CARE was developed by Patricia Jennings,
Christa Turksma and Richard C. Brown with support
from the Garrison Institute.

Patricia (Tish) Jennings, M.Ed, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennings is a Professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Previously, she was the Director of the Contemplative Teaching and Learning Initiative at the Garrison Institute and Research Assistant Professor in the Prevention Research Center at Penn State University. Dr. Jennings received her doctorate in human development from the University of California, Davis. She lead the CARE faculty team in developing The Garrison Institute’s Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) and she has conducted research to examine how CARE improves teacher well-being, classroom atmosphere and improved student academic performance. She has led a series of federally funded studies to evaluate the outcomes of CARE (see CARE Research tab). Dr. Jennings’ has authored Mindfulness for Teachers (2015) and The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom (2018).

Christa Turksma, Drs.

Christa 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® curriculum 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. She coordinates all workshops and the certification of new facilitators. Christa is very interested in further developing mindfulness based programs for people in other stressful occupations.

Elaine Berrena

Elaine Berrena has been working at Pennsylvania State University for over 25 years. She is interested in improving the well-being of children, youth, families, and educators. She has worked on a variety of research projects to improve the lives of students and teachers, including PATHS®, Learning to BREATHE, Mindfulness Strengthening Families Program 10-14, and PROSPER, among others. During her career as a prevention program specialist, Elaine has published several peer reviewed journal articles. When she isn’t teaching mindfulness and social-emotional learning skills, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike, and family, especially her grandchildren!

Rebecca Cortes Ph.D.

Dr. Rebecca C. Cortes is a research scientist at Cultivate Learning in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She has a strong interest in empowering adult learners to engage in best practices that promote optimal child development. She served as the lead developer of the UW Certificate in Practice-Based Coaching, an in-person/online program that provides a unified professional development system for coaches in WA State. Dr. Cortes is co-developer of the evidence-based PATHS® PreK/K curriculum and lead author of the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start edition of PATHS® PreK curriculum, both of which aim to enhance the social, emotional and academic competence of young children. Her work as a PATHS® curriculum developer and trainer for over 20 years has led to her strong interest in and support of mindfulness as an essential professional development practice for early childhood educators.

Tina Raspanti, M.Ed, CAPP

Tina Raspanti, M.Ed, CAPP,  is a Psychology teacher at Mt. Lebanon High School in Pittsburgh, PA. She has developed many partnerships with the business community and local Universities, been awarded several grants and recently named as an “Unboxed Teacher” in the western PA region. Tina is a mindful educator with a growth mindset for herself and others. She continues to lean into the opportunities and lessons life presents both in times of joy and struggles. Her specific interests in education are mindfulness, social emotional learning, positive psychology and mental well being. She wants to create Mindful and Compassionate environments for Educators, Students, Businesses and Communities.

Sebrina Doyle

Sebrina Doyle is a University Graduate Fellow at Penn State in Educational Leadership where her research focuses on the necessary ingredients for a positive school environment that supports wellbeing of students, teachers, staff, and administrators. She has been a part of the CARE research team since 2011 and has multiple resulting publications and presentations on the research behind CARE; she is a certified facilitator for the program and has delivered trainings to both teachers and administrators. She has also provided mindfulness trainings to other audiences including juvenile justice and juvenile probation, and has received training in MBSR and Learning to BREATHE.

Velma L. Cobb Ed D.

Velma L. Cobb, Ed.D., CPCC, ACC, is Director of the Lander Center for Educational Research in the Touro College Graduate School of Education in New York. Her approach incorporates culturally responsive-sustaining practices, social and emotional intelligence, mindfulness and other contemplative practices, and positive psychology methodologies with equity and anti-bias lens. Principal and Founder of the V L. Cobb Leadership Group, Velma is a certified leadership coach; trained CARE (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Educators) facilitator; licensed Bigger Game© trainer; and a Leadership Circle Profile (LCP)© and LCP Culture Survey© 360 assessment practitioner. Currently, she is serving as a Meta-Coach with the Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching Certification Program.

Anthony DeMauro, Ph.D.

Anthony DeMauro, PhD, is the Associate Director of Dalai Lama Fellows at the University of Virginia’s Contemplative Sciences Center. In this role, he works with young leaders around the world to integrate contemplation with social innovation and solve global challenges in locally adapted ways that promote human flourishing. Hi research has focused on how K-12 teachers’ personal mindfulness practices influence their ability to build relationships with students, manage their classrooms, and meet students’ needs. His scholarly work emerged from his own experiences working in educational settings as a teacher, clinician, coach, and consultant. Additionally, Anthony cofacilitates mindfulness retreats for teenagers with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme).

Adi Flesher, M.Ed.

Adi Flesher, M.Ed has over 30 years of experience in the field of education, with a particular emphasis on mindfulness, social and emotional learning and experiential education. He has a passion for helping teens, young adults and educators understand their own minds and brains in ways that promote curiosity, happiness and health. Adi is a lecturer in the department of Counseling, Leadership, Literacy and Special Education at Lehman College, City University of New York, and former director of the Contemplative Teaching and Learning Initiative at the Garrison Institute.  He is currently a candidate at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. Flesher received an M.Ed in Mind, Brain and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and daughter.

Adam Diliberto, Ed.D.

Adam Diliberto, Ed.D. is the Academic Coordinator of The Bridge Program at Wellesley High School in Wellesley, MA. The Bridge Program is designed to be a short-term support for students returning from hospitalizations for emotional or medical reasons. Adam as been affiliated with CARE since 2009 and enjoys facilitating the CARE retreats each summer. Before becoming an educator Adam was a radio disc jockey at MAGIC 106.7 in Boston.

Sukhdeep Gill, Ph.D.

Dr. Gill is a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and a faculty affiliate of the Bennett-Pierce Prevention Research Center (PRC) and Child Study Center at Penn State. She has been the recipient of a UNDP fellowship. She is a member of Early Child Development and Peacebuilding working group associated with Asia-Pacific Regional Network of Early Childhood (ARNEC). She served as an EAPRO/UNICEF consultant on developing curriculum to promote social emotional learning during early childhood. Her current research focuses on training, support, and functioning of staff working with parents and young children and preventive interventions for families with young children from poverty backgrounds to promote health, social-emotional development, and school readiness.

Polina P. Mischenko, ABD

Polina Mischenko is a Ph.D. student at the Univ. of Virginia. Her mission is to help educators and learners of all ages to cultivate ease and joy within their personal and professional lives – to feel content, yet empowered to initiate personal and systemic transformation. Working with Dr. Tish Jennings (her PhD advisor, Polina is researching what it takes to teach mindfulness in elementary schools. She assists Charlottesville City Schools with their mindfulness-based initiatives and conducts CARE, yoga workshops, and mindfulness classes for teachers and school faculty in Virginia. Previously, Polina was involved in the international education field at UNESCO in Switzerland, her Master’s studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education and her Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Spain.

Sarah Hraha Ph.D.

Dr. Hraha has over 25 years of experience in education, 19 of which in Montessori. She has experience in educational leadership, teacher education, professional development and social emotional learning (SEL). Sarah’s passion for SEL started when she was a teacher. As she taught SEL skills to her students, she observed a significant positive change in the children, herself and the overall classroom environment. Sarah then pursue her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Adler University in Chicago and to lead school-wide SEL. Sarah studied the CARE program for her dissertation. She is currently the Director of Social Emotional Learning at a Montessori school in Denver, Colorado and a child and family psychotherapist.

Amy Burke, M.Ed

Amy Burke is an educational consultant who spent 15 years as a high school teacher and guidance counsellor in Canada and The Netherlands. She holds a Masters Degree in Contemplative Education from Naropa University and in 2012 she co-founded MindWell ( whose aim is to support educational communities in fostering wellbeing through mindfulness and social-emotional learning. She is a lead trainer for the Mindfulness in Schools Project (UK). Amy also supports the Community of Contemplative Education through Mind & Life Europe. She is also a Mentor for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme,UK) teen retreats. Amy works internationally in schools and universities providing workshops and retreats for educators, students and parents with a focus on self-care and stress management.

Kevin Hawkins

Kevin Hawkins has worked with young people for over 30 years:as teacher, school head, and social worker in the UK, Africa, and Europe. For 10 years, he was Middle School Principal at the International School of Prague (Czech Republic). He is a Senior Trainer for the Mindfulness in Schools Project (UK). In 2012 he co- founded MindWell, which supports educational communities in developing wellbeing through mindfulness and SEL. Kevin has been a consultant to the International Baccalaureate Organization on SEL and mindfulness and and supports the Community of Contemplative Education through Mind & Life Europe. Kevin is a speaker, writer and presenter on the topics of mindfulness, wellbeing and SEL. His book on mindfulness in education, Mindful Teacher, Mindful School: Improving Wellbeing in teaching and learning, was published by SAGE in July 2017.

Jennifer Woods, M.Ed

Jennifer Woods has worked with adults, teens and children in diverse, international contexts for almost 30 years as teacher, coach and workshop facilitator. She teaches mindfulness as self-care to educators and caregivers. She also teaches mindfulness to young people. Her current intention is to adapt mindfulness practices for the refugee and migrant communities, and to teach within that context. Jennifer’s expertise includes working with multilingual and multicultural groups, including translators. She has lived in Germany over 15 years and is a fluent German speaker.

Valerie Lovelane M.S.

Valerie Lovelace is the Executive Director of Greater Capital Region Teacher Center. As certified Pre-K – 6 teacher, Valerie has designed and facilitated professional learning experiences for educators for over two decades. Valerie obtained her B.S. in Elementary Education, M.S. in Teacher Education and Graduate Certificate in School District Business Leadership at the College of St. Rose. She is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program at the Esteves School of Education at The Sage Colleges. In addition, she has worked at Questar III BOCES and in higher education at SUNY Schenectady. Valerie is proud to serve as Co-Chair of the New York State Teacher Center (NYSTC) Network.

Laurie Seidel

Laurie Seidel is the Coordinator for Mindfulness Programs for Roanoke City Public Schools, bringing evidence-based mindfulness curricula to leaders, teachers, staff, and students. She has been a mindfulness practitioner for 19 years working with educators, leaders, students, and healthcare professionals to foster greater well-being and compassion. Ms. Seidel holds a faculty appointment at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine (VTCSOM) where she teaches a course on mindfulness for medical students. She is the principal investigator of research at Carilion Clinic to evaluate a mindfulness-based practice course designed for healthcare professionals. Laurie chairs the Board of Directors for the Mindfulness Institute of the Roanoke Valley and she leads initiatives to bring mindfulness and compassion to her region.

Patricio Barriga MBA

Patricio Barriga has more than 30 years’ experience in Global Business development as Entrepreneur, Consultant and Coach.  He serves as International Relations Coordinator and Senior Instructor with the Institute for Mindful Leadership. He is a qualified MBSR and he is a qualified Mindful Leadership Senior Instructor, receiving his training from the Institute for Mindful Leadership. He is also certified as instructor for Mindfulness without Borders program for Youth and educators. Patricio has presented workshops, retreats, seminars and keynotes in chools, universities, congresses and corporations in Europe, US and South America. He is a bilingual native Spanish speaker.

Lynne Ogren

Lynne Ogren is a retired New York State and National Board Certified Spanish teacher. In her 32 years of teaching, Lynne taught all grade levels in both Spanish and English, including the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program to both Colombia and Mexico. In addition to offering CARE, she is a professional development instructor with the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center based in Albany, NY, where she specializes in work related to teaching students in poverty, trauma, brain-based instruction, mindfulness, restorative practices and resilience in schools.