Mindful Teacher Certification Program

“Hands down the BEST professional development that I’ve done in the 25 years that I’ve been an educator.”

– Becky Witteman, School Counselor, WI

* Join our 2021-2022 Certification Program email list to be notified when next year’s application cycle opens. *

Our Mindful Teacher Certification Program is designed for educators and school leaders who are passionate about deepening their personal mindfulness practice and gaining the skills and experiential training to effectively share mindfulness practices across audiences in their school communities.

This immersive year-long experience has empowered a new generation of over one thousand Mindful Teachers to positively shift learning environments and pioneer the path toward building mindful schools.

The 2020-2021 Mindful Teacher Program marks Mindful Schools’ eighth year of guiding educators in their work to create mindful learning environments that support every educator and child to realize their fullest potential. Join us!

Program Overview

We’ve designed a uniquely powerful learning environment that adapts to the interests and aspirations of any educator. In this intensive program, we’ll provide the skills, context, and experiences that enable you to effectively share the practice of mindfulness in a wide range of educational settings.

Our Core Objectives
    1. To offer high-quality instruction and personal guidance that creates the conditions for educators of all backgrounds to deepen their own personal mindfulness practice.
    2. To provide practical training and transformational experiences that make it possible for educators to skillfully embody, adapt, and share mindfulness practices across a variety of educational settings.
    3. To enable meaningful connection and support from the vibrant Mindful Schools community and to empower educators as agents for positive change within the growing mindfulness in education movement.
Our Approach

The Mindful Teacher program integrates three core skills that support any educator to effectively adapt and deliver a mindfulness curriculum to youth in the context of the school classroom and other settings.


Earning certification will allow you to refer to yourself as a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor (CMI) and guide basic mindfulness practices in a school or in the context of your chosen field of work. Specifically, as a Mindful Schools CMI, you will be qualified to:

    • Use the Mindful Schools K-12 curriculum to adapt mindfulness programs
    • Teach adults the fundamental practices and principles of mindfulness
    • Lead professional development efforts related to mindfulness practice
    • Support efforts to design a mindfulness program for school communities

Program Testimonials

"Training with Mindful Schools changed my life, no doubt about it. I wanted to find a way to combine my love for contemplative practice and dedication to the well-being of children. The year-long program gave me the structure, encouragement, inspiration, and for me above all, the community. My absolute favorite part of the program was the retreats (and they continue to be as I attend graduate retreats). I basically fell in love with about 70 people in a week. Sitting with them in silence opened my heart, learning with them and from them has been inspiring, having a safe place to offer my own ideas about teaching has totally built my confidence. And since that first retreat, because of the growing network of educators connected by Mindful Schools, I’ve fallen in love with so many more amazing people!"

— Christine de Guzman, Sacramento, CA, Class of 2014
and Guiding Teacher in the 2019 Mindful Teacher Program

"It is an honor to have had the opportunity to be certified and not one that I take lightly. I feel in so many ways that the year-long was at once a culmination and a beginning for me. It helped me reach a depth of my practice I hadn't experienced before. It has made me a better teacher – focusing on really embodying the practice, learning from the expertise in the mindfulness community, being a better listener and more present as a teacher and colleague. The connections I made to peers in this like-minded community have been invaluable. My cohort friends are in touch on a daily basis regarding the work, the practice, what we are sitting with, etc. It is a source of tremendous comfort and inspiration for me and I know it will be for years to come. I am a better person, practitioner, and professional because of my connections with them. It is a true network, where everyone supports one another and so we rise together. The virtual format was ideal for me. Life is so busy and we all have many responsibilities that we are juggling. The virtual format made it possible for me to do this program. I loved the videos, the articles, the webinars and having access to all of this information is a huge gift. I use it all the time in preparing for my presentations, coaching, and hosted sits. The virtual format also enabled a community to evolve in a way I did not anticipate. I was very pleasantly surprised by this and continue to be."

— Amiee Peri, 3rd Grade Teacher, Oakland, CA, Class of 2017

"When I began working in an urban school in 2003 it became clear that I needed to find ways to manage stress and overwhelm. At that time I began a daily mindfulness practice. Years later I discovered Mindful Schools and went through all their coursework, including the year-long program. This partnership expanded and deepened my personal practice and gave me the means and confidence to bring the work into public education settings. The opening retreat is a beautiful experience and it certainly is special to be in the same physical space with our peers. I also found the online platform allowed us to nurture a deep personal connection. At the closing retreat, there was a joyful and palpable bond that resonated. It was evident that our online time together helped us develop sweet and meaningful relationships. I believe in Mindful Schools and am grateful for this organization that unites us for the common good."

— Brian Cooper, Oakland, CA, Class of 2016

Program Components

In-Person Retreats

In our blended learning model, the year-long program begins and ends with in-person residential retreats. Retreats offer a uniquely rich and immersive practice experience that supports growth and development in two ways:

    • Mindfulness Practice Guided by Experienced Teachers: Each retreat begins with several days of silent and guided mindfulness practice, which serves as the foundation of our teaching work and embodied presence.
    • Professional Skills Development in Community: The second half of the retreat offers an opportunity to develop your teaching skills and benefit from the tremendous expertise and experience of the community.  This includes fun exercises, body movement, group discussions and games, as well as unstructured time for networking and collaboration.
Remote Learning

In between the two in-person retreats is an intensive 10-month training program. The online components of the program strive to maintain a high degree of personal, interactive learning that is supported by the guiding teachers and fellow practitioners. The online learning elements allow engagement with the program content in a variety of different ways, and participants can expect to spend 3-5 hours each week involved in the following activities:

    • Online Content: Instructional videos, readings, and reflection assignments that track the course’s key themes as they unfold over the 10 months.
    • Live Group Calls: Engaging discussions, lectures, guided sits, and Q&A formats via Zoom video calls. (Most live calls will be recorded for later viewing.)
    • Cohort Group: Participants are grouped into small Cohort Groups that are led by a Guiding Teacher. Groups stay connected, share assignments and receive teaching feedback through monthly one-hour live video calls and online discussions.
    • Daily Sitting: Participants are asked to maintain a personal mindfulness practice of at least 20 minutes per day.
    • Expert-led Workshops and Talks: Engaging live talks and webinar-style workshops with our faculty of contributing teachers who are leaders in the mindfulness and education movement.
    • Teaching Lab: Participants record and share video of themselves teaching a group of youth and receive feedback on their teaching from their Guiding Teacher and cohort group.
    • Additional Learning Experiences: There will be additional opportunities for practice, including teacher office hours, reading groups, sitting groups, and regional meet-up groups where possible.

Program Benefits

Our Mindful Teacher program has supported over one thousand educators across the U.S. and internationally to become Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructors. For an idea of the kind of impact that mindful teachers are making in the world, you can read a recent report from Mindful.org, The Future of Education: Mindful Classrooms. It is notable that all five of the profiled “Mindful Educators” have been trained by Mindful Schools!

Our commitment is to provide all Mindful Teacher program graduates with the following:

    • An understanding of the fundamental principles and practices of mindfulness and a deep experiential knowledge of proven methods for using mindfulness to focus attention in the present moment, regulate emotional states, reduce stress and anxiety, and cultivate compassion and kindness.
    • The basic tools to teach mindfulness with authenticity and integrity to youth and adults within a variety of educational settings.
    • An awareness of the many ways that mindfulness practice can create positive conditions  for improved health, well-being, and happiness. This includes the science of mindfulness and how neuroscience is shaping our understanding of childhood development.
    • Proficiency using the Mindful Schools K-12 curriculum to deliver a high-quality mindfulness program that can adapt to the unique needs of school-specific circumstances, populations, and cultures.
    • Lifelong access to the vast archive of Mindful Schools teaching and curriculum resources.
    • Connection with a large and wide-ranging network of similar-passioned professional colleagues who are able to support and guide on matters related to personal practice, teaching lesson application, and program design.
    • A foundation for further development as a transformational community leader, including the ability to speak confidently about the benefits of mindfulness practice with all school stakeholders, including peers, parents, principles and school boards.

Program Outcomes and Certification Process

Program Outcomes

Earning certification will allow you to refer to yourself as a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor (CMI) and guide basic mindfulness practices in a school or in the context of your chosen field of work. Specifically, as a Mindful Schools CMI, you will be qualified to:

    • Use the Mindful Schools K-12 curriculum to adapt mindfulness programs to the needs of specific school settings, classroom routines and content areas, as well as integrate mindfulness instruction into various types of learning activities.
    • Teach adults the fundamental practices and principles of mindfulness by offering introductory or beginner-level mindfulness classes. You can also lead mindfulness practice with groups of teachers, administrators, parents, or other interested members of the school community or institution.
    • Lead professional development efforts related to mindfulness practice, the field of mindfulness in education, the benefits of teaching mindfulness to youth, and the benefits of youth caregivers having a personal mindfulness practice.
    • Support efforts to design a mindfulness program for school communities or similar institutions, and mentor teachers and administrators in their work to establish and develop a mindfulness program.
Certification Process

Following the closing retreat, participants who desire certification and have completed all program components will submit a teaching practicum for review. Teaching practicum may be submitted to the Certification Review Committee up to one year after the closing retreat. The Mindful Schools Certification Review Committee will review all materials submitted and make a determination regarding whether to endorse each applicant as a Mindful Schools Certified Mindfulness Instructor. Once a participant has been endorsed by the Certification Committee, they will be acknowledged as a Certified Mindfulness Instructor and listed on our Certified Instructor Directory.

Program Leadership

The Mindful Teacher journey is supported by a diverse and interdisciplinary team of highly skilled and experienced teachers working at the intersection of mindfulness and education.

Our faculty offers many decades of mindfulness teaching experience, as well as a wide variety of backgrounds and interests such as self-care and compassion, stress and resilience, the body and movement, neuroscience and the brain, trauma and special needs, curriculum and lesson design, classroom application, and more. Our team is comprised of a broad range of experienced educators, including: classroom teachers, administrators, mental health providers, and intervention specialists.

Lead Teachers

Alan Brown

Argos Gonzalez

Megan Sweet

Guiding Teachers

Sarah Rudell Beach

Devon Cresci

Christine de Guzman

Em Morrison

Erin Woo

Guest Speakers

We’re thrilled to welcome guest speakers and experts in the mindfulness and education fields who present on a variety of topics – Mindfulness & Social Justice, Self-Compassion, the Science of Compassion, Trauma-Informed Mindfulness, Mindful Communication, and more. Throughout the year, speakers offer insights and access to the leading edge of practice, teaching innovations, and research.

Below are examples of guest speakers who have joined our programs in the past. Stay tuned for speakers who will join the 2020-2021 program.

Sylvia Boorstein

Eve Ekman, PhD

Joan Halifax, PhD

Dacher Keltner, PhD

Rhonda Magee, JD

Kristin Neff, PhD

Daniel Rechtschaffen

Oren Jay Sofer

Program Details

Retreat Dates and Locations

The Mindful Teacher program begins and ends with five-day in-person, residential retreats. Participants may choose, on a first-come-first-serve basis, which retreat location they would like to attend.

Western U.S. Retreats

    • Location: Shambhala Mountain Retreat Center in Red Feathers, CO
    • Opening Virtual Retreat Dates: July 26 – July 31, 2020
    • Closing Retreat Dates: June 27 – July 2, 2021
    • Room and board for each retreat at this location has ranged from $450 – $1,175. Please confirm costs with the venue directly
    • Please see The Latest Updates on Mindful Schools’ response to concerns about hosting the retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center

Eastern U.S. Retreats

    • Location: Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY
    • Opening Virtual Retreat Dates: July 26 – July 31, 2020
    • Closing Retreat Dates: July 11 – July 16, 2021
    • Room and board for each retreat at this location has ranged from $575 – $800. Please confirm costs with the venue directly.

Program Fees

We strive to keep the costs of the Mindful Teacher certification program as accessible as possible while maintaining the highest levels of quality and excellence in our offering. Tuition fees cover the programming for the two retreats as well as the 10-month 300-hour remote training program.

Program Tuition

    • Standard Tuition: Coming Soon

Note: Tuition fees above do NOT include accommodations or travel for opening and closing retreats. Room and board with the respective retreat venues and travel arrangements are purchased separately.

Payment Options

    • Pay-In-Full Option: Receive a $300 tuition discount when tuition is paid in full upon registration
    • Payment Plan Option:  A $500 non-refundable deposit (100% of which will be applied toward your tuition fees) is required to complete this registration. You will then pay your balance in 3 equal installments.
    • Purchase Order Option: If your school or district is paying for your tuition using a purchase order, it is your responsibility to make them aware that the deadline for Mindful Schools to receive payment for your tuition is June 1, 2020. Please note that acquiring a Purchase Order  from your district or organization can take up to three months. Please plan ahead. For more information please see our Purchase Order Policies and Procedures

Early Bird Tuition

    • This discount applies for those who apply by November 15, are accepted into the program, and register by January 31, 2020.
Please read our detailed Terms, Conditions, and Payment Policies here.



Mindful Schools is aware that many educators face financial hardships and that is why we provide scholarships for educators who would otherwise not be able to participate. We receive more requests for financial assistance than we can fulfill and therefore award each scholarship based on the following criteria:

    • Financial Need: Demonstration of significant and demonstrable economic need based on income.
    • Impact: Applicants currently working in a paid capacity in public school or agency environments with high-risk and/or underserved populations.
    • Background: Supporting people from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds, including factors such as race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Scholarship Tuition: Coming Soon

Important Note: Scholarship recipients must be able to cover the cost of scholarship tuition plus retreat lodging and travel. Scholarship recipients must be able to commit to the entire program to be considered for a scholarship. Standard registration fees and payment plan guidelines apply to all scholarship recipients.

Scholarship Dates:

    • First Round: Apply by November 15, 2019  |  December 15, 2019 decision will be communicated; January 15, 2020 participant must register.
    • Second Round: Apply by February 1, 2020  |  February 15, 2020 decision will be communicated; March 1 participant must register.

Program Prerequisites

The Mindful Teacher program is for those educators who are passionate about dedicating themselves to mindfulness practice and are ready to take the next step on the path of becoming a mindful educator. We ask that all participants have a regular mindfulness practice and complete the following mindfulness training courses  by May 2020.

    • Mindfulness Fundamentals Online Course: This is the Mindful Schools 6-week foundational online course in secular mindfulness. For those who have taken other mindfulness training courses and have established a personal practice, you can qualify for this prerequisite by providing information about your personal practice in the application.
    • Mindful Educator Essentials Online Course: This 6-week course is a required prerequisite for the Mindful Teacher program. We want to ensure that all participants begin with a shared understanding of the Mindful Schools practice framework prior to engaging in the deeper work required by the Mindful Teacher program. * If you haven’t yet taken this course, you are still encouraged to apply to the Mindful Teacher Certification program. In your application, you may indicate when you plan complete the course, prior to May 2020.

How to Apply

Ready to apply? Follow this link to submit your application to the 2020-2021 Certification Program:

Start Your Application


Additional FAQs and Program Information

If you’re working to secure professional development funding through your school or district, here are documents you may find helpful to share with school leadership or staff:

Additional questions?

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Please read our detailed Terms, Conditions, and Payment Policies here.
If You Cancel

If you cancel your participation in our program for any reason, the cancellation policy below will apply without exception.

      • The $500 deposit is non-refundable and non-transferrable.
      • 90 days or more prior to June 15th, 2020: You will receive a refund for any payments made towards your tuition less any non-refundable deposits.
      • 31-90 days prior to June 15th, 2020: You will receive Mindful Schools credit for any payments made towards your tuition, less any non-refundable deposits and less a $100 cancellation fee. This credit can only be applied toward the 2021-2022 Mindful Teacher program.* Additional cancellation fees from our retreat venues may apply. Please contact your retreat venue (Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado,  Garrison Institute in New York) for details.
      • 30 days prior to June 15th, 2020 or after: You will not receive a refund or credit for any payments made towards your tuition. If you are enrolled in the payment plan, you will be responsible for a $100 cancellation fee. Additional cancellation fees from our retreat venues may apply. Please contact your retreat venue (Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, Garrison Institute in New York) for details.
      • Any credits received will be forfeited if the participant does not enroll in the following year’s program.
      • Mindful Schools is not responsible for any fees associated with the cancellation of travel, room and board.

* Tuition costs vary from year to year; transferring participants will be responsible for paying the 2021-2022 Mindful Teacher Program tuition rate. Our program is continually evolving to meet the needs of our community, and the content and structure will vary from year to year.

Alternate Routes to Certification

Mindful Schools realizes that life events occur that are unforeseeable or beyond our control. If for some reason you are unable to complete your program due to such an event, there may be some alternatives for completing your program, however any changes or exceptions to our policies will be handled on a case-by-case basis and must be approved in writing by our Head of Program. Any changes or exceptions will result in a minimum fee of $500, and depending on the solution, could result in additional fees.

Expulsion From the Program

Mindful Schools takes the personal and professional well-being of our participants and staff very seriously. While we never want to expel anyone from our program, there are instances where expulsion will be a necessary response. There are two categories for which a student may be expelled from our program. The first is for failure to meet course requirements, which includes:

      • Failure to make adequate and timely progress in the course
      • Failure to complete all course content
      • Failure to participate in all elements of the course, including retreats
      • Failure to pay tuition in full by the established deadlines

The second category for expulsion is for behavior deemed inappropriate by Mindful Schools and will result in immediate expulsion. These include:

      • Verbal abuse or inappropriate language used toward any participant or staff member
      • Inappropriate physical contact toward any participant or staff member
      • Racism or bigotry of any kind expressed verbally or in writing within our meetings and forums or to or about any participant or staff member
      • Sexual harassment of any kind expressed verbally or in writing to or about any participant or staff member

Expulsion from the program will result in a forfeiture of all tuition and room and board expenses. No refunds will be issued.

If Mindful Schools Cancels

It is unlikely that Mindful Schools will cancel the program for any reason besides unforeseeable circumstances (e.g. extreme weather conditions or natural disaster). In the event that we cancel the program for any reason, we will refund tuition payments you have paid. We cannot, however, reimburse you for any other costs (e.g. airfare, travel costs, travel insurance, room and board, etc.) you have incurred.

Please read our detailed Terms, Conditions, and Payment Policies here.


FAQs and Videos

Please read detailed FAQs here, watch videos below, or reach out to us at support@mindfulschools.org.

Watch the FAQ Webinar

Watch our FAQ Webinar to get an overview of the program and hear Q&As from fellow educators.

Watch FAQ videos about the Retreats

How is the retreat structured?

How is retreat different than practicing at home?

This is my first retreat. Is there support?

How will this program deepen my practice?

Graduate Testimonials

Jennifer Casper, a middle school teacher in Michigan, describes this program as “absolutely life-changing.”

Wendy Chan, a kindergarten teacher in Florida, talks about how this program made her whole teaching process richer and fuller.

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