Austin ISD and Aetna Partner to Combat Teacher Burnout with Yoga Program

Recognizing the critical need to support educators, AISD collaborated with Aetna to secure funding for the program

Austin ISD has introduced the Breathe for Change program to address the widespread issue of teacher burnout, with nearly 70% of teachers statewide considering leaving the profession. The initiative aims to improve teacher well-being through yoga, mindfulness, and social-emotional learning practices.

Partnership with Aetna

The program’s implementation was made possible through a partnership with AISD’s healthcare provider, Aetna. Recognizing the critical need to support educators, AISD’s Executive Director of Talent Engagement, Amie Ortiz, collaborated with Aetna to secure funding for the program. This financial support was crucial in enabling approximately 30 teachers across 10 campuses to participate in the Breathe For Change training during the 2023-24 school year.


Drawing from her teaching background, Amie Ortiz envisioned a program that would prioritize teachers’ well-being, with the understanding that healthier teachers lead to better student outcomes. Breathe For Change’s program met the mark, equipping educators with skills to manage their own stress and model self-regulation for their students.  Teachers who have completed the training report a significant decrease in student behavioral issues and a more peaceful classroom atmosphere. 


AISD plans to expand the partnership with Breathe For Change through the support of their insurance provider, with additional training sessions for principals and assistant principals on leading with social-emotional strategies. This partnership is set to grow, with potential integration of well-being practices into teacher evaluations and diverse support options to cater to different teacher needs. Together, they aim to create a sustainable, supportive environment that enhances teacher retention and student success.

Future Outlook

The collaboration between AISD, Breathe For Change, and Aetna exemplifies how strategic partnerships with insurance providers can address critical issues in education, promoting a healthier, more resilient teaching workforce. To learn about partnership opportunities with Breathe For Change and school districts in your community, please contact Dr. Kelli Sammis, Director of School & District Solutions at