Classroom Champions backs out of SxSW Edu panel over the health and safety of Panelists including Mentor and Paralympian Lex Gillette




March 5, 2020

AUSTIN, TX (March 3, 2020) – Classroom Champions Co-Founder and CEO Steve Mesler announced today that Classroom Champions will not participate in SxSW Edu to protect the health and safety of its team and panelists including Mentor, four-time World Champion and four-time Paralympian Lex Gillette.

“Keeping in mind the health and safety of our team and panelists - including Lex who’s currently training for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games -  we no longer feel comfortable attending SxSW Edu,” said Steve Mesler, an Olympic gold medalist and co-founder of Classroom Champions. “It’s a hard decision for us, especially as a non-profit, as SxSW provides one of the best opportunities to share inspiring stories, ideas, and research, like the awesome work athletes like Lex and teachers like Ella are doing for kids.”

Steve, Lex, and Classroom Champions teacher Ella Maya from Phoenix, Arizona were scheduled to host a panel entitled From Heroes on the Screen to Heroes in Real Life.

The three panelists planned to share their experiences, best practices, and research on powerful and impactful ways of bringing kids’ heroes into the classroom. The three also planned to announce a new initiative for teachers across North America.

“It’s upsetting that we won’t be able to attend,” said Lex Gillette, a Classroom Champions mentor and 4x Paralympic silver medalist. “We were all excited to speak to this incredible group of educators and share powerful tools to help their classrooms. Hopefully we can connect with SxSW teachers and attendees in a different way!”

Classroom Champions, a non-profit that teachers and schools turn to for inspiring Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum and mentorship programs, is one of the first non-profits to pull out of SxSW Edu over health and safety concerns.

For more information, contact: Alex Sopko | Director of Communications, Classroom Champions |