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Mathew Portell, M.Ed

" In this work [trauma-informed], we must lead in love and justice."

-Ingrid Cockhren

Specialty Areas:  Keynote Speaking, Facilitating Professional Learning, Coaching, Conference Development, Podcasting

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I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.

(615) 972-7205

My Story

It has been a journey! As an educator, administrator, podcaster, writer, and international speaker, I have utilized my experience as an educator, administrator, and international speaker to impact education globally as an innovator and pioneer of trauma-informed education.  In my tenure as the principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary in Nashville, TN, we utilized the most current neuroscience to transform the school into an international model school for trauma-informed practices.  My interest in trauma-informed education led me to start the Trauma Informed Educators Network, a global network of over 31,000 practitioners, which I support with a weekly podcast and yearly conference.  Mathew’s passion and experience have made him a globally sought-after keynote speaker and facilitator.  He is currently the Director of Education and Outreach at PACEs Connection; Portell supports cross-sector community collaboration to inform and support the development of resilient and trauma-informed communities.  Portell has received several recognitions for his work, but the most notable was the Elementary Principal of the Year in 2021 for Metro Nashville Public Schools, which serves nearly 90,000 students.   He is a proud graduate of Tennessee State University, where he received his B.A. and M. Ed.  He completed his administrative licensure at Trevecca University and his trauma and resilience certifications one and two from Florida State University.

Portell is excited to be the lead author of a book being published by Harvard Education Press in the fall of 2024!  The book is focused on the impact and strategies to mitigate trauma and stress in schools.  

Keynote Speaking Engagements


  • Leader in Me Symposium, Washington D.C.

  • Queensland Australia Department of Education (Virtual)

  • Hope Spoke (Virtual)

  • ShoutOut Conference, Tennessee

  • Project Aware Conference, West Virginia

  • Trauma-Informed Education Summit, Indiana

  • 2nd Project Aware Conference, West Virginia

  • Daviess County Mental Health Summit, Kentucky

  • Metro Nashville Public Schools Social Services Kick-Off, Tennessee



  • Community Resilience Symposium,  Utah

  • Leader in Me Symposium, Missouri

  • Butler University Educational Neuroscience Symposium, Indiana

  • Attachment and Trauma Network Conference, Texas

  • University of Kentucky Department of Trauma and Children Conference, Kentucky

  • Upper Cumberland Literacy Association Conference, Tennessee

  • Trauma Informed Educators Network Conference, Tennessee

  • Wayne Regional Educational Services Conference, Michigan

  • New Zealand Speaking Tour **

    • Auckland, NZ

    • Rotorua, NZ

    • Palmerston North, NZ

    • Christchurch, NZ

  • Trauma Aware School Conference, Brisbane, Australia **

  • Australia's Board of Education, Brisbane, Australia **

  • Chester County Intermediate School Kick-Off, Pennsylvania

  • ESSDACK Resiliency Conference, Kansas



  • Alabama Association of School Board Members

  • Partners In Education Conference - Tennessee (virtual)

  • University of Belize - Mitigating the Impacts of COVID **

  • Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents

  • United Way of Southwest Virginia

  • Tullahoma City Schools 2021-2022 all district kick-off, TN

  • Norton City Schools 2021-2022 all district kick-off, VA

  • Global Resilience Accelerator, International Participation **



  • Leader in Me Symposium - Louisville, KY

  • Leader in Me Symposium - San Antonio, TX

  • ESSDACK: Resilience Now Virtual Conference - Hutchinson, KS (virtual)

  • National Education Foundation Teacher of the Year Gala - Washington D.C.

  • **Educators Conference  - Trinidad and Tobago (virtual)

  • New Jersey Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics - New Jersey (virtual)

  • Porter Leath Educational Conference - Memphis, TN (virtual)

  • **Eduforum - Cairo, Egypt (virtual)

  • Alabama Association of School Boards, Birmingham Alabama



  • **Hertfordshire Virtual School Conference - Hertford, England

  • Leader in Me Symposium - Nashville, TN



  • Child Advocacy Day Tennessee - Nashville, TN

  • **Towards Trauma-Informed - Northampton, England


  • University of Chicago:  Trauma Responsive Educator Project Conference

  • New Jersey Chapter of American Pediatrics Conference



  • *ACES Summit - Little Rock, AR

  • *Kentucky Council for Children with Behavior Disorders is a Division of the Council for Exceptional Children - Louisville, KY

  • *National Council for Behavioral Health - Nashville, TN

  • *National Conference of State Legislators - Nashville, TN

  • Tennessee Principal Association Conference - Memphis, TN



  • National Behavioral Health Conference - Nashville, TN

  • TN Public Health Association Conference - Nashville, TN

  • Charelvoix-Emmit ISD District-Wide Professional Learning Summit (2 Days) - Charlevoix, MI

  • Tennessee LEAD Conference - Nashville, TN



  • Tennessee Discipline Conference - Nashville, TN

  • State Collaborative of Reforming Education (SCORE) Conference - Nashville TN

  • Tennessee LEAD Conference - Nashville, TN

  • Nashville Health Conference - Nashville, TN



  • U.S. Department of Education Webinar Panelist/Moderator

  • TN Voices for Children (long-term support), Tennessee (state-wide)

  • **Goff School - England

  • City Academy (long-term support) - St. Louis,  MO

  • Chester County Intermediate School District - Year Long Coaching

  • KIPP Academy School Leadership Professional Learning - Nashville, TN

  • Coffee County Schools:  Principal Meeting - Lawrenceburg, TN

  • Roane County Schools:  District Professional Development Day - Roane County, TN

  • Milton Hershey School Professional Learning (full day) - Hershey, PA

  • Charlevoix-Emmit ISD Professional Learning (2 full days) - Charlevoix, MI

  • Murfreesboro City Schools - Murfreesboro, TN

  • Tennessee Commission of Children and Youth - Knoxville, TN

  • Dwight Public Schools - Dwight, Illinois

Conference Presentations

Other Notable Engagements

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