Meet Our Team
Driven by her nine years 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. Seewan initially joined as Interim Executive Director in January 2020 with the charge of restructuring operations, realigning program strategy for greater impact, and cultivating a thriving, inclusive culture.
Prior to joining 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.
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 Beck Engwerda at email@example.com
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 Innovation 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. She has formally practiced mindfulness for over 10 years, with training in transcendental meditation practices. Mia has a passion for developing 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, and her M.A. in School Leadership from Columbia Teachers College Summer Principals Academy.
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’ technology, project management, school enrollment, and customer care efforts, in addition to leading the organization’s human resources and internal learning initiatives.
Martha has been with Mindful Schools since 2013, and has been a key contributor to the organization’s continued growth and success as it evolved from offering its first online course during her first year to serving more than 60,000 educators and schools by 2020.
Under her leadership, Mindful Schools has grown to include a diverse team of 34 staff members and teaching faculty, developed a competitive benefits package that encourages work/life balance, 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 young son. Martha enjoys singing, traveling, camping, and cooking.
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. Ray is passionate about meaningful systemic change and leveraging energy as a powerful tool to motivate, inspire, and heal. As a former athlete, coach, and teacher, Ray understands the importance of using his presence to lead and create an environment of connection and inclusivity.
Director of Development & Communications
Director of Development & Communications
Beck brings more than 15 years of experience working in educational non-profits and charter schools to the Mindful Schools team. As Director of Development & Communications, Beck engages multiple stakeholders in the mission of Mindful Schools, helping to increase access to our programs and deepen our impact in the community. Beck joined Mindful Schools in 2018 and is passionate about creating positive change in the world through programs that develop self-awareness, connection, and social-emotional skills. Her previous work includes managing communications strategy for nonprofits, including the GO Project and DREAM in New York City, and Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles. Beck also worked as a fundraiser for the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, and for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Charlotte, NC.
Beck’s connection to mindfulness began in college when she attended a local ashram and explored Hindu philosophies such as Kashmir Shaivism and learned helpful self-inquiry practices. Since that time, she has continued her learning through the Art of Living Foundation, led by humanitarian and an ambassador of peace Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Beck loves to incorporate the Mindful Schools value, connection, into her daily life, by practicing compassion for others and by sharing the work of Mindful Schools. She is originally from Australia, where she earned her B.A. in Arts/Professional Writing and Editing, and now resides in Oakland with her husband and two young boys.
Head of Instruction
Head of Instruction
Drawing on more than 10 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.
At Mindful Schools, Argos has been a guiding teacher for our online courses, 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 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 has 17 years of experience as a high school social studies teacher. She served in the Wayzata Public Schools from 1998 to 2015, and was honored as an Esteemed Teacher seven times by the district. As Curriculum & Research Manager, Sarah oversees and produces content for Mindful Schools’ courses. Sarah holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Minnesota, and is a licensed teacher in the state 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. As Schoolwide Implementation Manager, Laura guides our partner schools to implement mindfulness into their community to foster equity and holistic well-being. Laura’s background includes sharing mindfulness with young people in the Bay Area, London, and Palestine, and has conducted research on how mindfulness can support social justice pedagogy in schools. 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 received her 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
Beth has spent her career in nonprofits administration and public accounting. As a parent and volunteer PTA board member, she’s worked closely with teachers, parents, and children to support public schools. She is now excited to combine her finance and nonprofit experiences to support the Mindful Schools mission – giving children the positive tools they need to handle their complex emotions and supporting educators with professional development opportunities.
Neena comes to this work with 20 years as a public school teacher and teacher leader. She has taught mindfulness in over 30 classrooms from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade. Neena has also coached teachers, provided teacher and staff training, parent classes, as well as educator retreats and public speaking engagements. 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. Neena identifies as Punjabi-Salvadoran American, and is passionate about interpreting the world through multiple perspectives. Neena is also a founder of Into the Forest Revelations, an organization that seeks to bring clarity and wisdom to those seeking their life’s purpose.
Alan Brown has more than 15 years experience working in public and private K-12 schools. As Director of Integrative & Co-curricular Learning at Grace Church School in New York City, Alan led mindfulness & positive education programs for students, faculty, and for parents. Alan has been a humanities instructor and dean, and has worked with many other schools and districts as a trainer for GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network), where he now serves on the National Advisory Board. 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, so he has a keen interest in working with students with TS, ADHD, OCD, and other nervous system vulnerabilities. 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.
Fontashia is a lifelong learner and founder of a North Carolina nonprofit organization that is committed to serving underserved communities focusing on financial literacy, mindfulness programs, and workplace readiness skills. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Regent University and is a licensed teacher in the state of North Carolina. 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, 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, she is excited to work for Mindful Schools because she gets to share her experiences, while empowering others in the present moment.
Dia Joyce Penning
Dia has served as a K-12 as a curriculum developer, teacher trainer, arts specialist, mindfulness coach, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professional, and program administrator. In all her roles she finds the themes that connect teams and organizations to one another and to a greater whole. Dia is committed to whole people, to the development of skills and resources that allow each of us to show up as our authentic selves and to support one another. With a Master in Interdisciplinary Studies from Columbia College, Dia leads international yoga and social justice workshops though Love Light Yoga out of Vancouver BC. She also coaches individuals in somatic awareness for social transformation. With 20 years of experience in integration, systems change, and a lifetime committed to mindfulness, Dia is very excited to be serving as a Program Facilitator. Dia lives in Oakland, CA, with her kiddo, wife and 16-year-old Labrador Retriever. She likes to garden, make pottery, and sew, and makes lots of opportunities to share these practices in her community.
Solissa has been a 7th grade classroom teacher, a college academic advisor, and more recently, a program manager for a Kansas City area non-profit youth college access program. As a champion for education, Solissa spent the last decade supporting and investing in the growth of adolescents and young professionals. Solissa enjoys connecting people to meaningful experiences that will help empower and nurture their innate leadership skills. Her education includes a Bachelors of Arts in Middle School education and a Master’s in Higher Education Administration, both from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and is also a recent graduate of the 2021 Mindful Schools Teacher Certification Program. Solissa believes that we all have a place in mindfulness practice and our youth can benefit from having more mindful tools in their “life box”. Through mindful education, Solissa likes to focus on shining a light on communities who often don’t see themselves in the mindfulness movement or dominant culture, and is looking forward to learning, growing, and thriving with the Mindful Schools community.
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, and various trauma-informed and mindfulness in-schools programs.
She earner 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.
For over 20 years, Lucy has taught children and youth in a variety of classroom and therapeutic settings from instructing teens at North Outward Bound School to educating young people in preschool. She currently teaches Kindergarten.
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 received her Masters In Education, Mindfulness for Educators, from Antioch University New England and her Early Childhood Montessori Credential form the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
Nathalie Monin Voelker
Before joining Mindful Schools Nathalie worked for 15 years for not-for-profits providing continuing education and Arts for All programs for low income and immigrant families. She also managed wide community service events with corporate foundations in New York.
Nathalie is French with a Caribbean and Parisian background. She practiced dance for 7 years before taking her first yoga in 2003 just after her daughter’s birth. Yoga and meditation has been a long and interesting journey ever since. A journey where learning was not only about the body, but the self. Tapping into her former study of philosophy, she loves to make mindfulness a simple and practical tool for our everyday life.
She led “Education & Art For All” programs in France for many years before coming to New York. Combining her passion for movement and philosophy, she teaches yoga and mindfulness on a regular basis to young students, teachers and parents in NYC public schools with The School Yoga Project.
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 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 increase peace and freedom. She has practiced meditation since 1997 and has been formally teaching mindfulness since 2010. Devon is 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, trans and LGBQ folks, people of size and different body abilities.
Board of Directors
Anne Roise, Board Chair
Anne oversees planning for retreats and classes at Spirit Rock. Earlier, 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 several years, Anne developed and managed community and economic development initiatives in collaboration with non-profit organizations, community groups, law enforcement organizations, the private sector and educational institutions. She is a Certified Economic Developer and former Director of Economic Development for the City of Savannah. She has served on numerous boards and community task forces, and was a trustee for the Historic Savannah Foundation. Anne has a master’s degree in City Planning from MIT, and a B.A. from Antioch University.
Dani Bowling, Treasurer
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.
Ellie Burrows Gluck
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.
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.
Valorie K. Hutson
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 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.
Denis is a senior program officer with the George Lucas Education Foundation where he manages the strategic direction of the Foundation’s research related to project based-learning in the humanities. Prior to joining Lucas, Denis was a program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for eight years where he managed strategy and grants related to a wide range of areas including improving the quality of curriculum and instructional materials, California education policy, and classroom/school-level formative assessment, and at the Walter S. John Foundation where he focused on vulnerable, disconnected youth. Denis has also had a 10-year history with Outward Bound including helping to found Expeditionary Learning (now EL Education), a national school improvement network, and the New York City Outward Bound Center, Outward Bound’s first urban center. Denis is the founder of the North Oakland Community Charter School, and received an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.