years, I’ve also studied the science of happiness. Our programs are deeply rooted in positive psychology, neuroplasticity, and social emotional learning. Our entire approach is scientifically-proven and evidence-based.  Now it’s my greatest joy to offer life coaching for teachers, onsite professional development for school districts, and online programs just for teachers.

I hope you’ll get in touch to schedule a complimentary consultation so we can discuss how we might approach a coaching relationship designed to help you achieve your goals.


Don’t Want To Go Back? Create A Monday Folder!

As teachers, we’rteacher monday foldere given cards or notes from students, parents, and administration thanking us for our hard work or for going that extra mile.  This is especially true around the holidays or at the end of the year.  These kind gestures are somewhat expected and, most often, somewhat overlooked with a simple, “well, that was nice after a hellish year.”

What do we do with these cards, notes, letters, drawings, etc? Typically, mine landed in a pile, stacked amongst binders and notebooks from the year. I might find them a few months later, read through a few, and at best, they’d continue to live amongst binders; at worst, they’d be thrown away. A few really good ones might make it home and into a memory bin store in the

teacher monday folderLet me introduce you to the “Monday Folder.” The Monday Folder is a folder or binder that stores meaningful cards and letter from students, parents, and administration. Why? Because when you don’t feel like going back on Monday, you’re reminded of the real value of your work and the power that you have within your classroom.

Two weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from my 8th grade teacher. He said that he was looking in his basement for a painting he had done, and he came upon a letter that I had written to hi the day after graduation. To my teacher I wrote, “You can’t even begin to imagine all the days you helped my life become easier.” It continued, “Thank you. I know that those two words, thank you, seem so short for all I’m trying to say, but there isn’t enough time to tell you all the reasons why I want to say it.” The letter was an entire page long filled with emotion (her, I was a teenage girl!), love, and gratitude for all my teacher had done for me.

The letter was important enough for him to keep for twenty years, but it doesn’t hand much power in the basement!

For all the teachers out there, here is my challenge to you:

I challenge you to create your very own Monday Folder. Open the bins or photo boxes housing your cards and notes from students, parents, co-workers, and administration. Then organize them into a folder or binder, so that you can see them WHENEVER you want – a frustrating Thursday, Sunday afternoon, or the dreaded Monday morning. Whenever you want a dose of appreciate or a reminder of all the good you’re doing, your Monday Folder is there for you.

If you’re a new teacher, create an 8×11 vision board with symbols and words depicting the type of teacher you want to be. This way it can be slid into the front of any binder and you can see it all day long. And get in the habit now of saving all of the touching cards and notes you’ll get throughout your career.

Teachers, if for no other reason, consider this: your Monday Folder highlights the best of you. If you get a nasty parent complaining about you to a new principal or administrator and you feel your reputation is on the line, you can walk into the office, put your Monday Folder on their desk and show them the real teacher you are.

We want to hear from you! Do you have a Monday Folder? How accessible is it or how often do you look at it? Thanks for reading and we can’t wait to hear from you!


Don’t Want To Go Back? Create A Monday Folder!

As teachers, we’re given cards or notes from students, parents, and administration thanking us for our hard work or for going that extra mile.  This is especially true around the holidays or at the end of the year.  These kind gestures are somewhat expected and, most often, somewhat overlooked with a simple, “well, that was nice after a hellish year.” What do we do with these cards, notes, letters, drawings, etc? Typically, mine landed in a pile, stacked amongst binders and notebooks from the year. I might find them a few months later, read through a few, and at best, they’d continue to live amongst binders; at worst, they’d be thrown away. A few really good ones might make it home and into a memory bin store in the Let me introduce you to the “Monday Folder.” The Monday Folder is a folder or binder that stores meaningful cards and letter from students, parents, and administration. Why? Because when you don’t feel like going back on Monday, you’re reminded of the real value of your work and the power that you have within your classroom. Two weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from my 8th grade teacher. He said that he was looking in his basement for a painting he had done, and he came upon a letter that I had written to hi the day after graduation. To my teacher I wrote, “You can’t even begin to imagine all the days you helped my life become easier.” It continued, “Thank you. I know that those two words, thank you, seem so short for all I’m trying to say,...

Cure for a Bad Day

Cure for a Bad Day “I could either continue to be frustrated and unproductive or I could make a different decision.” #extraordinaryteachers Let’s face it, we all suffer from bad days or frustrating moments. As a teacher, it is super easy to let a bad moment or a bad lesson permeate the entire day. Of course this is true for all professions; however, as a teacher our day is super fast paced (no time for recovery or perspective) and often times negativity breeds negativity (ie: the Spanish teacher had a tough day, complained about it in the lounge, and now you feel drained too). When we are sucked into a bad day, we are robbed of all the joy the current moment can bring. I’m a huge proponent of “feeling what you have to feel,” but then move on. So if a pen explodes during your observation or if someone cuts you off while driving – feel frustrated, embarrassed, annoyed, angry – those things are awful, and then choose to MOVE ON. Notice that you have a choice. You have a choice to continue feeling crappy or a choice to move on and bring happy back. In this video, I breakdown the cure for a bad day. If you are a frustrated and overwhelmed teacher and want to find more happiness in and out of your classroom, sign up to receive my weekly video blogs...

Become The Happiest Teacher You Know In 3 Easy Steps

Become The Happiest Teacher You Know In 3 Easy Steps In our recent survey of 300+ teachers, we heard the following challenges again and again: “There’s not enough time!” “I’m overwhelmed!” “I feel unsupported!” Can you relate? I sure can! As a special education teacher for 9 years, I’ve had my fair share of tears, breakdowns and margaritas trying to cope with the stress of the job. Stressors including trying to plan and cope with IEP meetings, implementing the common core, behavioral management plans, all before breakfast. Truth be told, years ago I almost left teaching altogether. But I stuck it out and now I’m super happy, calm and fulfilled. So what changed? I learned tools to: Increase my happiness Identify my needs and how to communicate them with others Manage my time efficiently Set healthy boundaries with others (especially with people at work) Find joy (not stress) in trying times Foster supportive relationships And, most importantly… I learned and accepted the truth that I am the only person responsible for my happiness! Despite all the curriculum changes, evaluations, and people-pleasing…at the end of the day, your well-being trumps it all. And yet, how often do we focus on our own well-being? You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to focus on me!” I hear you! That’s why I’m sharing a 3 minute (yes, only 3 minutes!) strategy to incorporate in your busy day. Here’s the… 3 Minute Life-Changing, Happiness-Increasing Strategy: 1. Time It: Grab your phone and set a timer for 2 minutes. Easy enough, right? 2. Write It: Pick an area of your life and take 2 minutes to answer this question: To make BLANK (how...

Keep Hope Alive

Keep Hope Alive This week I had the opportunity to talk to a bunch of teachers from all over the country. Some had gone back to school mid-August and others just last week. When talking to teachers about how they’re managing their school year so far, the overwhelming response was, “exhausted, but hopeful.” School just started, and many teachers are already feeling overworked, overtired and exhausted. The more we feel this way, the more hope and promise diminish. I’m left wondering: How do we manage our workloads and exhaustion? And… How do we keep hope alive? When I hear about “managing workloads and exhaustion,” I almost want to cry! What this makes me think of is “another thing I have to do” or “another thing I have to fix.” If you feel the same way, I get it! Our list of action items include: lesson plans, student issues, parent needs, administrative requests, grading, assessments, politics, curriculum, bureaucracy, CCLS, APPRs, IEPs… —> it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting AND it’s also our profession, our love, or at the very least, our income. The only person to change this is us, so we have got to take control and the very first step is… Taking control of our thoughts. If we keep saying “it’s exhausting,” guess what, it will be! When we say something is exhausting, there’s no where to go from there. But if we say that something is challenging, we can choose to be up for the challenge (or not!). Do you see where I’m going here? Language is critical to how we perceive life. When we choose empowering language, we have room to...

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