Encouraging Compassion, Understanding, and Resilence in Education
Board of Directors
Michelle is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the Crime, Justice, and Security Studies Program at The University of the District of Columbia (UDC), where she teaches courses on restorative justice, urban ethnography, and youth development. As a contemplative educator, she weaves meditation, music, and introspective practices into her teaching to help deepen learning, and develop community. She is particularity interested in implementing culturally relevant, contemplative practices that foster critical inquiry and inspire justice activism. In her inspiring TEDx talk, “How Africa Changed My Life,” Michelle links her contemplative journey to her volunteerism in The Gambia, West Africa. Her research examines how gentrification and urban inequality impacts the social well-being and cultural expression of African American communities. Her article, “At Eshu’s Crossroad: Pan African Identity in a Changing City” is featured in the Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, DC, edited by Derek Hyra and Sabiyha Prince (Routledge 2016). Michelle sits on the Board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and AHEAD, Incorporated, which sponsors self-help projects in The Gambia, and Tanzania.
Morris H Ervin, Jr. is an educator, entertainer, motivational speaker, and Youth Development Professional committed to helping the youth, families, communities, and institutions “turn fear into strength, and pain into passion.” Morris is the founder of Mansa Consulting and he has provided assemblies, workshops, mentoring programs, and leadership camps/retreats to thousands of students in over a dozen school districts across the country. The core of Morris’s philosophy is deeply rooted in Social Emotional Learning, Contemplative Education, and Restorative Practices.
Morris has spread his excitement, optimism, and passion to schools, churches, community centers, juvenile detention camps, colleges, and universities from the east to the west coast. Mansa Consulting has partnered with organizations such as FAMLI INC, Peace Over Violence, Making A Difference Consulting, and The California Conference for Equality and Justice providing Teen Summits that shape and empower our future leaders of tomorrow.
Morris is also partnering with the Karamu House and Thea Bowman center to integrate summer enrichment programming for the youth in Mt. Pleasant and the Fairfax neighborhoods. Morris currently speaks on issues of race, diversity and stress management for local, regional, and national schools, non-profits, corporations and universities and he actively teaches mindfulness trainings in schools and after-school programs to disenfranchised youth.
Tim has been in public education since 1988, and currently teaches art and humanities at Highview Middle School in Minnesota. After training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), he began sharing mindfulness with teachers and students in his district. In addition, he has presented at the Minnesota Middle School Association conference, the Mindfulness in Education Network conference, as well as offering mindfulness for adults through NAMI Minnesota.
Julie has been teaching K-12 science in a variety of school settings—public, private, charter, urban, suburban, and even international—since 2008. Throughout this time, mindfulness practices have helped her reconnect with the intentions that support her work, continually revitalizing her relationship with teaching and learning. She has collaborated with colleagues to practice mindfulness with teachers through professional development workshops and presentations on the district, state, and national level. As a doctoral student in Boston College’s Curriculum and Instruction program, Julie is researching the impact of immigration policies on teaching and learning in distinct contexts of reception.
ElizabethKriynovich, MA, CALP
Elizabeth has more than a decade of experience working and teaching in independent schools. Since 2009, she has been passionate about bringing mindfulness practices into the classroom, and specifically supporting the needs of students with learning disabilities using mindfulness. Her primary mindfulness trainings have been in the Thich Nhat Hanh tradition, and she is a member of Wake Up Schools, a worldwide community of educators in the Plum Village tradition. Elizabeth is also a certified yoga teacher. She has led workshops and presentations on using mindfulness in the classroom nationwide, and has trained in both yoga and mindfulness meditation around the world.
Andrew Jordan Nance is the founder of Mindful Arts San Francisco, whose mission is to provide volunteer mindfulness educators to teach at underserved San Francisco schools. Mr. Nance is also an author, having written Puppy Mind, Mindful Arts in the Classroom, and The Lion in Me. He is also an award-winning actor and director. For almost thirty years he taught performing arts to students from diverse backgrounds, and for eighteen years he was the Conservatory Director at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center. He is trained in Mindfulness primarily through Mindful Schools & Spirit Rock Retreat Center. He is on the board of directors of several other educational nonprofit organizations including Mindful Life Project in Richmond, California; San Francisco's New Conservatory Theater Center; and Arts Ed Matters, a California-based arts-integration organization. Mr.Nance lives in San Francisco.
Dzung X.Vo, MD, FAAP
Dzung is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada. He co-developed a program called MARS-A, or Mindful Awareness and Resilience Skills for Adolescents. Dr. Vo is the author of The Mindful Teen. Dr. Vo also serves on the Board of Directors for the BC Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM) and the Mindfulness in Education Network (MiEN). Dr. Vo’s root mindfulness teacher is the Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and he hopes to share the benefits of mindfulness to diverse youth in a universal, secular way.
Chris is a psychologist and educational consultant specializing in mindfulness with adolescents and young adults. He has been practicing meditation for over 15 years, leading workshops and trainings locally and internationally on the topic of mindfulness with young people. He teaches at Harvard Medical School and Lesley University. Chris also serves on the board of directors at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He is the author of Child’s Mind (2010), Growing Up Mindful (2016) and other books on mindfulness with children, teens and families.