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 an Associate Professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Prior to this position, she was the Senior Director of the Contemplative Teaching and Learning Initiative at the Garrison Institute and Research Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Studies and the Prevention Research Center at Penn State University. Dr. Jennings received her doctorate in human development from the University of California, Davis and completed postdoctoral training at the Health Psychology Program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She lead the CARE faculty team in the development of Garrison Institute’s Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) and she is conducting research to examine how CARE may improve teacher-student relationships, increased student pro-social behavior, a more positive classroom atmosphere and improved student academic performance. She is the Principal Investigator on a federally funded study to complete the development and preliminary evaluation of CARE. In addition to psychological research, Dr. Jennings has over 22 years of research and teaching experience in the field of education. Dr. Jennings’ book Mindfulness for Teachers was published by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. in February 2015.

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 program 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. She is also a certified trainer for the Mindful Parenting Program. 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!

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.

Rebecca Cortes

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. Among her passions is her current job as the lead developer and instructor of the UW Certificate in Practice-Based Coaching, a hybrid in-person/online certificate program that provides a unified professional development system for coaches in Washington State. Dr. Cortes also is a co-developer of the evidence-based PATHS® Preschool curriculum and lead author of the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start edition of PATHS® Preschool, 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 17 years has led to her strong interest in and support of mindfulness as an essential professional development practice for early childhood educators.

Ilene Smith

Ilene is a highly experienced, dynamic group leader and presenter, with a reputation for bringing compassion, depth and humor to her trainings.  She specializes in creating rich opportunities for participants to engage in “conversations that matter”, and lead to personal and professional growth. Her background in English, Theater, Psychology and Wellness Education has shaped her unique facilitator style. Ilene is a certified CARE facilitator, with a long-standing passion and commitment to mindfulness in education, who has been leading workshops for educators, administrators, and parents for over twenty years. She served as a curriculum consultant for the Mind Up Program, and she is currently working in a mindfulness-based, adolescent eating disorder center. Additionally, she has been a board member of the Anam Cara Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to making meditation practices available to everyone.
For sheer joy, Ilene socializes puppies for the Guiding Eyes, writes poetry and is currently working on a one woman, stand-up comedy script: “Take two laughs and call me in the morning”.

Anna DeWeese, M.A.

Anna DeWeese, M.A., began working for the CARE program in 2010 at the Garrison Institute. She served as the Intervention Coordinator at Fordham University, as part of the research team for a federally funded research study examining the effects of CARE in New York City schools (Jennings, et al. Journal of Educational Psychology, Feb. 2017). Throughout the study she also worked on program fidelity measurement and qualitative research, looking deeply at how and why CARE is able to support teachers’ classroom practice and wellbeing. Her work with NYC schools also focused on strengthening relationships with schools to support the sustainability and growth of CARE, offering PD sessions to teachers and other school staff, and exploring complementary experiences for school administrators. From 2008-2017 she also served as a classroom teacher and Education Coordinator for the Interfaith Community, Inc., a non-profit based in New York City that provides educational experiences to Jewish-Christian interfaith families. Currently she is developing and leading online mindfulness courses, to continue offering foundational experiences and encouraging further exploration into mindfulness and wellbeing.

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.

Sukhdeep Gill, Ph.D.

Dr. Sukhdeep Gill is a lifespan developmental psychologist interested in early development-in-context, interpersonal relations, social-emotional learning, mindfulness practices, program evaluation, and community-based action research. Her current areas of research include training, support, and functioning of staff working with parents and young children in diverse settings and preventive interventions for families with young children from poverty backgrounds to promote health, social-emotional development, and school readiness. 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 and was recently named a Prevention Fellow at PRC. She is a core 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.

Anthony DeMauro, M.S.

Anthony DeMauro, M.S. is a doctoral candidate at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education Department. Anthony conducts research on how teachers’ personal mindfulness practice influences their professional teaching practice such as building relationships with students, responding to students’ needs, and classroom management. Anthony instructs courses for pre-service and in-service teachers in classroom management and mindfulness. He also co-facilitates mindfulness retreats for teenagers through Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme). Anthony previously worked in schools as a behavioral specialist consultant.

Sebrina Doyle

Sebrina Doyle is a Research Associate at the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State University. She has been working on the research team for the CARE for Teachers program since 2011 and was recently certified as a facilitator. While working on the randomized-control trial in New York City, she worked with a team to develop implementation quality and fidelity measures for the program. She has since presented at multiple conferences on the relationship between these implementation monitoring measures and later uptake and usefulness of CARE practices.

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.