We are super excited to announce that our Founder, Dana Kerford, has been named as one of The Most Influential Educators 2023 by The Educator.

The award represents leaders and trailblazers who are making significant contributions or innovations within the field of education in Australia. Dana created a first-of-its-kind friendship skills curriculum, Friendology, that’s used in schools across Australia and globally. She is honoured to be a recipient of this very special award and would like to acknowledge the educators at URSTRONG Schools around the world who are bringing Friendology to life in their classrooms every day.

Congratulations to the other recipients of this award, especially those educators from URSTRONG Schools who have made this prestigious list. We are so proud to be part of a global movement towards social-emotional wellbeing education in schools.

Dana Kerford is a Teacher, Friendship Expert, and the Founder of URSTRONG

After starting her career as a 4th grade teacher in Canada, Dana began to recognize the complexity and intensity of childhood friendships. Motivated to create cultures of kindness in schools, Dana launched a first-of-its-kind friendship curriculum, Friendology 101, in 2009. Since then, URSTRONG’s whole-school friendship strategy has improved the social climate in schools globally, connecting over 1 million kids, parents, & teachers with a common language of friendship.

URSTRONG’s ground-breaking approach in empowering kids with friendship skills, led to Dana & Michael’s (CEO) participation in an exclusive conference on gender equality at The White House in Washington, DC in 2016. Dana was named one of Australia’s Most Influential Educators and was selected to present URSTRONG’s global impact at the coveted International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) World Congress in 2023.

Dana is the author of The Friendship Project, a workbook for tween girls and parents published in 2012, and has presented at education conferences across North America, Australia, & Asia. She is also SnapChat’s Friendship Expert in Australia, as a key contributor to their Global Friendship Reports.

As the go-to expert on childhood friendships in Australia and worldwide, Dana is regularly interviewed by media to provide advice and quotes. In the USA, this includes the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, and Livestrong. In Australia, this includes the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, Sunrise, Today Show, Harper’s Bazaar, among others.

Dana is Mom to Reggie & Ruby, a true Teacher-At-Heart, and is passionate about empowering children with the skills, language, and self-confidence to develop healthier relationships.