Webinar with Search Institute to explore new national poll on parent perceptions of youth-teacher relationships

NCFL is excited to welcome Search Institute to co-host a webinar for our network on Thursday, March 30 at 3 p.m. ET.

How do parents view the educator/student relationship? What do they consider to be gaps in strengthening relationships with their children’s teachers? This webinar will discuss the recent findings of a national poll conducted by Search Institute that shares new insights around parents’ perceptions of the role of relationships between young people and their teachers. The presentation will also discuss how schools and other youth-serving organizations can reframe family engagement and offer strategies to strengthen relationships with families.

Register today!


Benjamin Houltberg, Ph.D., LMFT
President and CEO
Search Institute

Dr. Ben Houltberg is a developmental scientist, former tenured faculty member, social entrepreneur, and experienced marriage and family therapist. He is widely published on topics such as adolescent social and emotional competencies, resilience through relationships, and character and identity development through sports. He has successfully led large research teams, consulted with several high-performance organizations to create thriving cultures, and developed tools and resources aimed at promoting resilience through relationships.

In his work as a licensed counselor, Ben has worked extensively with youth living in socioeconomic disadvantage. He has served as a family support specialist, adolescent group counselor, vocational counselor and therapist, and practicum and internship clinical supervisor. He has held academic positions at Purdue University–Fort Wayne, Fuller School of Psychology, and the University of Southern California. Ben is also a former NCAA Division I athlete and ran professionally after college. He holds a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Oklahoma State University and an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling from Oral Roberts University.

Kara Hirano, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Search Institute

As a Research Scientist at Search Institute, Kara conducts applied mixed methods research, translates research to practical applications, and secures grant funding for projects. She holds a Ph.D in Special Education and M.Ed in Couples and Family Therapy from the University of Oregon and has expertise in promoting positive youth development by helping systems improve relationships between youth and their families. She is a former faculty member at Illinois State University in the Department of Special Education where she focused on the transition from high school to postsecondary education and employment. She also has experience working as a therapist for youth in foster care and the juvenile justice system. Kara is focused on building strong relationships within families, as well as between families and youth-serving organizations. She appreciates Search Institute’s focus on relational context and equity as well as the organization’s approach to ensuring all who interact with young people understand their role in promoting positive youth development.

Toni Mallett, M.Ed.
Director, Family Engagement
National Center for Families Learning

Toni Mallett is a graduate of the University of Arizona Global Campus of San Diego, CA, with a Master of Arts in Education specializing in Family and Community Services. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Social Work, from Western Michigan University (WMU) of Kalamazoo, MI. While attending WMU, Toni was an active member of the university’s student organization, You Beautiful Black Woman (YBBW). 

She is a community and social services professional with collective experiences in education and family & community services. Her vocation is to empower families to become change agents in their child’s life, home, and community. In addition, Toni is President of the Board for Meaning in Colors of Grand Rapids, MI. Meaning in Colors serves individuals and families experiencing homelessness.