Rachel Armentano is an award-winning art educator and curriculum developer versed in working with all age groups in schools, museums, and beyond. She is the founder of Harbor Creative Arts, through which she leads workshops around Rhode Island and offers guidance via social media for encouraging creativity in children. Rachel is committed to building positive community, connections, confidence, and culture through meaningful art activities.
The Art of Service
Mindfulness & Art: Circles, Shapes, Mandalas & Collaboration
Gabriel Baldwin has taught over 10,000 children, teens, and teachers mindfulness as an independent contractor serving public schools in Greater Boston and leading mindfulness retreats for youth. He has completed mindfulness training with the Hakomi Institute, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, Mindful Schools, Mindfulness in Schools Project, and Calmer Choice.
Workshop Your Successful Mindfulness Program
Adam is an educator, coach, and public speaker. His personal journey through addiction led him to active practices of mindfulness and gratitude in his teaching and in his personal life. Adam’s presentations focus on positivity and changing mindsets to decrease anxiety and increase happiness.
The Healing Power of Gratitude
Trixie is the Lower School Art Teacher at Rocky Hill Country Day School. She has been an educator for 35 years having taught pre-school, mathematics, art history, and fine arts. She is also an athletics coach of multiple sports and ages. Trixie received mindfulness training through Center for Resilience. Her developing knowledge of mindfulness education has provided her the opportunity to recognize mindful moments throughout various aspects of her art curriculum. The use of a variety of techniques, particularly with the repetitive nature of some art forms seek to enhance the mind-body connection.
Traci Fairchild, LCSW
Director of Counseling & Wellness, Rocky Hill School
Traci Fairchild is in her third year as Director of Counseling and Wellness at Rocky Hill Country Day School. She previously taught physical education and health for over a decade at RHCD and served as an adviser in Middle School. She found the need to pursue more coursework as a counselor, earning a master's degree in social work at Rhode Island College. She trained in mindfulness through Center for Resilience in the first RHCD cohort of faculty over six years ago when their partnership began. Traci is thankful that she is able to work across the divisions with students, faculty, and parents to support them in being navigators of their own health in mind, body, and spirit.
Conference Team Member
Peter Franklin is a Certified Mindfulness Instructor (CMI) and the Chief Mindfulness Guy at Mindful Educator. Peter specializes in mindfulness training and program development for both public and independent K-12 schools. He is a much sought-after resource as well for faculty and staff professional development.
School-wide Mindfulness Implementation
Wendy Gustavel is an educator with twenty years of experience teaching students in grades PreK through graduate school. She earned her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of New Hampshire. Wendy is a certified Breathe For Change yoga and wellness instructor who believes that caregivers who care for themselves can more effectively care for their loved ones and their communities.
Mindful Movement and Making
Jessica Janze, M.A.
Jessica is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research is focused on the implementation of mindfulness in school settings, specifically on the importance of support and training for mindfulness teachers. She places value on her personal meditation and yoga practice as a driving factor for her work.
Embodying the Mindfulness Practice
Fiona Jensen is the Founder/CEO of Calmer Choice, a non-profit that provides mindfulness based SEL programs to students throughout Cape Cod and Southeastern MA. To date, Calmer Choice has reached over 32,000 students/teachers in 9 different school districts. Calmer Choice has collaborated with researchers from Tufts, Yale and MIT to establish the efficacy of it program.
Is your program REALLY secular?
Joe Karr, MEd
Joe Karr has been combining science education with mindfulness for over ten years. He has worked with grades K-12 in formal and informal settings always bringing fun, patience, and passion. His integrated approach to teaching combines curriculum goals with a holistic understanding of, and connection to, all life. This is what cultural historian Thomas Berry calls the “Great Work”. He currently teaches science and physical education at Rocky Hill Country Day School.
Wynne Kinder, M.Ed.
Wynne’s teaching career spans 30 years, half of which has focused on bringing mindfulness and trauma-informed strategies into regular, special and alternative education classrooms (K-12) through her program Wellness Works in Schools. Wynne is the author of: GoNoodle’s mindful channels FLOW, Think About It, and Maximo. Her other published works include The Re-Set Process & Related Trauma-Informed Behavior Strategies with Dyane Carrere and I Am ~ I Can – 365 Affirmations for Kids (both come out summer of 2020) as well as CALM – Mindfulness for Kids (2019), and mindful curricula for classrooms: Peace Work, Mindful Moods, and Mindful Choices. Her latest work is creating and teaching graduate courses Trauma, Restoration & Resilience in Educational Environments and Self-Care & Resilience for Educators at Eastern Mennonite University.
Trauma in the Room
Amy has been a Kindergarten teacher in Providence at the William D’Abate School for over 20 years. She was a Golden Apple recipient in 2014. Amy received a BS in Early Childhood Education and Psychology from Rhode Island College. She has been practicing mindfulness with her students for seven years as well as at home with her husband and four children.
Integrating Mindfulness Through the Common Core
Amy Lopes attended Rhode Island College where she earned her degree in Elementary Education. She is currently enrolled in a Master’s program at Brown University where she is studying cross-cultural education. Amy has served the Providence community for the past twenty three years as a fifth-grade teacher. She has practiced mindfulness for the past seven years with Center for Resilience.
Integrating Mindfulness Through the Common Core
Caity is currently a 5th grade teacher at Rocky Hill School. She earned her master’s degree in education from Boston University. She has been teaching for seven years, with experience in public and private school in the upper elementary grades. Caity has integrated mindfulness into her 5th grade classroom and in her own personal life for the last four years after being trained by Center for Resilience. Some of her favorite practices include journaling, mediation, mindful games, and mindful coloring. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family at the beach, teaches cycling, and loves to cook.
Creating and Maintaining a Mindful Classroom
Marie Mechtaly was born & raised in Denmark, but now resides in Newport, RI. She has been professionally trained & certified through the prominent Coaching & Leadership School, Co-active Training Institute (affiliated with ICF). Marie ‘s mission is to train leaders within schools & organizations to become more conscious in their leadership – using Co-Active coaching & leadership tools. She is a passionate coach and facilitator, dedicated to her mission of helping to develop conscious leaders of all ages in schools and small organizations.
Utilizing Active Listening and Powerful Questions Within Schools
Marie’s mindfulness journey began in 2005, when her daughter’s kindergarten teacher first taught belly breathing to her students. Mindfulness remains both a fundamental parenting tool and the basis for Marie’s work in schools. Combining her love of children and creativity, Marie designs age-appropriate curriculum that is both engaging and effective.
Effective Lesson Planning for Mindful Classrooms
Massachusetts native Valerie has been working with youth since she started babysitting at age twelve. Her care and nurturing of our next generation continued throughout high school and college, with jobs in childcare, camp, and dance instruction. In 2016, Val graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.A. in Youth Development and a concentration in psychology and communications. She especially enjoyed the opportunities she had to work with individual students during some of her courses, helping them to feel success in their work. An integral member of the CFR team, Valerie can often be found behind the scenes ensuring the success of trainings and events, out in the community managing trainings and partnerships, or in front of a screen posting all things social media. When not supporting CFR, she is still teaching dance classes to children ages 18 months-18 years, just now with a little more of a mindful approach.
Conference Team Member
Patty Pontarelli, Head of Lower School at Rocky Hill Country Day School for the past seven years and previously first grade teacher at RHCD for twelve years, is committed to the authentic integration of mindfulness education within school communities and the value of routine self-care practices for children and adults. Patty begins each day turning on an essential oil diffuser and a favorite meditative Pandora radio station to establish a peaceful atmosphere for faculty, students, and families. She completed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an eight-week evidence-based program offering intensive mindfulness training, as well as training through Center for Resilience, focusing on self-care and the application of strategies and mindfulness practices in the workplace.
Conference Team Member
Christyn Schroeder, founder of KidPowerment Yoga, is based in Boston and teaches educators both nationally and internationally. Deeply passionate about the profound benefits yoga and mindfulness can bring to kids, her organization facilitates classes for more than 1,500 kids a week in the greater Boston area. With over 20 years of experience, Christyn is regarded as an expert in her field and has presented at the National Children’s Yoga Conference, the National Conference on Children and Homelessness, as well as countless workshops and inservices for teachers around the country.
Moving Mindfully Through Transitions
Joan Tetrault, M.S.W., MS.Ed.
Joan Tetrault, MSW, MS.Ed, has sixteen years of experience teaching executive function, SEL, and special education. She co-teaches an eighth-grade mindfulness elective, promotes mindfulness practices for teachers and students, and is the founder of Educating Mindfully New England. Joan completed the CfM 8-week MBSR Program (2014) and 13-week MBSR Program for Educators (2018).
Integrating Mindfulness into Your School Community
With a practice that started in adolescence, Vanessa Weiner is passionate about sharing mindfulness with people of all ages. She founded the organization in 2012 to serve our next generation. Now in its 8th year, she and her team have worked with over 7,000 students in a unique school-based social and emotional learning program, the first of its kind in Rhode Island. Evolving to best serve the needs of the community, Vanessa and her team expanded the mission of the organization in 2015 to bring these trainings and practice opportunities to an increasing number of adults in the workplace and community groups— facilitating classes so that people of all ages can become more empowered, resilient, and self-aware. Vanessa authored a chapter in the recently published book, Teaching Mindfulness Skills to Kids and Teens, and is a contributing author for Best Practices for Yoga in Schools. She has presented locally at the Rhode Island Business Group on Health Wellness Breakfast, Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance conference, Rhode Island Occupational Therapists Association conference, the Social Enterprise Ecosystem for Economic Development Summit, and is a regular guest lecturer at Brown and Rhode Island College. Nationally, she has spoken at the National Kids Yoga Conference and the Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference. She can also be found creating in the kitchen or hanging out with her greatest teachers, her husband, and two children. Vanessa is grateful to be able to facilitate instruction through a wide variety of techniques with different groups of kids and adults every day, and continues to be amazed at just how transformational these practices can be.
Where do Mindfulness & Social and Emotional Learning Overlap?
Christopher Willard, PsyD
Dr. Christopher Willard (Psy. D.) is a clinical psychologist based in Boston, MA. He has been invited to more than two dozen countries to speak, and has presented at two TEDx events. He is the author of over a dozen books, including, Growing Up Mindful (2016) Raising Resilience (2017), and Alphabreaths (2019). He teaches at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Willard has been practicing meditation for over 20 years, and teaching for almost as long. His thoughts on mental health have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, mindful.org, cnn.com, and elsewhere.
Growing Mindful in the Age of Anxiety: Resilience and Self Regulation Skills
AM Session: Teens
PM Session: Elementary Students
Jenny Williams and Judy Hall
Judy and Jenny have taught Pre-Kindergarten. They work in tandem to incorporate breath work, meditation, affirmations, reflection, movement and relaxation. Whether using these tools for transitions or self-regulation (and everything in between) they have noticed a huge improvement in their daily routines creating a more peaceful and calm classroom. They have designed their own Mindfulness and Self-Care Curriculum and seek to share this with other educators and parents in the southern New England area.
Mindfulness and Self-care for Educators
Tara Wosiski is the art teacher at Moorestown Friends School, grades preschool through 5. She holds a master’s degree in teaching visual art from The University of the Arts. With fifteen years of teaching experience at a Friends School, Tara is deeply committed to the social and emotional growth of her students. Currently, she presents on mindfulness during monthly faculty meetings. Motivated by her knowledge and training in mindfulness, Tara’s pedagogical approach integrates mindfulness with creativity through a wide variety of projects and media. She leads annual large scale community works rooted in Quaker values and is energized by her student’s creativity.
Creativity, Mindfulness and Compassion