Arizona State University and Valle Del Sol are partnering with K-12 teachers to cultivate an effective classroom environment for children and youth across Arizona. Join our learning community of teachers, counselors, and social workers to develop a set of skills to help develop our young people.

Taking a Trauma-Informed Approach

Remaining Mindful

Managing Your Classroom

Activating Resilience

About Us

Cynthia A. Lietz, PhD, LCSW is Vice Dean of Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and a Professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. Cynthia conducts research that informs strengths-based practice with youth and their families. Specifically, she examines the process of coping and adaptation for young people who have experienced trauma, loss and other challenges. This includes identifying the strengths (e.g. empathy, social support, humor, spirituality) and the adaptation process that help children and families overcome adversity.Cynthia’s research can be helpful as teachers seek to activate the process of resilience for their students.

As a mother of two young men who were educated in Arizona’s K-12 system, Cynthia knows firsthand how important teachers are. She remembers just how important each and every teacher was in encouraging and caring for her children and all of the young people in this community. Cynthia is proud to be a part of this project because she knows just how much you matter in the lives of children and youth in Arizona!

Prior to coming to ASU, Cynthia worked as a social worker for over ten years working with families involved in the child welfare system. She was a clinical supervisor, field instructor, and later the clinical coordinator of a counseling program. She is known for her passion to advance opportunities for children and young people through research, through her role as an educator, and public speaker. Cynthia is excited to partner with the teachers educating children across Arizona by advancing a resiliency, trauma-informed approach to K-12 education.

Caitlin Gizler, MAS, LMFT is an independently Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is currently the Director of Integrated School Based Services at Valle del Sol. Cailtin has been a practicing therapist since 2010, and has worked with Valle, a leading community health center in the Valley, for the past 8 years. As the Director of Integrated School Based Services, Caitlin’s role is to support the development and implementation of trauma informed, accessible, wrap-around health services to children, their families, and educators in the school setting. Caitlin also engages with teachers, admin, and school staff in professional and leadership development workshops related to trauma sensitive practices for students and for self. Caitlin believes that all people deserve the right to feel safe and empowered, both within their communities and within their own ability to care for themselves. Her passion for helping others feel accepted and capable has become a cornerstone value in the Valle’s school based clinical team that services over 35 schools across the Valley.

Caitlin believes that all people deserve the right to feel safe and empowered, both within their communities and within their own ability to care for themselves. Before working in the healthcare setting, Caitlin volunteered and worked for agencies focused on improving the safety and empowerment of homeless individuals and families across the central Arizona since the age of 12. Her passion for helping others feel accepted and capable has become a cornerstone value in Valle del Sol’s school based clinical team that services over 35 schools across the Valley.

Osha Sempel is a Program Coordinator at Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, focused on providing resiliency-based services to several local schools in collaboration and coordination with Valle Del Sol. Osha has worked with teachers throughout her career as a clinical social worker. She has observed teachers going above and beyond, day after day to help their students grow and finds motivation in her own field from watching the hard work of teachers. She is especially inspired by educators who dedicate their lives to working with the children who are labeled difficult. Her passion for the work happening in schools across the country drives her to be apart of this project.

Osha comes to ASU with breadth and depth of experience having worked in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans and the Caribbean. Her time as a social worker has focused on working with children impacted by trauma. While a practicing clinical social worker in New Orleans, Osha worked alongside teachers and administrators to design and built trauma-informed programming and strategies for students and families in public schools. She has specialized experience and training helping individuals and families through trauma, grief, loss. Additionally, her career has included working with adult survivors of sexual trauma and their families as well as community organizing and non-profit program development while creating and providing HIV/AIDS prevention within and outside the mainland.

Osha is passionate about resiliency-focused practices when addressing communities, trauma, disaster mental health, and school-based services.

Jamie Valderrama is a Lecturer and Undergraduate Coordinator at Arizona State University for the Integrative Health Initiative housed in the School of Social Work within the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Jamie is passionate about providing tools for responsive living via mindful practices and highlights the importance of understanding the physiological effect of stress in driving reactive behaviors.

Jamie’s true passion lies in the transfer of knowledge and sharing mindfulness and self-care techniques with educators. Jamie taught biology, zoology, anatomy/physiology and student leadership (funology...ha ha) for twelve years as a high school teacher in Arizona and was named Teacher of The Year for her high school and district in 2009 and went on to be an Ambassador of Excellence for the State in 2010. Jamie holds a B.A. in Biology Education and an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Integrative Health Modalities. Jamie continues her passion of education by developing curriculum and teaching both undergraduate and graduate stress management courses as well as overseeing over 40 sections of stress management classes serving 2500+ undergraduate students each semester. Jamie uses her extensive background in education to successfully integrate mindfulness within the IHI courses as well as help both the community and ASU faculty integrate it into their coursework.

In addition to teaching and training, Jamie conducts keynotes and workshops nationally and internationally on the personal and professional benefits of mindfulness and will tell you that her work with teachers is what she is most proud of.