About Us

The Life Navigator School Program was born out of the work that founder and executive director Ana Homayoun has been doing with students over two decades. Ana is the author of four books: That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week, The Myth of the Perfect Girl, Social Media Wellness, and, most recently, Erasing the Finish Line: The New Blueprint for Success Beyond Grades and College Admissions.

In 2018, Ana received seed funding from the Foundation for the Carolinas to examine the relationship between educational opportunities, academic outcomes and long-term economic mobility. As part of her assessment, she conducted nearly 100 interviews in Charlotte, NC and around the country with students, educators, school district administrators, social workers, non-profit executives, and civic leaders, as well as young adults who had experienced social and economic mobility.

backpacks on students

"I’ve seen the Life Navigator develop over the last 3 years, and seen how all stakeholders - students, teachers, educators, administrators, parents and caregivers have positively responded to this work. There is a high need for executive functioning support and the Life Navigator work has a clear impact on ALL students - both in the short and long-term."
– Brandon W., academic advisor

In 2019, we began piloting the Life Navigator School Program in two public middle schools in Charlotte, NC, reaching 1,200 students over the course of three years. We worked closely with students, parents, caregivers, educators, administrators and community members to ensure the cultural competency and relevance of the curriculum, faculty professional development, and parent/caregiver engagement. Through this process, we recognized the importance of harnessing social capital within the school for successful implementation.

Since then, we’ve worked with public, private and independent school partners to thoughtfully expand our impact nationwide. Across the board, we’ve seen exciting results including increased student engagement, minimized faculty burnout, and school-wide culture shifts surrounding proactive planning and focused learning. The structure of the Life Navigator School Program has allowed students to become more proactive than reactive, leading to increased emotional and behavioral regulation and more intentional use of transition time throughout the day. Finally, we’ve been thrilled to see how students have stepped up to mentor each other and pass on these skills, increasing buy-in and building a great sense of community at the school.

Our Team

Our expert team of curriculum developers, education fellows, school counselors, and academic advisors works in collaboration to design and implement a research-backed curriculum to best support students from a range of backgrounds. We are led by Ana Homayoun, an educational innovator and author of four books who has been internationally recognized for her real-world insight and practical advice to students navigating the unique challenges of today’s fast-paced digital world. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic, as well as on CNBC, ABC News, and NPR.

Partnering with Luminaria

Schools that partner with us receive extensive training and guidance. Our partner schools receive:

  • Three faculty professional development opportunities
  • One to two parent education opportunities
  • Optional student presentation opportunity
  • Four school visit days of classroom and school observation 
  • Licensed access to Life Navigator School Advisory curriculum (30 lessons for each grade 6, 7, 8- plus bonus lessons on social media and technology use)
  • Licensed access to the Life Navigator Family Education Packet
  • Up to 20 hours of direct coaching with school administrator
  • And more