2014 Conference Information

Mindfulness: Foundation for Teaching and Learning

Seventh Annual Conference
March 14 – 16, 2014
American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
(Directions to campus)

Conference Videos | Conference Materials


Program of Events

  • Courageous Schools: Teaching & Leading in Tough Times ~ Friday, March 14
  • U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan, Keynote Address ~ Friday evening, March 14
  • Mindfulness in Education Symposium ~ Saturday, March 15
  • A Day of Mindfulness: Alive and Awake ~ Sunday, March 16

Mindfulness meditation has been practiced for thousands of years as a way to reduce suffering and cultivate inner peace. Research shows that mindfulness also enhances learning and attention. There is growing interest in the possibility that this ancient meditative practice can support education and learning for both children and adults. Many educational institutions, including UCLA, Stanford, UCSF, and PENN have embraced mindfulness as an educational intervention by introducing it into their curricula and conducting research in the field. This three-day event will explore the uses of mindfulness in education.

Download a conference flyer (.pdf)


Courageous Schools: Teaching and Leading in Tough Times

Friday, March 14, Full-day workshop, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
McDowell Formal Lounge, American University, Washington, D.C.
Please note: Registration for this workshop closed on 2/28.

Certificates of participation provided

This one-day workshop, part of the Courage in Schools Initiative of the Center for Courage & Renewal and a reprise of the workshop offered at our 2013 conference at Lesley University, introduces educators to approaches for personal and professional renewal and to practical applications that bring reflection and informal mindfulness practices into classrooms and support the building of relational trust in the adult community of school.

Workshop Facilitators

seiglePamela Seigle, MS, is Executive Director of Courage & Renewal Northeast. Pamela is the founder of the nationally recognized Open Circle Program, a social and emotional learning program based at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College. She is co-author of the Open Circle Curriculum.

cochraneSharlene Voogd Cochrane, PhD, is a professor in the Interdisciplinary Studies Master’s Degree at Lesley University. An educator for over 25 years, her research and writing focus on cultural identity, especially the interplay of gender, race, class and religion. Sharlene has been a Courage & Renewal Facilitator for ten years, facilitating a variety of multi-session and shorter Courage to Teach and Courage to Lead retreats.

woodChip Wood, MSW, is a Courage & Renewal Facilitator for Leading Together: Building Adult Community in Schools. He received his M.S.W. from Howard University School of Social Work and is a Fellow of The Origins Program in Minneapolis, MN. Chip is an author, co-founder of the Northeast Foundation for Children, and co-creator of the Responsive Classroom® approach to teaching.

snakowskiLisa Sankowski, EdM, is a Courage & Renewal Facilitator, Program Manager of the Courage in Schools initiative of the Center for Courage & Renewal, and Associate Director of Courage & Renewal Northeast based at Wellesley College.

glaserKathleen Glaser, MA, is a national facilitator for the Center for Courage and Renewal and conducts Courage to Teach and Courage to Lead retreats. She is a co-founder of the Chesapeake Courage Collaborative and has over thirty years experience in public schools, serving as a teacher, elementary school principal, college professor, and supervisor of student teachers.

petrashJack Petrash, MA, is the founder and director of the Nova Institute and co-founder of the Chesapeake Courage Collaborative. He is an educator with over thirty years of classroom experience and a Courage & Renewal Facilitator.


Tim Ryan, Keynote Address: The Coming Revolution

Friday, March 14th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
American University, Washington, D.C.
Check-in and register on the ground floor of the Ward Circle Building.
Cost: $30* (on-site registration will be available by cash and check only)

Congressman Ryan will explore the current state of affairs of food, education and healthcare in the United States. These are all amazingly interconnected systems that are at critical to our overall well-being and need to be better understood if we were to create a mindful nation. He will also introduce the important work required by each of us in launching the Mindful Nation Movement.

ryanU.S. Congressman Tim Ryan, JD, United States Representative for Ohio’s 17th congressional district and author of A Mindful Nation, is a mindfulness practitioner and champion of efforts to improve the health and well-being of American families and children.

Mindfulness in Education Symposium

Saturday, March 15th, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
American University, Washington, D.C.
Check-in, registration and breakfast will take place in the atrium of the School of International Service (SIS) Building. Parking is available in the garage under the building.
The plenary panel will take place in the ground floor auditorium of the Ward Circle Building.
Cost, including breakfast and lunch: $200* (on-site registration will be available by cash and check only)

Certificates of participation provided

Mindfulness-Based Education (MBE), a powerful tool to decrease stress, deepen learning, enhance academic performance, and promote emotional and social well-being, is increasingly recognized as essential for students, educators and parents. MBE may help to develop the capacity for attention and awareness, creating optimal conditions for teaching and learning. This day-long symposium will include a plenary panel consisting of leaders in the field, interest group networking sessions, and mindfulness workshop sessions.

Saturday Conference Schedule

8:30 – 9:00 Conference registration and breakfast

9:00 – 10:30 Conference opening and Plenary Panel Presentations

  • Mirabai Bush, Co-founder and Senior Fellow, Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, coauthor of Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning
  • Mark T. Greenberg, PhD, Bennett Chair of Prevention Research, Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University
  • Andres Gonzalez, MBA, Atman Smith, BA & Ali Smith, BS are Co-founders of the Holistic Life Foundation

10:45 – 11:45 Interactive discussion with panel members

11:45 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 – 2:15 Interest Groups

  • Teaching Young Children
  • Teaching Middle/High school
  • Teaching University Students
  • Teaching Teachers
  • Mindfulness and Counseling
  • Teaching Body Centered Practices

2:30 – 3:45 Workshops

  • Inviting and Supporting Contemplative Inquiry – Kathryn Byrnes, PhD, Teacher Educator at Bowdoin College
  • Learning to Use Our Digital Tools in a More Mindful Way – David Levy, PhD, Professor at the University of Washington, Information School
  • Garrison Institute’s CARE for Teachers Program – Christa Turksma, DRS, CARE Program Developer and Facilitator
  • Teaching and Enhancing Empathy – Peggy Smith, Founder and Trainer, Open Communication
  • Contemplative Environmental Studies – Paul Wapner, PhD, Professor, School of International Service at American University
  • The iBme and .b Programs – Jessica Morey, Executive Director, iBme
  • The Calm Classroom Program – Jai and Joy Luster, Co-founders, Calm Classroom

4:00 – 4:30 Conference closing

Plenary Panel

bushMirabai Bush, ABD, is a cofounder and a senior fellow of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. She has developed contemplative programs and taught leaders in higher education, law, environment, journalism, philanthropy, business, and activism for more than 20 years. With Google’s Chade-Meng Tan and Zen teacher Norman Fischer, she developed the original curriculum for Search Inside Yourself. Her recent books include Contemplative Practices in Higher Education with Daniel Barbezat and Working with Mindfulness: Research and Practice of Mindful Techniques in Organizations.

greenbergMark Greenberg, Ph.D., holds the Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development. He is the Direction of the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development and the Associate Director for the Penn State Consortium on Children, Youth and Families. His research focuses on the role of individual, family and community level factors in prevention.

gonzalezAndres Gonzalez, MBA, is cofounder and chief financial officer for the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. A yoga instructor and coauthor of a high school physical education curriculum based on yoga principles, he has been practicing and teaching yoga for the past 10 years to diverse populations at Baltimore public schools, drug treatment centers, wellness centers, and colleges.

atman_smithAtman Smith is a Co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, where after 10 years of serving as Director of Youth Programming, he currently serves as the Director of Fundraising. Atman has co-authored several yoga and mindfulness based curricula, as well as numerous workshops and trainings. His work with the Holistic Life Foundation has been featured on Making a Difference on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, PBS, and in Mindful magazine, Yoga Journal, and the book A Mindful Nation by Congressman Tim Ryan.

ali_smithAli Smith is a Co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation. Ali and his brother Atman learned yoga, mindfulness and meditation from their parents as children. The Holistic Life Foundation has served nearly 5,000 youth and 1,000 adults through yoga and mindfulness programs. They are partnering with Johns Hopkins and Penn State Universities on a federally funded research trial on the effectiveness of yoga and mindfulness on urban youth.

Workshop Facilitators

byrnesKathryn Byrnes, Ph.D., is a Teacher Educator at Bowdoin College. She teaches a course on “Mindfulness in Education” and her dissertation, Portraits of Contemplative Teaching: A Third Way, focuses on contemplative pedagogy in teacher education and K-12 education and has recently been published in Encounter and the Journal of Transformative Education. She works with educators to integrate contemplative practices and principles in education. She is a certified yoga instructor and facilitator for the Cultivating Emotional Balance project.

levyDavid Levy, Ph.D., is a professor in the University of Washington Information School. A computer scientist by training, he has worked to understand contemporary challenges such as information overload and the acceleration of everyday life as the loss of “contemplative balance.” He is the author of Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age (Arcade, 2001) and is currently working on a book with the working title “No Time to Think.”

jaiJai Luster has taught and practiced yoga and meditation for over 40 years. Mr. Luster retired from a corporate career in 2001 to begin the development of his not-for-profit organization, Luster Learning Institute, and the Calm Classroom Program, a research-based school wide initiative that has been implemented in over 130 preschool through 12th grade schools located in the at-risk, urban neighborhoods of Chicago. As of 2013, the Calm Classroom program has reached 55,000 Chicago Public School students and their families, 4,000 teachers/school staff, and 1,000 administrators.

joyJoy Luster co-authored and edited the various instructional manuals for the Calm Classroom programs. She is a Calm Classroom teacher trainer and mentor and has been teaching yoga, meditation, and Jazzercise to children and adults for over 25 years.

moreyJessica Morey is the Executive Director of iBme. She began practicing meditation at age 14 on teen retreats offered by the Insight Meditation Society (IMS). Jessica has attended longer retreats (1-3 months) in Asia and the U.S., and is a founding board member and lead teacher for iBme teen retreats. Jessica also teaches the Mindfulness in Schools Project .b (dot b) as an ongoing class in Boston area high schools, a program which can serve as a pre-cursor for iBme’s more in-depth retreat programming.

peggy_smithPeggy Smith is a certified Nonviolent Communicationsm trainer and a co-founder of the Maine NVC Network. Peggy taught elementary and middle school in Maine for 32 years. Peggy has a keen interest in connecting people with their innate compassionate nature. She has a life long interest in spiritual traditions and the fostering of compassion. She has studied with Zen teacher and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh since 1991. She is a member of his Order of Interbeing.

turksmaChrista Turksma, is a child-clinical psychologist who received her training in The Netherlands. Before becoming a psychologist, she was a Kindergarten teacher and principal. Christa has worked on various research and intervention projects including the Fast Track Project in Seattle. Christa began providing training in the PATHS program (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) in 1988, and has trained thousands of teachers across the US, and in Canada, The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, England and Australia. Christa is a co-developer of the CARE for Teachers program.

wapnerPaul Wapner, Ph.D. is Professor of Global Environmental Politics in the School of International Service at American University, and author of Living Through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism, and Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics. His research focuses on Environmental Thought, Transnational Environmental Activism, Environmental Ethics, and Global Environmental Politics.


A Day of Mindfulness: Alive and Awake

Sunday, March 16th, Full-day workshop, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
American University, Washington, D.C.
Check-in and register in the Atrium of the School of International Service (SIS) Building
Cost, including lunch: $140* (on-site registration will be available by cash and check only.)

Come join us for a day of nourishing silence, mindful awareness practices and reflection. Develop your capacity to be fully alive, to rest in your present moment experience with openness and kindness. You will be guided through a variety of mindful awareness practices including sitting and walking meditation, mindful eating, and mindful movement. There will be meditations for cultivating sensory clarity, focus, loving- kindness and compassion. This day is for beginners as well as those with prior meditation experience.

“Only the day dawns to which you are awake.” Henry David Thoreau


mchenryIrene McHenry, PhD, is a psychologist, school consultant, author/editor of numerous publications including the 2009 Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning. She consults with organizations nationwide providing professional development and teaching mindfulness for administrators, faculty, trustees and aspiring leaders. Irene is a founder of several schools and initiated the founding of the Friends Council’s SPARC program – Spirited Practice and Renewed Courage, based on Parker Palmer’s teacher formation principles. She is the Executive Director of the Friends Council on Education and Board President for the Council for American Private Education.

Richard BradyRichard Brady, MS, is a writer, an educational consultant (www.mindingyourlife.net), and co-founder of the Mindfulness in Education Network. Richard’s publications include: Tuning In: Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning, McHenry and Brady, eds., 2009, Friends Council on Education, Philadelphia and “Learning to Stop, Stopping to Learn: Discovering the Contemplative Dimension in Education,” Journal of Transformative Education, 5, no.4, (2007): 372-394. Richard taught high school mathematics at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC for 34 years before retiring in 2007.



American University, Mindfulness in Education Network, Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, Friends Council on Education, Association for Mindfulness in Education, Courage & Renewal Northeast, Chesapeake Courage Collaborative


*Additional services charges will be applied



Submit cancellations via email: mindfulnessconference2014@gmail.com. Cancellations received by email prior to March 1 are eligible for a refund minus a processing fee. Cancellations received after March 1 are not eligible for any refund.
Contact: mindfulnessconference2014@gmail.com


Hotel Accommodations

A limited number of overnight accommodations are being held until February 14th at the Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase at 5520 Wisconsin Ave, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, at a rate of $119 plus tax, per night for Standard King Rooms or Standard Double Queen Rooms (2 beds). To reserve a room and receive the group discounted rate, please call (301) 656-1500 and mention the American University Mindfulness in Education Conference.

Located in the thriving, upscale shopping and dining district of Chevy Chase, this LEED Gold Certified hotel is just three blocks from the Friendship Heights Metro Station (red line) and two blocks from the Washington, DC boundary. All guests enjoy complimentary wireless internet access, full service restaurant (Trattoria 5520), 24 hour snack and sundry market, 24 hour fitness room, outdoor pool, bicycles, walking/running trail map and parking.


Contact Us

Website: http://www.mindfuled.org/
Email: info@mindfuled.org