Meet Our Founder and CEO
Erika Sage Kelley, Founder and CEO
After two decades of mentoring teen girls and supporting young women in their healing journeys to wholeness, Erika Kelley founded Sage Horizons, LLC in 2021 to further support vulnerable women at a wider reach.
Erika brings 20 years of state level service experience, with expertise and focus in:
- Early Childhood Education Best Practices and Education Policy
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma-Informed Practices
- Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness-Based Curricula
- Arts Education and Art Therapy
As a certified ACEs trainer and an advocate for mental health, Erika works with a wide array of organizations at the state and local levels. She consults extensively and leads healing-focused projects. She facilitates training and workshops with a focus on mental health awareness and reducing stigma, and supporting vulnerable women with traditional and non-traditional therapies, like art therapy modalities.
Erika’s philosophy centers around educating and raising awareness as the key to driving policy and systems change. As we address the systemic and policy inequities and raise awareness about the impacts of unresolved trauma, she firmly believes that we should take all the steps necessary to ensure that our schools, workplaces and homes are supportive environments that use creative methods, including arts education frameworks and approaches, to promote healing.
Before founding Sage Horizons, LLC, Erika used a systems-thinking approach to impact change within PK-20 (preschool to graduate degree) education systems and mental health initiatives and policies. Erika represented the New Jersey Department of Education in addressing ACEs at the state level, serving as a member of the ACEs Statewide Action Interagency Team (IAT) and ACEs Collaborative. She also worked closely with the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) as a key stakeholder, in implementing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant, Preventing ACEs: Data to Action award. As Director of the Governor-appointed early childhood advisory council, the New Jersey Council for Young Children, Erika also served on First Lady Tammy Murphy’s Interdepartmental Nurture New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Work Group.
Erika holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University. She is also a recent fellow from the Rutgers National Institute on Early Education Research (NIEER), Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes Leadership (CEELO) Academy systems-thinking training program.
To women and girls, Erika’s message is this:
“If you have experienced trauma, it is not your fault. And how you respond to trauma has nothing to do with personal weakness. Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like the COVID-19 pandemic or witnessing or experiencing violence. Research shows that the effects of unhealed wounds like stress, fear, anxiety, or anger, can be devastating and can cause strained relationships and even physical symptoms. The good news is, there is hope. As we address the systemic and policy inequities and raise awareness about the impacts of trauma, we can take the steps necessary to ensure that our communities, schools, workplaces, and homes are supportive environments, that use creative methods including arts education frameworks and approaches, to promote healing.”
Erika speaks about Sage Horizons’ research-based propriety curriculum, Find Your Calm, along with the intersections of creativity, writing, poetry and mitigating and healing trauma during an interview on RVN TV: IAC – E20 – Erika Kelley on Vimeo