Nancy MacKay

Nancy MacKay

Senior Program Manager, Open Circle Program

B.A., Elmira College
nmackay@wellesley[dot]edu \ LinkedIn
Link to CV

Leads programming at Open Circle, which equips elementary schools with evidence-based curriculum and training to improve school climate and teach children essential social and emotional skills

Nancy MacKay initially joined Open Circle in 1996 and as a trainer and a coach. She later became training director and served as Open Circle co-director from 2009 to 2017. She has since transitioned to the role of senior program manager. MacKay has been involved in education, training and development for over 30 years as a teacher, trainer and consultant. Along with her Open Circle experience and expertise as an elementary educator, MacKay has designed and implemented courses, workshops and seminars for businesses and nonprofit organizations focusing on the development leadership skills.

Conference Highlights

MacKay, N., May 2016. SEL Asset and Needs Assessment. SEL Alliance for Massachusetts Regional Conference. Bridgewater, MA.

MacKay, N. September 21-22, 2015. Exploring the Intersections of Social and Emotional Learning and Mindful Awareness/Contemplative Practice. One of 24 invited members to a convening of leaders in their respective field to explore teaching strategies and instructional approaches used in the educational fields of social and emotional learning and mindful awareness or contemplative practice. The 1440 Foundation and The Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Chicago, IL.

Porche, M & MacKay, N. April, 2015. Collaboration to Enhance Whole School Social and Emotional Learning for Elementary Students. Roundtable paper presentation, American Education and Research Association (AERA) annual conference, Chicago, IL.

MacKay, N.M. & Biro, N.B. March 8, 2011. Open Circle’s Best Practices for Social and Emotional Learning. Presentation to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

MacKay, N.M. & Dunning, S. April 30, 2009. What’s Emotion Got to Do With It?: Linking Social & Emotional Development with Academic Success. Conference presentation, Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA).

Funding Sources

Recent funding secured for Open Circle includes grants from NoVo Foundation, Templeton Foundation (in partnership with Greater Good Science Center), Partners HealthCare (in partnership with Boston Public Health Commision) and program fees from over 200 schools.

Selected Publications

Porche, M., Grossman, J., Costello, D., Biro, N., MacKay, N., Rivers, S. April 2015. Collaboration to Enhance Whole School Social and Emotional Learning for Elementary Students. American Educational Research Association 2015 Annual Meeting.

Porche, M., Grossman, J., Biro, N., MacKay, N., & Rivers, S. September 4, 2014. Collaboration to Achieve Whole School SEL Across a Large, Urban District. Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Fall 2014 Conference.

Co-authored several Open Circle publications, including the Open Circle Curriculum Grades K-5, Open Circle training manuals and assessment tools, Open Circle quarterly e-newsletters, and several white papers: Helping Children Deal with Traumatic Events, Open Circle and DESSA Alignment, Open and PBIS, Reinforcing SEL Schoolwide, SEL Best Practices.


Member, SEL Alliance for Massachusetts, 2013 to present.

Alumni, LeadBoston, Class of 1993.

Participant, The National SEED Project hosted at the Wellesley Centers for Women, 2015 to present.