The Year-Long Certification program is designed for educators interested in deepening their personal practice and playing an active role as a Mindful Leader in their school community and in the broader Mindfulness in Education movement.
About the Year-Long Program
- Deepen your personal practice
- Receive coaching on teaching mindfulness to a variety of different youth populations (e.g. high-risk adolescents, children with special needs, etc.)
- Progressively improve your teaching and facilitation skills
- Receive the tools for starting your own mindfulness program in a variety of settings
- Become a competent presenter on mindfulness in your school or agency, well versed in the history, science, and benefits of mindfulness.
- Successfully complete a teaching practicum and receive a public profile on the Mindful Schools website
- Join a community of like-minded practitioners for reciprocal learning and curriculum building
- Continued support after graduating
Some examples of implementation as a result of this program
- More skillfully embed mindfulness into public/private/charter/special needs classroom teaching
- Use mindfulness-based techniques during therapeutic work with individuals or small groups
- Integrate mindfulness in intervention/resiliency/probationary work
- Become an independent mindfulness educator developing specialized programs for various communities
Participants can choose to complete the practicum portion of this program, which includes an evaluation by your trainers. Certified Graduates receive a public profile on the Mindful Schools website. This Certified Instructor Directory meets the growing demand of institutions searching for highly-trained mindfulness educators to provide mindfulness programming to youth.
Engage in 4 core subject areas over the year:
- Two week-long summer retreats that bookend the year
- 10 months of online learning through weekly teaching videos, written content, assignments and forum engagement See Example
- Weekly group coaching sessions with faculty
- Monthly small group cohort meetings
- Guest speaker webinars on specialized topics
We strive to make tuition and fees associated with this program as accessible as possible for educators deeply committed to integrating mindfulness in their work with youth. We offer limited partial scholarship tuition spots, which are awarded to applicants based on need, diversity, and population served. The specific costs of the 2017/18 program will be announced in November 2016 when the application is launched.
CEUs are available for educators through the University of Pacific.
This is a high-touch, in-depth program facilitated by the Mindful Schools program team. The primary instructors for this training are Vinny Ferraro, Chris McKenna, Megan Cowan, and Pam Dunn. These instructors have over 55 years of combined mindfulness practice and over 30 years of teaching mindfulness and/or emotional intelligence to youth, as well as experience training many thousands of adults. Their work is featured in 5 documentary films (including Room to Breathe & Healthy Habits of Mind) and has received substantial media coverage.
and Program Director
Megan Cowan comes to this work with over 15 years of formal and intensive mindfulness training, a background in teaching and education, and a degree from UC Berkeley in Alternative Health. Megan is the primary author of the Mindful Schools Elementary School Curriculum, and created their first Adolescent Curriculum. She has taught more than 3500 youth via Mindful Schools’ in-class direct-service program, trained more than 2000 educators, mental health professionals, and parents in mindfulness practices and applications for youth, and has been leading Mindful Educator Essentials domestically and internationally since its inception in 2010. She has been the sole trainer for the dozens of instructors who have taught for Mindful Schools. In 2012, Megan was featured in “Room To Breathe,” the first feature-length film documentary on the effort to integrate mindfulness training into U.S. public schools.
Previous to joining Mindful Schools, Chris McKenna was Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project, a nonprofit that pioneered the development of mindfulness-based interventions for high-risk adolescents with complex trauma. During his tenure, MBA published the first formal research on the impact of mindfulness programming on youth in the U.S. juvenile probation system. In collaboration with Colorado State University, MBA also developed mindfulness training programs that met the specific needs of diverse youth populations, including youth of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana, and military youth in Ft. Collins, CO.
Chris has spent over a decade working with diverse communities suffering from high incidents of trauma, including five years with an organization launched out of Amnesty International that provided legal and psychosocial services to victims of torture and war crimes from over 20 countries. He has an eighteen-year history with mindfulness meditation and has taught mindfulness practices to diverse youth & adult populations. He is on the Curriculum Advisory Committee of Dalai Lama Fellows and the Advisory Councils of the Mind Body Awareness Project, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and Honoring the Path of the Warrior – a project which teaches mindfulness to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He holds a degree in Religion & Asian Studies from Columbia University.
Vinny Ferraro is a long-time mindfulness practitioner and instructor and a nationally recognized leader in designing and implementing interventions for at-risk adolescents. The child of an incarcerated father, Vinny spent the majority of his teenage life hustling and living on the streets. In 1987, after recovering from drug addiction, he began leading youth groups in drug rehabilitation centers, juvenile halls, schools and half-way houses through the Hospitals and Institutions Program of Narcotics Anonymous. Vinny continued this work for nearly a decade before transitioning to a more intensive focus on mindfulness and emotional intelligence work. In 2001, he began teaching for the Challenge Day organization, a nationally recognized, school-based emotional intelligence and life skills program, eventually becoming Challenge Day’s Director of Training and leading workshops for over 110,000 youth on four continents. In 2008, Vinny became Training Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA) and is the principle author of MBA’s mindfulness-based curriculum for incarcerated youth. Vinny has received national media coverage for his work with adolescents; he is the subject of the MTV series “If You Really Knew Me…” In addition to his work with youth, Vinny teaches mindfulness retreats to adults around the U.S. and the world.
For over 10 years, Pam Dunn has been a leader and teacher trainer for Challenge Day, one of the best known organizations in North America teaching empathy, compassion and other core social & emotional skills to students. She has worked with well over 100,000 youth in middle schools and high schools across the U.S., Europe and Canada. Her work with youth was recently featured in the Dutch Documentary series “Over De Streep (Cross the Line).” In addition to her work with Challenge Day, Pam has been a lead facilitator and curriculum developer for Be Present, Inc. (BPI), supporting individuals of all ages, genders and cultures in developing leadership in their own lives as well as in their families and communities. Pam has consulted with numerous youth & family service agencies on youth program development, staff training and program evaluation, including the Family Childcare Training Project, The Mind Body Awareness Project, The Edgewood Center for Children & Families, Mission Neighborhood Centers, & Urban Tilth.
In addition to the core faculty, the program also features a number of guest presenters on specialized topics including neurobiology, child development, communication skills and other topics. Presenters include:
Matthew Brensilver, PhD, holds a master’s degree in clinical social work and has done psychotherapy with adolescents, adults and groups. He received a PhD from USC, where his research investigated explanations of psychiatric comorbidity. Currently, Matthew conducts research on addiction treatment at the UCLA Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine. He also teaches at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center on the intersection of mindfulness and psychotherapy.
Dr. Willoughby Britton
Dr. Willoughby Britton
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University Medical School
Willoughby Britton is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health at Brown Medical School and Research Director of the Brown University Contemplative Studies Initiative. She received sleep/EEG training at Harvard Medical School and was a Research Fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH) and Andrew Weil’s Program in Integrative Medicine. She spent several years in Asia studying meditative techniques and received her mindfulness instructor certification training at the Center for Mindfulness at the UMASS Medical School. As a clinician, she has taught meditation to medical patients, the terminally ill, prison inmates, drug abusing adolescents and adults with mood disorders. As a researcher she has conducted federally funded RCTs on the neurophysiological effects of MBCT in depression; and education-based mindfulness training in middle school and university students in comparison to music and dance.
Dr. Eve Ekman
Dr. Eve Ekman
UCSF Oscher Center for Integrative
Eve Ekman is currently a Post Doctoral Scholar at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Ekman’s research interests were inspired by her experience as a medical social worker in the emergency department of San Francisco General Hospital coupled with her training in the applied emotion regulation and mindfulness intervention: Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB). At the Osher Center for Integrative medicine, Eve continues to refine the conceptual framework, research and training in the areas of meaning, empathy and burnout. In addition to research Eve provides training based in Cultivating Emotional Balance to a wide array of clients in technology, health care, criminal justice, law and education both domestically and internationally.
Dr. Dacher Keltner
Dr. Dacher Keltner
Greater Good Science Center
Dacher Keltner is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab. Dacher also serves as the Faculty Director of the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. Dacher’s research focuses the biological and evolutionary origins of compassion, awe, love, and beauty, and power, social class, and inequality. Dacher is the co-author of two textbooks, as well as the best-selling Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, and The Compassionate Instinct. He has published over 160 scientific articles; his research has been covered in TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, the BBC, CNN, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and in many other outlets.
Oren J. Sofer
Oren J. Sofer
Oren has had a dedicated mindfulness practice for nearly twenty years, and has taught classes, workshops and retreats for youth and adults nationally since 2008. In the early 2000s, he developed a deep interest in the relationship between mindfulness practice and communication. A graduate of the BayNVC North American Leadership Training, he began teaching Nonviolent Communication in 2006 to individuals and organizations both locally and nationally. Oren has extensive experience with mindfulness-based programs for children and adolescents; he was one of the first generation of teachers at Mindful Schools and made significant contributions to the development of the Mindful Schools curriculum. Oren is also trained and certified in Somatic Experiencing – a modality developed by former NASA-trauma specialist Peter Levine that emphasizes the role of nervous system regulation in the trauma healing process. He holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University.
Head of Research
Camille has extensive experience in education research, teaching, and mindfulness practice. She holds a PhD in Education Policy from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and previously worked as an education research analyst at Child Trends. She has conducted qualitative and quantitative research focusing on mindfulness as well as student social and emotional outcomes, engagement, and attendance. Before becoming an education researcher, Camille taught math at a public high school in Memphis, TN.
Camille began her personal mindfulness practice in 2001 when one of her high school teachers gave her basic instructions and a copy of the book “Nothing Happens Next.” Since then, mindfulness has helped her find more ease, peacefulness, and clarity as well as greater compassion for herself and others – benefits that she aims to bring to others through her work with Mindful Schools.
Camille is passionate about conducting research and evaluation to help Mindful Schools demonstrate its effectiveness, develop even greater effectiveness, and disseminate relevant research and evaluation resources to the Mindful Schools community.
How to Apply
Applications are closed for the 2016/17 program. Applications will open in November 2016 for the 2017/18 program. Join our notification list to learn about program updates, or reach out to Christina Costelo for more info: Christina@
Additional Advanced Training Courses
If you are looking to continue your training in interpersonal mindfulness and emotions, we encourage you to learn more about our additional advanced offerings:
- Mindful Communication, 8-Week Course: Interpersonal communication – with staff, parents and students – is one of the most challenging areas for many educators. In this 8-week online course, we provide framework and concrete practices to develop your communication skills at school. Learn to reduce stress associated with interpersonal differences and conflict, and find creative and effective tools for handling student behavior issues.
- Difficult Emotions, 6-Week Course: As educators, working with our own and our students emotional states is one of our main jobs. It is also something that almost none of us received formal training in, either in grad school or in subsequent professional development. In this 6-week online course, learn to reframe and interpret emotion in empowering ways. We focus specifically on three challenging emotional states: anxiety, anger, self-criticism and shame.