Supporting Students by Maintaining Professional Well-Being in High-Stress Jobs

  • Melanie B. Blinder
  • Brandis M. Ansley Georgia State University
  • Kris Varjas Georgia State University
  • Gwendolyn T. Benson Georgia State University
  • Susan L. Ogletree Georgia State University
Keywords: well-being, teacher wellness, professional development, teacher


Student mental health, well-being, engagement, and deep learning is tied to teacher wellness. Georgia State University’s Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management in partnership with The Collaboration and Resources for Encouraging and Supporting Transformations in Education project approached student health, wellness, and achievement by promoting change within teachers. Culturally specific professional development workshops were delivered to teachers, administrators, and other school staff. The workshops positively affected participants’ health and wellbeing through activities focused on identifying the body’s stress response and the development of personalized stress management plans to support healthy lifestyles.

Author Biographies

Melanie B. Blinder

Melanie B. Blinder was a public school teacher for 10 years in an elementary setting before she left the classroom to pursue advanced studies in School Psychology. Ms. Blinder is passionate about the art of teaching, fostering engaging and challenging learning environments, and building student-teacher relationships. Currently, Ms. Blinder helps facilitates professional development workshops on these topics.

Brandis M. Ansley, Georgia State University

Brandis M. Ansley is a U.S. DOE Office of Special Education (OSEP) doctoral fellow in her fourth year at Georgia State University. Her combined professional experiences include more than 15 years as a special educator and mental health practitioner. She is the primary author of a research-to-practice paper published in TEACHING Exceptional Children in March 2016 that details ways special educators can design and implement their own stress management plans.

Kris Varjas, Georgia State University

Kris Varjas is a Professor in School Psychology and the director of The Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management at Georgia State University. Dr. Varjas' primary areas of interest include a wide variety of issues: bullying, school safety and school climate, and mental health prevention and intervention.

Gwendolyn T. Benson, Georgia State University

Gwendolyn Benson is the Associate Dean for school, community and international partnerships in the College of Education & Human Development at GSU. She currently serves as the principal investigator for the Network for Enhancing Teacher Quality (NET-Q), a collection of projects funded by a $13.5 million Teacher Quality Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education designed to prepare teachers for the demands of teaching high-need subjects in high-need schools. She also works to sustain the CEHD’s professional development school network, facilitates international outreach and partnerships, and works closely with the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence. Susan

Susan L. Ogletree, Georgia State University

Susan Ogletree is the Director of the Center for Evaluation and Research in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University. In her job as Director, her office is responsible for overseeing $17,000,000 in external funding for national and international programs. She also works with faculty to identify potential partners for both national and international grant initiatives.

How to Cite
Blinder, M. B., Ansley, B. M., Varjas, K., Benson, G. T., & Ogletree, S. L. (2018). Supporting Students by Maintaining Professional Well-Being in High-Stress Jobs. LEARNing Landscapes, 10(2), 59-72.