Our mission is to empower educators to spark change from the inside out by cultivating awareness, resilience, and compassionate action in community.
We’ve kicked off our annual fundraising campaign and we hope we can count on your support. Make a statement about the kind of community you want to live in and the future you want to see.
At Mindful Schools, we’re putting mental health and well-being first, for students and educators. Together we can build joyful, resilient, mindful schools across the country.
For almost 15 years, Mindful Schools has worked to create mindful and heart-centered learning environments where all community members can thrive. We’ve trained over 70,000 individual educators, and we partner with over 500 schools each year. We’re just getting started.
Today we are proudly:
By Educators, for Educators, with Educators: our team supports school leaders, teachers, and staff. Together we develop their unique capacity to cultivate thriving school communities of belonging, inclusion, and well-being.
Designed to Meet the Complex Needs of Schools: we listen deeply to schools and deliver a program to suit the specific context and goals of each individual community.
Systemic in our Approach: we support our school partners to dismantle inequitable decision-making and structures and to build schoolwide cultures that nurture collective well-being, healing, and liberation.
Schools are facing a mental health crisis among both teachers and students, and current solutions aren’t sufficient. Teachers are burning out and leaving the profession, and students are struggling with soaring rates of anxiety, depression, stress, and trauma.
61% of teachers report being stressed out.
- Mental Health
58% of educators say their mental health is “not good.”
Public school educators are quitting their jobs at the highest rate on record.
Almost half of children in the U.S. have experienced at least one serious childhood trauma.
Nearly 1 in 3 adolescents will meet criteria for an anxiety disorder by the age of 18.
Nearly 40% of high school seniors report that they often feel lonely and left out.
Nurture collective well-being, equity, and belonging
Support Adult Well-Being and Empowerment
We begin by providing immediate support to the adults in the school community because their well-being and engagement is foundational to the school culture and learning experience. Our programs guide school staff, administrators, and teachers to address stress, reactivity, and negative habits, and to reconnect with their strengths, heal from stress, and become more intentional, grounded, and fully present.
Create Trauma-Sensitive, Culturally-Sustaining Classrooms
Our programming then deepens to sharing mindfulness with students. We guide teachers to make compassionate and mindful choices in their relationships, cultivating expansive learning experiences that foster a sense of belonging, trust, and agency in the youth they serve. Educators share mindfulness practices with students, which helps students to heal from trauma, manage stress, and develop inner-resilience tools to navigate their lives.
Build Equitable and Thriving School Systems
We partner with school teams to develop their capacity to recognize inequitable systems and decision-making, navigate difficult conversations with awareness and compassion, and work together to create school-wide change that supports all bodies and experiences. Our team is guided by our experience implementing mindfulness in various school settings, and has an approach that is grounded in mindfulness practice, builds on the strengths of the community, and complements the school’s existing initiatives.
“Our students are beset by all kinds of challenges born of poverty, dire racism and consistent inconsistency that has caused ongoing trauma to their young lives. Our school is embracing a comprehensive wellness approach that begins with the development of mindfulness. We need more help in this. Mindful Schools has been an invaluable resource to our administration, our faculty, our students.” – Partner School Principal
Nurturing change from the inside out
Mindful Schools partners with schools from across the United States to create inclusive school cultures that prioritize the healing power of relationships and well-being. We’re especially passionate about supporting under-resourced and Title I school communities. Surveys with our partner schools revealed the following outcomes:
of teachers reported that mindfulness in the classroom creates changes in their students’ overall well-being, ability to pay attention, impulse control, and mental health
of students surveyed said that mindfulness is helping their teacher
of students reported using mindfulness to calm down when experiencing difficult emotions such as anger, sadness, or anxiety
Our online courses make training and resources accessible, while also integrating virtual, live touch points to build connection with peers and the Mindful Schools faculty. Over 70,000 educators have trained with us and 99% of participants say they would recommend our courses.
The outcomes below were collected from teachers who participated in Mindful Schools’ original course for bringing mindfulness into the classroom. For more comprehensive information on our impact, please visit our research page.
Benefits for Educators
Report lower stress and greater self-compassion
Connect better with students
Deliver curriculum with more ease
Are more satisfied with their jobs
Benefits for Students
Improve emotional regulation
Demonstrate greater compassion
Excited to get started?
We know what it’s like to be an educator, and we’re here to support you. Our diverse, dynamic team has decades of experience as school administrators, social workers, teachers, mindfulness instructors, and BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ affinity group facilitators. We’ve experienced the benefits of mindfulness in the classroom firsthand, and are passionate about sharing these simple and profound practices with you.
Driven by her experience as a middle school teacher in diverse, resilient communities, Seewan is a lifelong learner and educator with a deep commitment to leading for equity and reimagining education systems and cultures that support all students to thrive.
As the Executive Director, Seewan has been leading an inside-out organizational transformation so that Mindful Schools can better meet the unprecedented need for social and emotional well-being, mental health, and equity in schools.
Prior to leading Mindful Schools, Seewan served as VP of Digital Transformation at the New Teacher Center where she created tech-enabled, people-centered solutions to accelerate educator growth and districtwide systems change. At WestEd, she led fast-paced research and online product development to scale the implementation of promising teaching practices and reduce the predictability of educational outcomes in charter schools, magnet schools, and community colleges. She spent nine years in the classroom, most recently as at San Francisco Community, a teacher-run school in SFUSD implementing rigorous project-based learning. She began her career working at Providence Summerbridge, now Breakthrough Collaborative, where she learned that teaching is a fundamentally creative, joyful, and collaborative process. She has also taught at two start-up charter schools in the Coalition of Essential Schools network where she learned to navigate issues of equity and access as part of a community building operational infrastructure and designing instructional programs that intentionally challenge the status quo.
Seewan is passionate about empowering educators and building cultures and systems that sustain resilience, compassion, liberation, and justice in schools. She believes that mindfulness was a missing piece for her as a teacher, and that a practice would have empowered her to foster a braver and more loving classroom community where all students were thriving. She received a B.A. in American History/Educational Studies from Brown University, an Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and National Board Certification. She is also a 2023 Pahara Fellow.
The firstborn daughter of two Chinese immigrants, Seewan was raised in the New England area of the United States and currently resides in Berkeley, California, with her husband and daughter. She enjoys hiking, snowboarding (which she learned as an adult), and deepening her lifelong passion for ballet, which gives her many opportunities to practice curiosity and kindness with each passing year.
Recent interviews, news, and writing include:
Be Curious, Be Kind, Be Brave, School 180 Podcast
Nurturing Change from Within, Mindful Schools
For speaker inquiries please contact Shannon Baker at email@example.com.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Shannon is passionate about supporting diverse and dynamic leaders in their work to build a more equitable and just future. She spearheads our fundraising and communications efforts, including designing partnerships with leading foundations and corporations and cultivating a beloved community of donors.
Her deep leadership experience draws from impact-driven organizations––including New Media Ventures where she elevated the work of women entrepreneurs and founders of color to strengthen movements and build power with and for BIPOC communities; State PIRGs; Stanford Law School; and The Nature Conservancy. Through this work, as well as her leadership on DEI initiatives and her personal study around anti-racism and white supremacy, Shannon pushes herself to center equity and challenge unjust power structures.
Shannon has a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from University of Michigan, where she focused on strategy and social innovation. In 2016, she completed the East Bay Meditation Center’s yearlong Practice in Transformative Action program, learning how to share mindfulness practices with others. When not at work, she enjoys travel and photography, the East Bay’s best eats and treats, time with her family, and walking her rescue pup Hamilton and pandemic puppy Quincy.
Senior Director, People & Operations
Senior Director, People & Operations
Martha is a heart-centered and pragmatic leader with more than 20 years of experience in operations, communications, and human resources management. As the Senior Director of People and Operations, Martha oversees Mindful Schools’ human resources, technology, project management, school enrollment, and customer care efforts.
Martha has been with Mindful Schools since 2013, and has been a key contributor to the organization’s continued growth and success. Under her leadership, Mindful Schools has grown to include a diverse team of staff members and teaching faculty, cultivated a values-driven culture with a commitment to educational equity, and reorganized internally to better serve the growing needs of schools.
Prior to joining Mindful Schools, Martha had an eclectic career spanning hospitality and tourism; TV and film production; PR and media communications; and performing arts education. She also spent several years running after school programs for the City of Oakland, working as a substitute teacher for OUSD, and serving as a one-on-one aide for autistic children.
Martha received her BA in Communications and Ethnic Studies from U.C. Berkeley. She holds a credential in copy-editing and a Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) credential.
Martha continues to be inspired by working with a diverse team of passionate, powerful change-makers. She is a Bay Area native and currently resides in Richmond with her husband and son.
Head of Program
Head of Program
Mia has been a kindergarten and middle school teacher, teacher coach, and assistant principal. As Head of Program for Mindful Schools, Mia oversees our Product Development engine and leads our Program Faculty. Since joining Mindful Schools in 2020, her work includes ensuring our programs align with our Theory of Change–creating equitable, trauma-sensitive, and culturally sustaining school systems in which every member of the community is supported to thrive.
As an educator and nonprofit leader, Mia has centered the needs of historically marginalized and resilient communities focusing on health education, social and emotional wellbeing, and mindfulness. After serving as Chief Program Officer for Girls Leadership for over 3 years, she continues to facilitate educator professional development and girls programming as a Girls Leadership Educator. Mia has practiced mindfulness for over a decade, with formal training in transcendental meditation practices. Mia has a passion for developing and facilitating healing-centered, culturally responsive learning experiences and curricula.
Mia is a proud Uchinanchu (Okinawan) and seeks to embody the Mindful Schools Core Value “We Grow Love” by listening to the wisdom of the Okinawan proverb “choo kukuru ru dee ichi” / “the heart is the most essential quality” in her daily life. Mia received her Bachelors Degree in Political Science and East Asian Studies from Yale, her M.A. in School Leadership from Columbia Teachers College Summer Principals Academy, and began her career as a Teach for America 2005 Greater New Orleans corps member.
School Support Specialist
School Support Specialist
Ray brings more than 15 years of experience in K-12 education as a teacher, coordinator, and coach. He is dedicated to supporting students and teachers that have been historically underrepresented and often ignored by the dominant culture. He joined Mindful Schools in 2022 and is passionate about meaningful systemic change and leveraging positive energy as a powerful tool to motivate, inspire, and heal. As a School Support Specialist, he helps introduce schools and districts to mindfulness while building relationships with administrators and teachers. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education from William Carey University. Ray has been practicing mindfulness for more than a year now, and describes mindfulness as a much needed grounding experience. As a former athlete, coach, and teacher, Ray understands the importance of using his experience to lead and create an environment of connection and inclusivity.
Head of Instruction
Head of Instruction
Drawing on more than 13 years experience as a high school English teacher in the Bronx, Argos is an equity-driven educator and thought leader who leverages his mindfulness practice to engage communities in creating positive systems change. Argos became part of the Mindful Schools family in 2013 when he joined our inaugural Mindful Teacher Certification Program. Argos was searching for practices to support his high school students and the pre-service and inservice teachers he worked with at Hunter College, CUNY. During his certification program, Argos discovered a network of educators he could trust to begin his own healing and to strengthen his work in supporting others to cultivate loving, thriving communities. Inspired to share the transformative practice of mindfulness further, Argos’ work grew to consulting and teaching in many NYC Department of Education schools, and in various school districts in Westchester and New Jersey.
Argos joined Mindful Schools in 2014 as a guiding teacher for our online courses. He’s also held various roles as community content editor, mentor, and a lead teacher for our Mindful Teacher Certification Program. Currently Argos serves as Head of Instruction, where his experience as an educational leader helps him shepherd the internal learning journey and shapes our program delivery. Argos recognizes the power of love as a radical tool for personal and community change and shares mindfulness to foster healing and transformation, especially for school communities most impacted by systems of oppression.
Argos immigrated from Venezuela when he was young, grew up in Queens, New York, and currently lives in the New York City area with his wife, son, daughter, and two cats. Argos enjoys going on long walks with his family, and as his children have gotten older, he has rediscovered skateboarding, playing video games, and watching superhero movies.
Head of Technology
Head of Technology
Darius Ingram is an IT professional with more than 15 years of experience in systems administration and database management. He has worked almost exclusively in education-based nonprofit organizations, choosing to devote his energies to the support of his community. His relationship with Mindful Schools began as the business analyst. As the head of technology, he brings strategy, logic, and empathy to his work. When not overseeing tech, you’ll find him mixing his own music or volunteering his tech-spertise to other nonprofits.
Head of Marketing & Project Management
Head of Marketing & Project Management
Alison is a Bay Area native and passionate about sharing the Mindful Schools story with the global community of educators. She brings more than 15 years of marketing experience–from product marketing and sales roles in Bay Area tech and at Warner Bros. in Southern California. When she returned to Oakland to raise her children near family, she immediately engaged in the community. Prior to joining Mindful Schools, Alison managed Development and Communications for one of the largest nonprofit parent organizations in the Bay, and also co-founded a children’s apparel brand. Alison received her B.A. in International Economics from UCLA. She is excited about progressive and bilingual education and is trying her best to raise her two daughters with resilience, joy, and kindness.
Curriculum & Research Manager
Sarah Rudell Beach
Curriculum & Research Manager
Sarah Rudell Beach taught high school social studies for 17 years in the Wayzata Public Schools in Plymouth, MN, where she continues to teach mindfulness to adolescents. She has taught mindfulness to educators nationwide, and to students aged pre-K to college throughout the greater Twin Cities. Sarah completed the Mindful Teacher Certification Program in 2015, and began working for Mindful Schools as a Guiding Teacher in 2018. As Curriculum & Research Manager, she oversees and produces content for Mindful Schools’ courses and workshops and supports schools implementing mindfulness programming. Sarah holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota. Sarah has had a personal mindfulness practice for many years, and describes mindfulness as life-changing. She firmly believes that teaching compassionate attention and self-care to students, teachers, parents, and families can change the world.
Schoolwide Implementation Manager
Schoolwide Implementation Manager
Laura has experience teaching mindfulness, SEL, and social justice in K-12 schools in the US, UK, and Palestine, as well as conducting research on how mindfulness can support social justice pedagogy in schools. As the Schoolwide Implementation Manager, Laura supports partner schools to implement mindfulness and foster a culture of well-being in their community. Laura has been practicing mindfulness for 15 years and is deeply passionate about helping people discover how mindfulness can support them. After years of working with refugee communities in the Middle East and witnessing the impacts of conflict and trauma on the body, mind, and spirit, Laura came to understand mindfulness as a path to healing, re-connection, and liberation.
Laura holds an MA in Social Justice and Education from University College London and a bachelor’s degree in Peace and Justice Studies and Arabic from Tufts University. Laura is also a certified yoga teacher and enjoys hiking, surfing, and backpacking.
Course Ops & Group Enrollment Specialist
Course Ops & Group Enrollment Specialist
Brooke brings over fifteen years of customer service and membership management background to her role as Course Operations & Group Enrollment Specialist for Mindful Schools. Since receiving her BA in Psychology from UCLA, she has worked almost exclusively in the nonprofit community. She joined the Mindful Schools team in 2017, and is passionate about aiding the empowerment of younger generations and interacting with diverse communities. A Bay Area native, Brooke can most often be found rooting for the local sports teams, spending time with her large family, and crafting throughout the year.
Molly has dedicated her career to serving the community – from experience working with the state as a civil servant and the county teaching people how to keep kids safe in cars and bikes, to working with nonprofits in facilities. She is a mother to an elementary school student and enjoys working at her child’s school as a parent volunteer. Molly attended Holy Names University in Oakland where she earned her International Relations Bachelor’s Degree. Molly has been practicing mindfulness since 2019 when she attended a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course. She is excited by the work of Mindful Schools and feels fortunate to be a part of this important work.
Neena comes to this work with over 20 years as a public school teacher and teacher leader. She has taught mindfulness in more than 30 classrooms from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade. Neena has coached teachers, provided staff training, parent classes, as well as educator retreats and public speaking engagements. She joined Mindful Schools in 2019 and is a 2015 graduate of the Yearlong Program. Her most impactful work has been to create a trauma-sensitive and inclusive curriculum that gives students agency and voice to make mindfulness meaningful to them. Neena is also the founder of Inner Flourishing, an organization that seeks to implement mindfulness into school districts through intimate and relational professional development experiences.
A San Francisco Bay Area native now living in Southern Oregon, Neena draws upon the natural world as a deep resource to embody her mindfulness practice. She currently teaches elementary school in the Rogue Valley and is a Mindfulness Director with the nonprofit Whole School Mindfulness, where she integrates mindfulness at a K-8 Outdoor School in Ashland, Oregon. Neena identifies as Punjabi-Salvadoran American, as well as multi ethnic, second-generation, mother and poet. Her most powerful teachers continue to be her three boys.
Raúl K. Betancourt
Raúl is an educator and mindfulness practitioner with 25 years of experience teaching science to middle and high school students. As a teacher, Raúl found that his meditation practice helped him navigate the stress of school, and he began sharing mindfulness tools with students and colleagues. Motivated by the impact he saw on those around him, Raúl increased his focus on mindfulness education in schools, becoming a teacher for the teen group at East Bay Meditation Center and a mentor for iBme teen mindfulness retreats. Raúl began his own mindfulness practice as a teenager, learning from monastics at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles. He then went on to study Zen at centers in the US, Japan and recently in Hawai’i at Chozen-Ji Zen Dojo, where he was a live-in student during the pandemic. Raúl’s years of training have focused on integrating mindfulness into everything he does, and he’s passionate about sharing these valuable tools with students and teachers.
Tanya Farmer comes to Mindful Schools after teaching yoga, meditation and mindfulness in NYC public schools for the past 8 years. In her role as lead yoga teacher she created a yoga curriculum for kindergarten-8th graders, led professional developments for staff members and hosted a weekly Morning Show focused on cultivating social emotional and mindfulness skills. She brings heartfulness and optimism into everything she does. Tanya was drawn to mindfulness as a way to access peace and she loves sharing what she’s learned to empower, uplift and bring people together. She has a deep belief in the possibility for human transformation through awareness practices and strives to create safe and joyful spaces for all participants. Tanya is a certified mindfulness instructor through MNDFL and works as a kids yoga instructor with Bent on Learning. She is a proud plant mom living in Brooklyn, New York.
Fontashia is a lifelong learner and founder of FACTS, a North Carolina nonprofit organization that is committed to serving underserved communities by offering mindfulness programs and financial literacy, meeting individuals where they are in their mental fitness and financial journey.
After working in the banking and management industry Fontashia decided to switch careers to walk in her purpose and has more than 10 years experience working in K-12, Title 1 public schools, and alternative education. She has led mindfulness programs for students and parents in addition to professional development for faculty and staff within schools and community recreational centers. Fontashia has served in various roles as an educator including: Business Education Teacher, Career Development Coordinator, Parent Facilitator, and Restorative Justice Teacher. She is also a Co-Creator for a BIPOC mindfulness community group, Mindfulness with People of Color.
Fontashia has been practicing mindfulness for many years and believes that it has changed her perspective on life–not only does it allow her to be fully present for her four boys (and yorkie), it has also transformed her mindset to welcome abundance, practice self-love, and be grateful for all that life has to offer. As a graduate of the Mindful Schools Teacher Certification Program and completion of MBSR training, she is excited to work for Mindful Schools because she gets to share her experiences, while empowering others in the present moment. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Regent University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Norfolk State University, and is a licensed teacher in the state of North Carolina. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, listening to music, and dancing.
April has served as a middle school teacher at an under-served school in the South Bronx. She considers herself a lifelong learner of mindfulness and yoga as a tool for self-empowerment and social justice in diverse, resilient communities. In 2010, she completed her 200-hr teacher certification through Dharma Yoga certification and has since held space for yoga in under-performing schools, trauma centers, and addiction centers to cultivate inner healing. She believes, regardless of background, we are all in our breath and body, so might as well tap back into our inner wisdom to navigate life’s challenges.
April was part of the first year cohort at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University where she combined education, social activism, entrepreneurship and mindfulness. April has also been certified in laughter yoga, yoga for 12 step recovery, off the mat and into the world, restorative justice, and various trauma-informed and mindfulness in-schools programs. These days, her main mindfulness practice is being a foster mom.
She earned her bachelor’s degree with a focus on Anti-Racist education from Mount Holyoke College and her master’s degree from Columbia’s Spirituality Mind Institute Masters in Education.
Kelli has 20 years of experience as an educator in the roles of teacher, mentor, teacher leader, curriculum developer, and program facilitator, and draws from her own personal mindfulness practice that began when she was a struggling teenager. Since 2013, she has taught mindfulness and yoga at Girls Prep Bronx Elementary in NYC, supporting students, staff and families. She has coached educators, provided staff and educator training, as well as facilitated educator retreats and public speaking engagements in the mindfulness in education field. Kelli is committed to empowering educators to bring wellbeing into their own lives and into their school communities for the benefit of future generations. She helped design and revise curriculum for several organizations including the Contentment Foundation, RULER (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence), and Mindful Schools. Kelli has a Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix and a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Naropa University.
As an educator, Lucy has taught children and youth in a variety of classroom and therapeutic settings from instructing teens at North Carolina Outward Bound School to educating young people in preschool. She is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning at Shalom Children’s Program.
As co-founder of Design to Connect, LLC, Lucy facilitates professional communities of practice focused on cultivating restorative school communities and increasing capacities of mindful well-being in students, educators, and families.
Lucy holds a Masters In Education, Mindfulness for Educators, from Antioch University New England, an Early Childhood Montessori Credential form the Center for Guided Montessori Studies, and a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from Oglethorpe University.
Nathalie Monin Voelker
Before joining Mindful Schools, Nathalie worked for 15 years in nonprofit organizations where she developed community projects and educational programs for low income communities. Most of her work was under the European label “Education for All”, which emerged in 1990 as a social justice movement.
Born in Paris with a Caribbean background, she came to New York 15 years ago with her husband, Markus and her daughter, Louliana. She started teaching yoga and mindfulness in public schools as an outside provider in 2016.
Nathalie currently offers mindfulness and self-care practices to youth and adults in the United States and France. She collaborates with the School Yoga Project in various public schools in NYC impacting approximately 600 students per year.
She is also the founder of Creating Mindful Communities LLC whose purpose is to offer well-being tools to students, parents, educators, and any one in need of a more balanced life. Tapping into her former study of philosophy, she loves to make mindfulness a simple and practical tool for our everyday life.
Jelena is a school psychologist by training and a peacebuilder by heart. As a mom and Teaching Peace in Schools Leadership Council Lead for The Peace Alliance, Jelena aspires to educate, advocate, and mobilize others in co-creating a culture of peace. Her passion is facilitating dialogs that are grounded in mindful awareness and empathy.
Jelena spends most of her time in circle with educators and students, is a facilitation trainer for Soliya and Erasmus + Virtual Exchange where she guides others in facilitating virtual cross-cultural exchange dialogs. She serves on the advisory board for Cities4Peace, facilitates virtual circles for Millennium Forum and the Peace of Mind, and hosts weekly Hope Story Circle podcast series for the Peace Alliance. She guides mindfulness retreats for educators at the Copper Beech Institute, leads international At Home In the World family retreats, and is co-founder of Design to Connect LLC, an educational consulting organization, that assists schools in their efforts in skillful, integrated and sustainable schoolwide implementation of mindfulness and peace education practices. She believes in the power of storytelling, single-tasking, and the importance of starting conversations that create genuine connections, move us toward transformation and help us foster a culture of nonviolence.
Devon Sangster Rath
Devon served as a social worker at a San Francisco public high school for ten years. She is a queer woman who cares deeply about the power of mindfulness practice to heal and liberate. Devon is especially passionate about making mindfulness accessible to all, specifically people who have experienced trauma, are recovering from addiction, and historically marginalized populations, including people of color, LGBTQ, and people of size and different body abilities. She has practiced meditation since 1997, has been formally teaching mindfulness since 2010, and currently lives in New Mexico with her little dog Chulito.
Consultant, Financial Strategy and Accounting
Consultant, Financial Strategy and Accounting
Erina has over 20 years of experience providing accounting and consulting services to Bay Area nonprofits. At Mindful Schools, she provides financial guidance and services to our growing organization. Erina likes kickboxing, listening to music, camping, spending time with her family, and playing with her German Shepherd. She graduated from UC Berkeley and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Consultant, Impact & Storytelling
Consultant, Impact & Storytelling
Alan Brown has more than 15 years experience working in public and private K-12 schools as a classroom teacher and administrator. Alan has led mindfulness & positive education programs for students, faculty, and for parents at multiple schools, and he has served in many administrative and instructional roles, including assistant principal, dean of student life, curriculum supervisor, and humanities instructor. He consults with schools and districts across the country supporting initiatives in mental health, resilience, and mindfulness
A proudly queer educator, Alan served on the National Advisory Board as a member and trainer for GLSEN, and is currently a crisis counselor for LGBTQ+ youth with The Trevor Project. Diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome in middle school, Alan came to mindfulness through yoga and a search for stillness in the body and regulation in the nervous system. He has a keen interest in working with students with TS, ADHD, OCD, and other nervous system vulnerabilities; he is currently collaborating with Johns Hopkins Hospital on a 5-year federally-funded clinical trial to validate the benefits of mindfulness for people with tics.
Alan is a passionate advocate of personal development as professional development, and the possibility of building organizations in which the whole system inclines toward wellness. He has a BA from Johns Hopkins, an MA from the University of Chicago, and was a Fulbright Fellow to Italy.
Consultant, Equity & Internal Learning
Anthony “T” Maes
Consultant, Equity & Internal Learning
“T” is a mixed race Chicano man from the East Bay, California, who has dedicated himself to the path of Dharma and secular trauma-informed mindfulness since 2003. To “T” mindfulness practice is a path of somatic healing, joy as an act of resistance, direct action, community building, liberation from internalized oppression, cultivating love and the end of systemic oppression. “T” is a Faculty mentor for two yearlong mindfulness teacher trainings at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and at Freedom-Together BIPOC community. He has taught mindfulness teacher and educational consultant at UCLA, Harvard, Stanford, Spirit Rock, East Bay Meditation Center, and Insight Meditation Society, where he teaches week-long retreats in trauma-informed mindfulness for teens and adults of all ages. He has taught mindfulness programs at Mindful Schools, Dharma Homies, Year Up, and COOP Careers. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2004, he conducted psychology research in mindfulness at UCSF until moving out of academia in 2009 and into teaching and practicing. Most recently, he completed the 3-year Organic Intelligence practitioner training in post-traumatic nervous system resilience.
Consultant, Equity & Internal Learning
Dia Joyce Penning
Consultant, Equity & Internal Learning
Dia has served as a K-12 curriculum developer, teacher trainer, arts specialist, mindfulness coach, DEI professional, and program administrator. In all her roles, she finds the themes that connect teams and organizations to a greater whole. Dia is committed to developing skills and resources that allow us to show up as our authentic selves in support of our community.
Holding a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from Columbia College, Dia leads international yoga and social justice workshops through Love Light Yoga out of Vancouver, BC. Additionally, she serves as board Co-President for the YWCA of Berkeley Oakland. Dia helped develop the Empathy Lens project out of San Diego State University. This virtual reality experience allows a viewer to take another person’s perspective to gain insight into bias and privilege. She also coaches nonprofit leaders in somatic awareness for social transformation.
With 20 years of experience in systems change and a lifetime committed to mindfulness, Dia is grateful to use her skills as a Mindful Schools Program Facilitator. She lives with her kiddo, wife, and Labrador Retriever in Oakland, CA. She likes doing yoga, gardening, making pottery, and sewing in her free time.
Consultant, Sales & Business Development
Consultant, Sales & Business Development
Linda Trude is Founder and CEO at Wicked Sage, where she leverages more than 30 years of sales and client success leadership experience to drive fast growth for client organizations. Often acting as interim or fractional Head of Sales, she helps clients leverage new technologies, adapt processes, and introduce problem solving to the sales process in order to quickly respond to new opportunities and challenges. Prior to founding Wicked Sage, Linda spent 25 years in sales leadership roles responsible for customer retention and new business acquisition. In addition to providing her clients with deep sales expertise, Linda is focused on making an impact on the communities her clients serve.
Consultant, Equity & Internal Learning
Consultant, Equity & Internal Learning
Mark Wax has been a passionate student of meditation for the last 20 years. He is a consultant, facilitator, and teacher of mindfulness who feels so grateful to be supporting DEI initiatives at Mindful Schools. Mark has worked for the last 10 years at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, and more recently with Rio Grand Mindfulness Institute. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Ogap’oge in the Tewa language.)
Board of Directors
Anne Roise, Board Chair
Anne is currently the Director of Programs at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Before moving to California, Anne was an instructor of Urban Studies and Planning at Savannah State University, and the CEO of Roise & Associates, a consulting firm in Savannah, GA specializing in strategic planning, project development and organizational coaching. For over a decade, she has taught mindfulness meditation through her life coaching practice, to parenting groups from low income communities, and to college students and faculty. Anne has worked as a senior administrator in state and local governments, a teacher, victim advocate, and family and youth counselor. She has facilitated group processes, including diversity and anti-racism trainings, in many settings including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and faith-based organizations and community groups. Anne has a B.A. from Antioch University, a Masters in City Planning from MIT, and is a Certified Economic Developer, former Director of Economic Development for the City of Savannah, and Certified Life Coach. She has served on numerous boards and community task forces, including the Historic Savannah Foundation. She also currently serves on the board of the San Francisco Zen Center.
Ellie Burrows Gluck, Vice Chair
Ellie is the Cofounder and former Chief Executive Officer of MNDFL as well as a Vedic Meditation teacher, certified personal development coach and writer. After graduating magna cum laude from Northwestern University, Ellie served as an executive in the film business for a number of years, focusing on the business side of film: producing, selling, financing and finding new talent. When her meetings began to evolve into coaching sessions around effective communication and interpersonal relationships, she chose to pursue mindfulness in a more meaningful way. In 2014, she co-founded MNDFL, New York City’s premier meditation company which offered corporate programming, mindfulness training, an on-demand meditation channel and a non-profit arm, MNDFL Ed. In 2020, she launched MNDFL’s next iteration, MNDFL Certification & Training, with Rev. angel Kyodo williams and David Perrin. Along the way, Ellie was exposed to Vedic Meditation. What started as a daily practice turned into a full blown love affair, and beginning in 2017 Ellie completed her 2000-hour teacher training program under master teacher Théo Burkhardt.
Valorie K. Hutson, Secretary
Valorie K. Hutson is the Founder and CEO of Hutson Solutions LLC, a global leadership consultancy designed to help small business owners and leaders build strong infrastructure to promote scalability and growth. Hutson has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, organizational development, and strategic educational change initiatives. She is passionate about empowering young people from diverse backgrounds with the tools and skills to be change agents in their communities. She was the Founding Executive Director of a nonprofit leading an initiative to open access to resources and services to improve the health and well-being of students, families, and school communities. This work supported the creation of one of the first Full-Service Community Schools in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Working in partnership with the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and OUSD, Hutson also developed and implemented a STEM project that helped establish the pilot Middle School Science Academy in Oakland, California. Hutson is also an active member of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center community. She earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Mills College in Oakland, California where she is currently a Doctorate Candidate in the Educational Leadership Program.
Tony Shen, Treasurer
Tony Shen helps mission-driven organizations thrive. He advises social ventures, non-profits, schools, and governmental institutions on wide-ranging business, operational, and strategic issues. Formerly as the Chief Operating Officer of EdTec, a social venture supporting charter schools nationwide, he directed client services and served as the outsourced CFO for schools. He also managed an economic development fund formed by landmark environmental legislation to facilitate economic development in rural California. Tony has a daily meditation practice and volunteers as a mindfulness teacher in public schools. He holds an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a BA in Economics from Stanford University.
Dani is a mediator, conflict resolution trainer, and meditation teacher. They also identify as non-binary and given their childhood in South Carolina in the forties and fifties as the son of a Southern Baptist minister, their path to self-awareness and acceptance was challenging. They are a former staff attorney, mediator, and trainer for the US District Court for Northern California. They began mediating in 1986 and co-founded the first mediation organization in South Carolina and served as its first president for many years.
Dani was also the first Public Defender for Charleston County, SC, from 1974 to 1978, never losing a client to the death penalty. They previously were a staff attorney for the very first public interest law firm in the US, the Urban Law Institute in Washington, DC. They served as Chair of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s Publications Board from 2005 to 2017 and have taught meditation, mediation, and public policy dispute resolution worldwide.
Dani began practicing meditation and yoga in 1976 and began teaching both in 1980. They taught at Kripalu Yoga Center in the Berkshires from 1985 to 1995, served as its General Counsel, and founded the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association. They are also a member emeritus and Past President of the Board of Directors of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA and continue to serve as Chair of its Ethics and Reconciliation (EAR) Council, as the first layperson to serve on that sensitive council. They graduated from Harvard Law School and from Furman University with Honors.
Dr. Brian G Dias
Dr. Brian Dias is the Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Research on Children, Youth and Families – USC Keck School of Medicine & Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Brian studies how legacies of stress echo across generations, and his work has been featured in Nature and in the 10 Most Important Discoveries of 2014 . Most recently, he was quoted about the legacy of trauma (BBC), the neurobiology of family separation (BrainFacts), and gave a TEDx talk on Halting Legacies of Trauma. A recipient of a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar Award from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Brian is a Fellow in CIFAR’s Child & Brain Development Program. Brian has also participated in Sci-Foo Camp at Google and as a faculty member of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative discussed “Consciousness” with the Dalai Lama.
Mike brings over 30 years of experience as the lead client partner, senior partner and business advisor to many of the PwC’s largest and most complex alternative asset management clients. Mike is a recognized industry leader who uses his deep industry knowledge, collaborative style, and practical approach to solve problems, deliver quality and add value. For many years, Mike served as leader of PwC’s U.S. & Global Alternative Asset Management practice where he helped establish and significantly grow the practice.
As a leader within PwC, Mike is committed to fostering an inclusive, supportive and collaborative environment and serves as an active coach, mentor, ally and sponsor of our people. Mike also serves as a role model and leader who helps our people prioritize their well-being.
Beyond his client and practice responsibilities, Mike co-founded and leads PwC’s mindfulness group called Mind-Time which supports live and virtual training for teams, partners, employee groups and individuals. He has designed and delivered multiple mindfulness programs and has led guided meditations for groups ranging from 15 to 5,000.
Mike is certified as a mindfulness instructor with the International Mindfulness Teachers Association having completed a 300-hour mindfulness training program through the Engaged Mindfulness Institute. Mike is also a dedicated martial arts student for over 30 years with a fourth degree black belt in Seido karate, a traditional Japanese style that integrates Zen meditation into the training and emphasizes developing each student mentally, physically and spiritually. Mike also assists and leads classes for adults and children of all ages.
Mike is committed to transforming the nature of care through contemplative practice. He is currently completing a nine-month Foundations in Contemplative Care program designed and led by the New York Zen Center, and serves as a volunteer on the Palliative Care team at Westchester Medical Center.
Mike is the Treasurer and Board Member of Lets Win! Pancreatic Cancer, an online platform that educates, informs and empowers patients, caregivers and families impacted by pancreatic cancer. He is also a former Board Member of the Managed Funds Association.
Mike received a BS in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude, from Binghamton University and a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia Business School.
Mike is a proud dad and husband, a content introvert and a wannabe drummer. After retiring from PwC on June 30, 2023, Mike plans to spend his time dedicated to service, practice, training and learning, plus resting from all of the above.
Katiti Crawford is a purpose-driven development executive with more than 20 years of business development, leadership, and fundraising experience. She is currently the Associate Director of Professional Advisor Relations at The San Francisco Foundation where she serves as a point person and partner with Bay Area professional advisors such as attorneys, accountants, financial planners, investment advisors, and wealth managers who are looking for philanthropic resources and expertise for their clients.
Over the course of her career, Katiti has led successful comprehensive development programs through strategic planning, measurable fundraising, and engaging volunteer leadership. She has raised major gifts for SFJAZZ, Earthjustice, Planned Parenthood, San Francisco State University, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Grand Teton Music Festival, and YWCA, and has a background in financial services and advertising sales. Current and former colleagues describe her as a resolute team leader and effective manager with strong communication and organizational skills.
Elizabeth is the CEO of Playworks, a national organization headquartered in Oakland that helps schools and school districts make the most of recess through on-site staffing, consultative support, professional development, and free resources.
Elizabeth has been with Playworks for 17 years. She became president in 2011, and CEO in 2021. As CEO, Elizabeth leads the senior management team and is responsible for ensuring that all strategic targets are met across the organization. She has spearheaded Playworks’ growth plan, leading the organization through a scaling strategy that took it from partnering with 61 schools in 2004 to nearly 2,000 schools in 2020.
Elizabeth has more than 25 years of nonprofit management experience with youth development and youth-serving organizations, and as a leader in the youth development field, is frequently invited to speak about Playworks’ scaling experience, and how play supports children’s development and wellbeing.
Marielys is the Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-New York (E4E-NY), leading the organization’s flagship chapter and its 15,000+ members. She has over 25 years of experience advocating for education equity in New York City, most recently serving as the Senior Advisor for the Office of Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives and First Deputy Mayor at City Hall.
She also possesses extensive non-profit leadership experience, leading the Children’s Cabinet as Interim Executive Director, and previously acting as the Vice President of Education for United Way of New York City (UWNYC), where she led UWNYC’s education equity-focused initiatives, including ReadNYC – a crucial part of New York City’s implementation of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading.
Marielys’ education advocacy background also includes serving as the former National Organizing Director at OurTurn and the former Lead Organizer & Executive Director at a Metro IAF chapter in both Manhattan and the South Bronx, where she led the campaign that built the Mott Haven Schools Campus.
She was born and raised in the Dominican Republic until the age of ten. She is a first-generation college graduate, having earned her undergraduate degree from Boston College, a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University as well as a Leadership, Organizing, and Action: Leading Change certificate from Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program. Marielys lives with her life partner Mike, 17-year-old son Shawn and 3-year-old daughter Sienna.
Deesha Dyer is the Founder and CEO of Hook & Fasten, a social impact agency that specializes in transformational relationships between corporations and communities, diversity & inclusion, and executive operations. Deesha is an award-winning strategist, on-the-ground community organizer and operations expert who cultivates and executes ideas that create tangible change.
For nearly two decades, she has produced social-impact campaigns across entertainment, politics, philanthropy and business. Deesha served as White House Social Secretary under President Barack Obama, completed a two-year tenure at the Ford Foundation, and in December 2019, finished a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics where she designed and taught a study course entitled, “From Imposter to Impact.” Her career and personal mission reflect an unwavering passion for servant leadership, civic engagement, and social justice.
Deesha is also the Co-founder and Executive Director of beGirl.world, an organization that empowers teen girls through global education and travel. She has seen firsthand how experiences like travel and mindfulness open pathways to new ways of being that heal and create possibility.
Ricardo currently works as a screenwriter focusing on narratives that reflect and illuminate the stories of underrepresented or marginalized individuals. He is particularly interested in exploring the intersection of personal histories, societal expectations, and the realities of navigating complex identities. He also provides executive coaching and career enhancement services for those facing organizational obstacles, desiring new professional challenges, or re-inventing their professional identities after a break in their employment history.
For four years, Ricardo served as the President of the Board of Directors for Eagle Village Educational Services. This non-profit educational consulting organization existed to strengthen the school-to-career pipeline by transforming students into lifelong learners. Eagle Village pioneered the community school model in Oakland, California. It had a 17-year history of success in providing services to students and their families with after-school programs, mental health services, and family resource programs.
As Senior Human Resources Manager at the University of California, Davis, for 24 years, Ricardo provided leadership and stewardship on all aspects of human resources management, strategic planning, training, and program design. He created guidelines for management and staff to develop and implement organizational strategies, vision, mission, goals, and objectives. In addition to supervising the Information Systems, HR, and Payroll staff, he directed and designed training programs.
Rob is the Bennett Pierce Professor of Care, Compassion and Human Development at the College of Health and Human Development at Pennsylvania State University. He has a PhD from the combined program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan (1996) and holds master’s degrees in religion and psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical social work.
In 2005 and 2016 Rob was a United States Fulbright Scholar in India; from 1999 through 2004, he was a William T. Grant Faculty Scholar; and from 2006 to 2010, he served as the Senior Program Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute (Boulder, Colo.) and helped to coordinate the Mind & Life Education Research Network. He also served on the working group that designed the original Call to Care Curriculum for the Mind & Life Institute. He is a scientific advisor to the follow-on work of the Courage of Care Coalition and served on the planning committee for Mind & Life Institute’s 2018 Summer Research Institute.
Rob’s scholarship and research is focused on schools as key cultural contexts of human development and the use of contemplative practices in educational settings for school administrators and leaders, teachers and staff, and students. His laboratory is devoted to the study of the effects of mindfulness and compassion in education with regard to improving health and well-being, teaching and learning, and an equitable and compassionate culture in education.
Carina Wong is a lifetime learner who loves working on big problems with visionary and creative leaders. She is a strategist by nature and designer by heart. Carina thrives in collaborative spaces and is the founder of Craft Strategies, a consultancy designed to help purpose-driven leaders deliver outsized social impact. Through this work she intentionally focuses on helping women of color reframe their problems as possibilities. She has a bias toward action, an ability to see around corners and a penchant for making connections.
Fourteen years in philanthropy and another two decades in nonprofits and the public sector helped her dream big, move quickly and fail fast. Most recently, she was a Senior Advisor for Innovation and a Deputy Director of Education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she focused on problems of sustainability and scale; infrastructure and ecosystem building; designing for equity; and redefining impact. She has worked at the national policy level at the National Center on Education and the Economy and the state level as a bureau director at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She has led system redesign efforts at the district level in Philadelphia and was the founding executive director of the Chez Panisse Foundation in Berkeley, CA where she launched an effort to scale kitchen/garden classrooms and reinvent school lunch with Alice Waters and Chef Ann Cooper.
Carina earned a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She also holds an MA in Secondary Education and Teaching from George Washington University; an MA in Policy Analysis and Administration from Stanford; and an MBA in Design Strategy from the CA College of the Arts where she is currently a trustee and chair of the academic committee. She also served in the US Peace Crops as both a volunteer (South Africa) and a trainer (Botswana).
She is the mother of three children and loves to feed people. She never needs an excuse to swim, visit a farmers market or wander into an art museum. She believes in the creative arts and its transformative power to heal and help us imagine a better world. You will find her always carrying a notebook, thinking about her next meal and what she has yet to learn.
Our School Partners
What does a mindful school look like?
Schools are where children learn, grow, heal, build community, and practice new ways of being. That’s why Mindful Schools is proud to be a partner of choice for schools across the country.
We’re especially committed to supporting under-resourced Title I public schools like Milner Middle School and Passaic High School, featured in the videos below. You can visit the Video section under Resources to see more of our work in action.
Reflections from Passaic High School, New Jersey
By Graciella Romero
Assistant Principal at Passaic High School
And Mindful Schools Graduate
“We started our first cohort of 101: Mindfulness Foundations just months before we went into a pandemic. If you can imagine, folks are at home dealing with their own anxiety, with the world changing just minute by minute.
What ended up happening was, not only did the individuals who took 101 want more, they wanted to share and practice what they were learning. Every Monday and Friday morning, we practiced mindfulness together online, as a school community. We didn’t force anyone to come, it’s was volunteer-based, and it grew super organically. It wasn’t a huge commitment. It wasn’t a great deal of time–and the benefit that you felt was instantaneous.
There was a great deal of loss in our school community due to COVID-19. Our mindfulness practice gave us the ability to show up very honestly, candidly. Although we were sad or even a little depressed, we were able to sit with those feelings and share them as a community.
These meetings were a mix of adults and students. The roles—whether someone was a teacher, an administrator, a student, a parent—that all fell away. We were just a community of people coming together to be mindful, and sometimes to grieve, and sometimes to find joy in those moments; and Mindful Schools gave us the tools to do that.
Before the pandemic, before we integrated Mindful Schools’ training, some folks wouldn’t stop by my office to share concerns, or to share good news, but that’s changed now. As someone that’s in charge of the social-emotional learning in the school, as someone that’s in charge of climate and culture, this program has paid dividends. It has shifted our relationships. It’s shifted the culture of the school. For me as an administrator, the idea of community and that everyone is valued and needed–I’ve tried to always message that, but there’s a difference between saying it and then knowing that people believe it and see it. I have felt it. Mindful Schools’ programs created that for our school.
I was an English teacher for a long time. I live and work in a community that is low on resources, that is low on beautiful spaces. Everyone doesn’t have a backyard. When I was a young teacher, my dream was that every child had a backyard, that everyone had a space to play, a beautiful space. I feel like mindfulness has allowed me to give that to our kids. We’re not going to change the lives of our children–the physical space that they exist in. But we’re going to help them find their breath. We’re going to help them find that space within themselves so that they can deal with whatever life throws their way–and that’s greater than any playground.“