The Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification Program
Deepen your personal practice. Develop your ability to share it with others.
Please join our Mindful Teacher email list to receive updates about next year’s 2019-2020 Mindful Teacher Program, coming soon.
At Mindful Schools we believe that the practice of mindfulness is the foundational element necessary to create a healthy education system. Establishing safe and supportive environments for our children to learn and grow––and for our educators to be effective and thrive––begins with creating spaces to breathe, to notice, to feel, to accept, and to care.
A mindful classroom allows both teachers and students to focus their attention, lower their stress, and form relationships from a place of greater self-awareness, empathy, understanding, kindness and compassion. The essential agent of change in this picture is the mindful teacher.
This is why we offer the Mindful Teacher program.
It’s why we’ve assembled a diverse and dedicated team of skillful guides to help educators establish and deepen their own personal mindfulness practice. It’s also why we’ve designed a uniquely powerful learning environment that adapts to the interests and aspirations of any educator, providing them with the skills, context, and experiences that enable them to share their mindfulness practice with others in real-life educational settings.
We believe that we can change our classrooms, our schools, and our education system, one mindful teacher at a time.
Please join us and the entire Mindful Schools community, as we launch our sixth year-long certification program, more committed and inspired than ever. Together we can discover what it is to grow and develop as Mindful Teachers, and in the process, create the positive conditions for our schools to be environments that support every educator and every child to realize their fullest potential.
–– Your Mindful Schools Team
The Mindful Schools’ Mindful Teacher Certification Program is designed for educators who are passionate about deepening their personal mindfulness practice and gaining the skills and experience necessary to effectively share their mindfulness practice with students and peers.
Our core objectives
- To offer high-quality instruction and personal guidance that creates the conditions for educators of all backgrounds to deepen their own personal mindfulness practice.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
The Mindful Teacher 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 and teach the Mindful Schools 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
The Mindful Teacher year-long practice and learning 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.
Mindful Teacher Faculty
Alan Brown is Director of Integrative & Co-curricular Learning at Grace Church School in New York City, where he leads mindfulness & positive education programs for students, faculty, and for parents. He also consults privately for schools, providing professional development and plans to implement school- or district-wide mindfulness programs and speaks regularly on these topics. 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. Over the past 15 years, Alan has taught in both public and private settings as 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. 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.
Argos Gonzalez is a teacher, lecturer, mindfulness teacher and yoga instructor. He has 14 years of experience teaching high school in the Bronx and teaches pre-service and in-service teachers at Hunter College School of Education in NY. Argos is certified through both the Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification Program and Little Flower Yoga (LFY). Argos was a contributing editor to Best Practices for Yoga in Schools, and his work has been featured in national media including NPR and The Atlantic. As a frequent speaker at conferences including the Kripalu Yoga in Schools Symposium, Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth, the Omega Mindfulness in Education Conference and the Yoga Service Conference, Argos is an important contributor to the yoga in schools movement and a trusted expert with feet in the yoga, mindfulness, and education worlds. His deep passion for empowering children and adolescents and supporting other educators to do the same, comes through in all aspects of his work.
Dr. Nicole Libin is an adjunct professor of Religious Studies and General Education at Mount Royal University, and incorporates mindfulness as both a pedagogical and a contemplative tool in all of her post-secondary classes. Her work includes teaching courses on Yoga and Meditation as well as offering mindfulness to faculty and students. Outside of the university, Nicole is a mindfulness educator and coach for adults, adolescents, and children and is a children’s book author. Nicole has taught mindfulness in a variety of venues including corporations, government offices, cancer survivor wellness workshops, sport camps, prenatal groups, university campuses, and school classrooms. Nicole is a Mindful Schools certified instructor and has completed the U.Mass Center for Mindfulness Professional MBSR training in with Jon-Kabat Zinn. She has also trained with The Meditation Initiative and is certified in MBSR for teens. Her first children’s book on mindfulness, entitled Sticky Brains, will be published in 2019 and has been endorsed by Raffi, Amy Saltzman, and Dr. Chris Willard. Nicole lives in Calgary with her husband and five-year-old daughter Aria.
Kaira Jewel Lingo
Kaira Jewel Lingo
Kaira Jewel Lingo began practicing mindfulness in 1997 and teaches meditation, mindfulness, and compassion internationally, with a focus on activists, people of color, artists, educators, families and youth. She currently leads retreats and programs for educators and youth in schools, while also working with students around the world offering ongoing individual support, meeting locally and online, as well as running courses in urban non-residential settings. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology and Social Sciences and speaks fluent Portuguese, French, German and Italian, and rudimentary Spanish. Kaira Jewel also edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s, Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children and helped to launch and develop Wake Up Schools, bringing mindfulness to education. She enjoys exploring the interweaving of art, play, ecology and spiritual practice and is a certified yoga teacher and InterPlay leader.
Sarah Rudell Beach
Sarah Rudell Beach
Sarah has over 20 years of experience in education and believes that teaching compassionate attention and self-care to students, teachers, parents, and families can change the world. She graduated from the Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification Program, earning her certification as a Mindful Schools Instructor in 2015. That year, Sarah decided to transition from the classroom to full-time mindfulness education, founding Brilliant Mindfulness. Sarah now teaches mindfulness in schools and businesses throughout the midwest, and in several online programs. Sarah earned her B.A. in History, summa cum laude, from Carleton College, and her M.Ed. in Social Studies Education from the University of Minnesota. In addition to teaching, Sarah writes about mindfulness on her personal blog, as well as for the Huffington Post. Her first book, Mindful Moments for Busy Moms, will be published in April 2018.
Devon Cresci has been practicing mindfulness since 1997. She graduated with her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Currently she works part time for Mindful Schools as a Guiding Teacher for their Mindfulness Fundamentals online classes and full time as a Social Worker in a public high school in San Francisco. There, she teaches mindfulness to both students and staff. She is passionate about bringing these practices into SF public schools and has organized district wide trainings for employees who want to bring mindfulness into their work with students. In her summers, she teaches retreats with iBme and has assisted the Young Adult retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Devon is passionate about sharing the practice of mindfulness and hopes that it may help people find greater peace and happiness.
Christine de Guzman
Christine de Guzman
Christine de Guzman has been a mindfulness practitioner since 1999 and is a graduate of the Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification Program. In 2004, her practice changed and deepened in unexpected ways when she became a mother for the first time. Christine began teaching mindfulness to children in 2013 and has brought the Mindful Schools 16-lesson course to schools in Sacramento, Elk Grove, and Davis, CA. As a mindfulness in education consultant, she has given presentations and led workshops, trainings, and group work on mindfulness in schools, and provides individual coaching on teaching mindfulness.
Christine Klaassen-St Pierre
Christine Klaassen-St Pierre
Christine has been an educator for over 28 years and school administrator for 12 years in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada and is passionate about what Mindfulness can bring to youth and their families. She sees this practice underpinning success for youth and those whose lives they touch on a daily basis. She is a recently retired Vice Principal and now teaches at Yukon College in their Faculty of Education, where she advises and coaches new teachers how to create classrooms and schools where people feel safe, loved and celebrated. She has a Master’s in Education from the University of Ottawa and is a graduate of the 2014 Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification Program. She is also a restorative justice trainer and facilitator and Chair of the local Yukon Circle of Change and sits on the Challenge Day Board of Directors.
Amy Love has been an urban public school educator for over 20 years. During this time she has been a classroom teacher, intervention specialist, peer coach, professional development specialist, and curriculum writer. In addition to teaching mindfulness to students and teachers in public schools, Amy has taught mindfulness in a variety of other settings, such as prisons and community outreach programs. She is a graduate of Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification Program as well as Against the Stream’s Community Meditation Facilitator program. Amy currently facilitates at Against the Stream L.A.’s weekly People of Color sit as well as at a weekly community sit in South LA. Amy is particularly interested in bringing mindfulness practices to communities who have been impacted by historical racial trauma and experience suffering related to issues of poverty and migration.
Em loves nothing more than creating safe, fun, and healthy spaces for teens and adults to flourish. She has taught mindfulness in school settings, after-school programs, summer camps, and on young adult and teen retreats. She became interested in mindfulness and meditation in 2011, and is honored to have the chance to share the tools that have brought her so much joy, contentment, and peace in her life. Em has called Washington, D.C. home for thirteen years and works with public schools in DC providing technical assistance in Restorative Justice. She is also a Reiki practitioner, storyteller, dancer, biker, self-defense instructor, and activist.
Patricia Ward has over 35 years of experience working in schools with students, teachers and school leaders. With a Masters in the area of Learning Disabilities, Patti has served as a special education teacher consultant, a curriculum director, a professional learning consultant, title I director, and adjunct instructor at several universities. She currently teaches mindfulness to students, teachers and educational leaders. She created and guides “Mindful Moments in Education,” a network of practitioners dedicated to fostering a “kind and compassionate world through the practice and growth of Mindfulness in schools for students, staff and parents.” In addition to in-school mindfulness programs, she also offers private individual (or small group) sessions, mini-retreats, and professional development sessions.
Erin Woo transitioned into being a teacher in 2005 when she left her career as an architect to found and direct White Pine Montessori School. She discovered mindfulness at the core of Montessori education which eventually motivated her to start offering mindfulness to students in elementary, middle and high schools, and to teachers as well. Erin is now on the adjunct faculty at the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School where she develops mindfulness courses for educators. At NHTI Community College she is an adjunct professor of English and teaches a mindfulness-based communications course. Erin is currently a teacher of MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) and leads a weekly meditation group in her community. One of the lasting benefits of the Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification Program is the dear friendships she’s developed through a weekly online meditation group that she started in 2015.
Eve Ekman, PhD
UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
Eve Ekman, PhD
Eve Ekman is a clinical instructor at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and head of emotional awareness at Wisdom Labs. At Wisdom Labs she provides expertise in how to use contemplative science research to support resilience and curriculum development through a lens of emotional awareness. She teaches both in-person and virtual programs, and supports the company’s research efforts. Eve’s research interests were inspired by her experience as a medical social worker in the emergency department of San Francisco General Hospital coupled with her training in the applied emotion regulation and mindfulness intervention with Cultivating Emotional Balance, CEB. At the Osher Center for Integrative medicine Eve continues to refine the conceptual framework, research and training in the areas of meaning, empathy and burnout. In addition to research Eve provides training to a wide array of clients in technology, health care, criminal justice, law and education both domestically and internationally.
Dacher Keltner, PhD
Greater Good Science Center
Dacher Keltner, PhD
Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley, where he directs the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab. He is also the founder and faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center. As a social psychologist, Dacher focuses on the prosocial emotions, such as love, sympathy and gratitude, and processes such as teasing and flirtation that enhance bonds. He has conducted empirical studies in three areas of inquiry. A first looks at the determinant and effects of power, hierarchy and social class. A second in concerned with the morality of everyday life, and how we negotiate moral truths in teasing, gossip, and other reputational matters. A third and primary focus in on the biological and evolutionary basis of the benevolent affects, including compassion, awe, love, gratitude, and laughter and modesty. He is the author of The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence and Born to Be Good, and a co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct.
Daniel Rechtschaffen, MFT, is the author of The Way of Mindful Education and The Mindful Education Workbook. He organizes the annual Mindfulness in Education Conference and Teacher Training at the Omega Institute. Daniel offers keynote speeches and mindfulness trainings at conferences, schools, communities, and businesses, such as University of Wisconsin Madison, Google, Esalen Institute, and schools around the globe. Daniel teaches mindfulness through music, sports, storytelling, games and other creative and engaging ways. He is inspired to utilize mindfulness to help us become more conscious, compassionate, and committed to taking care of this miraculous world we live in. He is the founding director of Mindful Education, a mindfulness and social emotional learning platform for educators.
"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, 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 and Learning Modules
In our blended learning model, the week-long residential retreats bookend the year-long program. These retreats are the embodied expression of the wisdom and compassion that comes from our mindfulness practice. For the program’s participants, they offer a uniquely rich and immersive practice experience that supports growth and development in two ways:
- Personal 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.
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: Dedicated small groups with whom reflection assignments and practice teaching feedback is shared. Groups stay connected through online discussion and monthly, hour-long live video calls led by Guiding Teachers.
- 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.
Our faculty brings their expertise and experiences from a wide variety of backgrounds and guides the learning journey through the following modules.
Our Mindful Teacher certification program is now in its fifth year, having supported over 800 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 curriculum to deliver a high-quality mindfulness program that can adapt to the unique needs of school-specific circumstances, populations, and cultures.
- Life-long 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.
Outcomes and Certification Process
The Mindful Teacher 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 and teach the Mindful Schools 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.
Following the Closing Retreat, participants who desire certification and have completed all course components will submit a portfolio of materials for review. The Mindful Schools Certification 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.
Retreat Dates and Locations
The 2018-2019 Mindful Teacher program begins and ends with five-day in-person, residential retreats. We offer an Eastern U.S. opening retreat in New York state, and a Western U.S. opening retreat in Colorado. Program participants can choose (on a first-come-first-serve basis) which retreat (East or West) they would like to attend. After the opening retreat, we transition into the 10-month interactive remote-learning phase of the program. The program concludes with a five-day in-person closing retreat, with similar Eastern and Western U.S. venue options. To explore the retreat venues, the lodging and cost options, please visit the venues directly.
Dates and Locations of Opening Retreats:
- Western U.S. Retreat: 8/5/18 – 8/10/18 at Shambhala Mountain Retreat Center in Red Feathers, CO
- Eastern U.S. Retreat: 7/2/2018 –7/7/2018 at Garrison Institute in Garrison, NY
Dates and Locations of Closing Retreats:
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.
Program Tuition coming soon
- Note: Tuition fees 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 coming soon
Mindful Schools is aware that many educators face financial hardships, and that is why we will provide up to forty, 50% off of full tuition 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 Application Dates: Coming soon
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 applicants have a regular mindfulness practice and complete the following mindfulness training courses or equivalents.
- 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 the course with a shared understanding of the Mindful Schools practice framework prior to engaging in the deeper work required by the Mindful Teacher program.
How to Apply
Please join our Mindful Teacher email list to receive updates about our 2019-2020 program!
Additional Program Information
Additional questions? Please read our FAQs or reach out to us at email@example.com.
Ready to join the program? Please join our Mindful Teacher email list to be notified when applications open for the 2019-2020 program.