PHOTO OF LORI DESAUTELSDr. Lori Desautels has been an Assistant Professor at Butler University since 2016 where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Education.  Lori was also an Assistant Professor at Marian University in Indianapolis for eight years where she founded the Educational Neuroscience Symposium.  Currently, the Symposium is in its eighth year, and now sponsored by Butler University College of Education.  Through these conferences and symposiums, educators, parents, and the community learn to implement the tools to help our students be successful and feel a sense of purpose and connection as they walk into their classrooms.  Because of her work, Lori has been able to attract the foremost experts in the fields of educational neuroscience, trauma and adversity, which significantly grow the conference each year. 

Lori has created a nine-hour graduate certification at Butler University in Applied Educational Neuroscience/Brain and Trauma.  This certification has grown from 6 graduates in its pilot year in 2016 to 70 graduate students in its third cohort.  The certification is open to students around the world as it has transformed into a distance learning, hybrid format.  The Applied Educational Neuroscience Certificate, created by Lori in 2016, is specifically designed to meet the needs of educators, counselors, and administrators who work beside children and adolescents who have, and are, experiencing adversity and trauma. 

Lori’s passion is engaging students through the application of neuroscience as it applies to attachment, regulation, and educator brain state, and teaching students and staff about their neuroanatomy, thus integrating Mind Brain Teaching learning principles and strategies into her coursework at Butler.  Lori has conducted brain institutes and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, and Dubai on Mind Brain Teaching and Learning.  She has created webinars for educators, clinicians, and administrators illustrating how educators and students alike must understand their neuroanatomy to regulate behavior and calm the brain. 

Lori is co-author of the social and emotional competencies for the State of Indiana published in January 2018.  She also has authored a series of articles for “Inside the School,” an online publication providing strategies to administrators and educators alike.  Lori’s articles are published in Edutopia, Brain Bulletin, and Mind Body Spirit international magazine.  She also was published in the Brain Research Journal for her work in the fifth-grade classrooms during a course release partnering with the Washington Township Schools in Indiana.  Lori continues her work in the Pre-K classrooms and is currently co-teaching in fifth grade and working with St. Mary’s Early Childhood Center in Indianapolis for the second consecutive year.  Lori has met with hundreds of school districts across the country, equating to more than 60,000 educators, with much more work to be done! 

Lori taught emotionally troubled students in the upper elementary grades, worked as a school counselor in Indianapolis, was a private practice counselor and was co-owner of the Indianapolis Counseling Center.  Lori was also a behavioral consultant for Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on the adolescent psychiatric unit where she learned that emotional and mental illness can be so challenging for youth, but the brain can repair and heal, and resilience rests at the core of human nature and our well-being. 

You can find Lori’s work, presentation videos, and latest research here throughout this website,  Her first book, “How May I Serve You, Revelations in Education,” was published in March of 2012.  Her second book, co-authored with educator Michael McKnight, entitled “Unwritten, The Story of a Living System,” has been shared and used as a foundation to create curriculum across the country.  Lori’s third book, “Eyes Are Never Quiet,” was published in January of 2018, and a new book, “Rewiring Our Perception of Discipline,” will be coming in January of 2021. 

Lori graduated with a BS in Special Education from Butler University, an MS in Counseling Education from Indiana University, and earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy with an emphasis in early adolescence/thought formation from Indiana University and American Institute of Holistic Theology. 

Lori resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband, Michael.  She has three grown children, Andrew, Sarah, and Regan, and four rescue fur babies. 

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    “We are feeling creatures who think.” Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

    As I reflect upon and intentionally consolidate the work I am doing in our schools with students and teachers, I wanted to describe and define this and how I am integrating Educational Neuroscience principles and strategies into our classrooms and schools.

    1. The educators and students are learning collectively about their own neuro-anatomy and how their feelings, thoughts and behaviors are intimately connected to the mind and hearts. This is becoming aware of Emotional, Social and Cognitive Health and well-being. When we spend some time, understanding that our brains are not machines; they are not outside of us working on automatic, we feel the empowerment and control. It is a social organ that affects and directs every experience in our days, empowering us and the emotional academic and social outcomes of every experience and relationship. We are no longer the victims of our feelings and thought processes which can lead to strong accountability!
    2. Students are exploring how they learn, how stress occurs in their brains, and how their emotions and thoughts affect every moment in their day. They are given specific strategies to help lessen the stress response, emotionally regulate, while learning to empathize with other people. Focused Attention Practices are a critical and very well received strategy as we train and mentor the mind for attention and relaxation.
    3. Students and teachers are given principles and strategies to assist with creating meaning and relevance to the content and subjects taught. They are learning how memory is processed in the brain, and how best to engage with the content for sustainable learning. The principles and strategies include: neuroplasticity, the development of executive functions, (sustained attention, emotional regulation, planning, organizing, flexibility, goal -setting and metacognition strategies,) and how to implement and weave emotion into new standards and topics drawing upon the strengths of every student profile.
    4. We are implementing metaphors, visualization, analogies, associations, emotions, story chunking and imagery creating brain states of anticipation, curiosity, novelty, prediction, as we prepare; priming the brain for learning, lower stress, and improved engagement.
    5. Teacher Brain Development- The most significant aspect of this Professional Development is the attention and care of the educator’s brain and heart. If teachers and administrators are to be transformative effective leaders and role models in the educational community, they need to employ the knowledge of brain engagement, brain health, the power of emotional contagion and how modeling is most effective knowing the roles of mirror neurons. Educators must tap into their triggers, personal stories and culture to deeply understand how conflict cycles are born and lessened through personal perceptions. Self-reflection separates effective and superior teachers and administrators and these educational neuroscience principles and strategies engineer these sustainable social and emotional skills. We are collectively embracing the effects of a brain that has experienced chronic ambient trauma and how this impacts all aspects of connection.

    Dr. Lori Desautels

    Assistant Professor College of Education at Butler University