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Afternoon Session Information

Dr. Mark Greenberg

Mark Greenberg, Ph.D. holds The Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development and he is the Founding Director of the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development. He is the Chair of the Advisory Board of PATHS Education Worldwide and one of the developers of the PATHS Curriculum which is used in over 3000 schools worldwide. He is the author of over 300 journal articles and book chapters on the development of well-being, learning and the effects of prevention efforts on children and families. He is an Emeritus Board Member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). One of his current interests is how to help nurture awareness and compassion in our society.

Session Description:

Session 1:  

Where Do I Begin? Implementing Social and Emotional Learning at the Building & District Level


This workshop for principals and administrators will use illustrations from CASEL’s work with school districts to support the development of effective and sustainable SEL programs, practices and policies. Using the CASEL School ToolKit, the workshop will cover the steps towards creating a comprehensive model of SEL at the level of the district and/or building.  Dr. Greenberg is a founding Board Member of CASEL and is currently conducting a federally-funded study of SEL implementation in 28 Chicago schools.

Target Audience: Administrators, Community Leaders


Session 2:  

System Change to Create Sustainable Social-Emotional Development and Academic Engagement


The PATHS® curriculum is an evidence-based SEL program designed to facilitate self-control, emotional awareness, interpersonal problem-solving skills, and classroom engagement in elementary school children.  The PATHS® curriculum has been implemented in over 30 countries.


C.A.R.E. (Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education)

A unique professional development program that helps teachers handle their stress and rediscover the joys of teaching. The goal of CARE is to meet the specific needs of K-12 teachers. CARE offers teachers and administrators tools and resources for reducing stress, preventing burnout, enlivening teaching and helping students thrive socially, emotionally and academically.


The workshop will focus on the practical issues in effectively implementing the curriculum and sustaining it over time.  The workshop will include video examples, and demonstration of the use of the curriculum, and ample time to discuss issues regarding training, implementation, and ongoing use/sustainability.

Target Audience: Administrators, Community Leaders

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Dr. Robert Roeser

Robert W. Roeser is the Bennett Pierce Professor of Care, Compassion and Human Development at Penn State University. He has a Ph.D. from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan (1996) and masters degrees in religion and psychology, developmental psychology and clinical social work. He has twice been a US Fulbright Scholar in India; a WT Grant Faculty Scholar; and the Senior Program Coordinator for the Mind and Life Institute (Boulder, CO).  Roeser studies compassion and mindfulness in society, specializing in how schools and other educational institutions help improve in mental development. He also has studied aiding human development in India.

Lana Penley

Lana Penley is a leader in the field of mindfulness in education and a current  K-8 Principal in Portland, Oregon.  Following a school crisis of a fire during the school day and utilizing her 20+ years of school leadership, Lana shifted her life and the path of her school through a whole school implementation of mindfulness.  Over the past 5 years, her school has experienced significant change; decreasing suspensions, reducing office referrals, and drastically improving teacher happiness.  Her school has hosted more than 75 schools over the past year giving others a taste of what is possible when mindfulness permeates the whole school. Lana is a dynamic speaker and trainer who has spoken at numerous conferences and trained over 1,000 people.  

Session Description:

Session 1:  Art and Science of Human Flourishing


How can mindfulness and compassion practices be integrated into higher educational

settings?  In this session, Roeser will describe a three-university project aiming to do

this with first semester, incoming first-year college students through an innovative

and flipped course.  Descriptions of the curriculum, the pedagogy, and planned scientific

research on the course across the universities will be discussed.


Target Audience:  Higher Ed

Session 2:   Building  Compassionate Communities of Learning: The Whole School


In this session, Principal Lana Penley from Portland, OR and Robert Roeser will discuss their work and collaboration in Portland around taking mindfulness-based programs to the whole school level. Based on her work in a Title 1 K-8, Penley will share her insights as a school principal in how mindfulness turned her school around. Roeser will add insights from their collaborative work in the district.

Target Audience: Administrators, Community Leaders

Andres Gonzalez

Andres Gonzalez has been the Co-Founder and Marketing Director for the Holistic Life Foundation, Inc. in Baltimore, MD since 2001. For sixteen years, Andres has taught yoga to diverse populations throughout the world, including Baltimore City Public School students, drug treatment centers, mental crisis facilities, homeless shelters, wellness centers, colleges, private schools and other various venues throughout the nation and throughout the world. He has partnered with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health and the Penn State’s Prevention Research Center on a Stress and Relaxation Study and is a published author in the Journal of Children’s Services. His work with the Holistic Life Foundation has been featured on Making a Difference on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, and CBS, as well as O the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Upworthy, Mindful Magazine, Yoga Journal, Shambala Sun, and many other publications. He is a certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, maintains a B.S. in Marketing from University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from the University of Maryland, University College.

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Session Description:

Through a combination of practice and lecture, you will learn breathing and centering exercises, mindfulness practices, and meditations. You will also learn youth engagement principles, teaching philosophies, and strategies for working with “problem” students, while exploring methods to make the whole approach practical and, most of all, fun.  

Target Audience: All

Doug Worthen​

Doug Worthen is the Director of Mindfulness Programs and Boys' Varsity Lacrosse Coach at the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. Since 2010 he has been supporting the Middlesex School community (students, faculty, staff, parents, and alums) in mindfulness practice and in 2014 his role became a full-time faculty position. Doug is also a retreat teacher for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), has staffed or taught over twenty iBme retreats, and served on the iBme Board of Directors for six years. He began practicing mindfulness meditation in 1999 as a member of the UVA national championship lacrosse team and has been especially interested in how to integrate mindfulness into athletics. Over the last two decades he has attended a combined year of silent retreat and lived through two bouts of stage-4 lymphoma, which involved a bone marrow transplant in 2007.

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Session Description:

Session 1: Mindfulness at Middlesex School: In this workshop participants will learn about the evolution and structure of the Middlesex School mindfulness program and what a full-time mindfulness teacher in a school community looks like. Participants will also learn about other schools taking on a similar model and why a full-time Mindfulness Director role might makes sense for your school.

Target Audience: All

Session 2: iBme Mindfulness Retreats for Teens and Young Adults: In this workshop participants will learn about the structure, philosophy, and science of iBme mindfulness retreats, including how the retreat model has evolved over many years to best serve a diverse population of youth. Participants will also learn activities used on iBme retreats that help support connection, joy, safety, and understanding amongst participants and staff of the retreats.

Target Audience: Programs serving teens and young adults.

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Sandra Stewart

Sandra Stewart began working in the field of education in 1979 and has served in a variety of teaching roles. She began her work in prevention research at Penn State University in 1993. She has served as an Educational Coordinator in the Fast Track Project and now serves as the Clinical Supervisor for PATHS® coaches and Friendship Group Leaders on various projects. Sandra has been a PATHS® trainer since 1993 and has trained and supported teachers in numerous school districts throughout the United States as well as Winnipeg, Canada, Ireland and the UK.

Session Description:

Come and discover how the PATHS® curriculum can work for you! We’ll quickly explore why SEL is critical in these times, will do a little bit of brainstorming, and you’ll learn about the core components of this innovative SEL curriculum


The PATHS® curriculum is a comprehensive program that promotes emotional and social competencies, reducing aggression and behavior problems in preschool through elementary school-aged children, while simultaneously enhancing the educational process in the classroom. This innovative curriculum is one of the only evidence based SEL programs designed to be used by educators and counselors universally. Although primarily focused on the school and classroom settings, information and activities are also included for use with parents.


Target Audience: Pre-school-8th grade educators, Caregivers

Laura S. Bakosh, Ph.D.

As one of Inner Explorer’s Co-Founders, Laura discovered the benefits of mindful awareness more than 25 years ago when she was trying to manage the stress of travel and long workdays. While working at GE, Laura had the insight to share her mindful awareness practice with hundreds of fellow employees. Upon seeing the many positive results the daily practice had on performance, creativity, and wellbeing, she realized it would be the perfect fit for education. The practices can help children navigate the ups and downs of life with resilience, alleviating stress and anxiety, and can help them focus, allowing them to be ‘ready to learn’. -- all with compassion, openness, and love. She deeply believes that mindfulness practices are to cognitive health what teeth brushing is to dental health, it ought to be done every day!  Laura received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Boston College and a Doctoral Degree in Psychology from Sofia University. She was trained as a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor through the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. In 2012 and the program is currently used in 2500 schools in the US, serving 600,000 students and teachers. She co-authored two published scientific papers and a book chapter that describe how the program positively impacts students and teachers. When not working, Laura loves to spend time with family and friends, especially with her husband Rick and son Will. She loves being outside, going for a bike ride, running with her dogs Scout and Bella, or playing tennis. Read more about Laura’s professional history or email her at

Maureik Robison

Maureik Robison is a former educator from the public school system with a BA in English Literature and a BA in Humanities from the Florida State University. Maureik began his mindfulness practice in high school after being exposed to the work of Thich Nhat Hanh. In the public school system, Robison worked with students from low-socioeconomic circumstances- many of whom often did not come in with the social and emotional skills necessary for academic achievement in the classroom. He knew the practice of mindfulness in his own life could be shared with students, families and teachers through Inner Explorer. When he saw an anxious student pause to count their breaths during a standardized test, Robison knew how transformative mindfulness could be for students. Robison says, “From my experience, most teachers feel the enormous responsibility to heal their students. However, mindfulness teaches students the skills they need to help heal themselves.” Maureik Robison is passionate about the intersectionality of art and community. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Youth Artists Network and lives in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida.

Session Description:

Fostering ‘Readiness to Learn’ – A consistent school and district-wide approach to mindfulness-based social emotional learning (MSBEL)


'Readiness to Learn' is the ability to regulate emotions and behaviors and to inhibit impulsivity, and is foundational to academic success and positive social interactions. Fostering 'readiness' is an allusive task due to the extensive stress, anxiety and trauma students and teachers regularly experience. Find out how daily mindfulness-based social emotional learning (MBSEL) programs promote readiness and resilience, and provide a solid base for STEM. Learn how technology can support both simplified implementation and sustainable outcomes.


This interactive session will allow participants to:

- Experience MBSEL practices used in PK-12 classrooms

- Consider the latest scientific evidence linking stress to reduced cognitive function as well as linking mindfulness to enhanced prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation and emotional regulation

- Apply the lessons from neuroscience to the challenges they face in their district

- Explore various methods to integrate MBSEL programming into the classroom and linking home and school

- Discuss the potential challenges in implementing an MBSEL program (cost, time, buy-in), as well as best practices, related to teaching staff, parents and community leaders.

- Hear feedback from educators who have adopted MBSEL in their schools and districts


Target Audience: Pre-school-Grade 12, Caregivers

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Lee Ann Cook

Lee Ann Cook is an Assistant Director for the EPISCenter. Her roles include providing technical assistance to providers who are implementing evidence based programming, supporting outcomes data collection and reporting efforts across programs, and assisting in aggregating outcomes data for the state of Pennsylvania. Lee Ann earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State, and a masters in Social Work from Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. She has training and practice experience in several evidence based models including Project Towards No Drug Abuse, Multi-Systemic Therapy, Families and Schools Together, Creating Lasting Family Connections, and Motivational Interviewing. She has worked throughout the North-East United States, and across the UK and Central Asia to provide training and technical support to providers of the Families and Schools Together Program. She has served as the Project Coordinator for both SAMHSA and Drug Free Communities prevention grants. In her current role Lee Ann has enjoyed broadening her focus to include all of the Evidence Based Programs supported by theEPISCenter. She looks forward to helping communities and providers successfullyimplement and track the outcomes for these programs.

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Jordan Joyce

Jordan Joyce is an Implementation Specialist at the EPISCenter. She provides support to schools and community organizations across the state that are implementing evidence-based programs. The list of programs that Jordan supports are as follows: Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), The Incredible Years(IYS), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), LifeSkills Training (LST), the Olweus Bullying Prevention
Program (OBPP), and Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS). Jordan graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Education and she is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Studies Degree in Organization Development and Change. Over the
last thirteen years, she has worked in schools and county-based agencies, striving to make a difference in the lives of children, youth and families throughout Pennsylvania and continues to do so at EPISCenter.

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Session Description:

Getting Beyond the Evidence-Based Label: Understanding What Works in Prevention

Schools and organizations want to provide the best possible environments and services
that help support children, youth, and families in their communities. While utilizing data
to make informed decisions is significant for schools and organizations, representatives
from the EPISCenter will take this opportunity to provide an education on how to be
strategic in gathering the data, assessing community needs, understanding what works in
prevention, accessing funding to get started, as well as measuring your success!
Learning objectives
1. Participants will learn how to access and understand community needs through the
PAYS data.
2. Participants will learn key principles of effective prevention.
3. Participants will learn how to choose effective programming for prevention.
4. Participants will learn how to access grant funds from PCCD and partner with
EPISCenter for support.
5. Participants will learn how to measure program impact.


Target Audience: All

Sandi Conley

Sandi Conley is the Lead Trainer and Manager of School Partnerships at MindUP™|The Goldie Hawn Foundation. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University and a Masters of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University.  She also holds a Certificate in Positive Psychology through Wholebeing Institute. Sandi has led lessons and facilitated workshops in the MindUP curriculum since 2011 working with students, educators, parents and in-patient mental health agencies. As an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist she is guided by her experience in positive psychology and mindfulness practices, focusing on building skills that promote clarity, optimism and resilience. Previously working as a Behavioral Health Coordinator, she served as an educator across multiple school districts overseeing program development and implementation for youth ages 5-18. Her compassion for the challenges faced by our youth in today’s world inspires her work as an educator, therapist and motivational speaker.

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Session Description:

This session will provide participants will an introduction to the MindUP program – an evidence-based primary prevention program for children in Kindergarten through 8th grade. The 15-lesson MindUPTM program, developed by the Goldie Hawn Foundation, was designed to enhance children’s self-awareness, social awareness, focused attention, self-regulation, problem solving, pro-social behaviors (helping, sharing, and cooperating), and positive human qualities, such as happiness, optimism, and altruism. During the session, participants will learn about the foundational pillars of MindUPTM which include neuroscience, mindfulness, social emotional learning (SEL), and positive psychology. In addition, participants will be offered the opportunity to engage in experiential learning with examples of activities from the MindUPTM program. Finally, the session will conclude with a discussion about how MindUPTM can be implemented within the classroom context to support mindful awareness, social emotional competencies, and increased engagement.

Target Audience: Pre-k - Grade 8

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Juliana Santoyo

Juliana holds a B.A in Human Development from Boston College and an M.Ed degree from Boston University. Her professional background as a teacher in public schools in Boston and New York has been greatly informed by her use of restorative justice practices inside and outside the classroom. She has also worked to design and implement new models for curriculum that integrate a liberatory educational approach, centering the voices of the historically disenfranchised in literature and history while providing opportunities for healing and processing of intergenerational trauma in the classroom through the use of contemplative practices.

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Session Description:

Session Name: What’s Love Got To Do With It: Social Justice & Contemplative Practice


Courage of Care’s Sustainable Compassionate Education workshop integrates current research in neuroscience, social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and developmental and social psychology to offer educators, administrators, counselors, students, and parents tools for strengthening their capacity for care and connection in order that we might collectively grow and sustain more compassionate, equitable educational communities in which all people feel seen, welcome, and supported in realizing their fullest potential.


Developing our caring and compassionate capacities while developing an understanding of the systems that perpetuate our collective suffering helps us to cultivate the readiness and wisdom to act for change. In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to engage in a short meditation for cultivating compassion and connection in our daily lives. In addition to compassion training, our workshop seeks to engage participants with critical tools to assess personal, interpersonal, social and organizational structures and practices that drive inequity and injustice and inhibit our capacity to realize more connected, caring and creative school communities.


Target Audience: All

 Practice Sessions 

Leah Northrop

Leah Northrop is a certified yoga teacher and holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology. She has been teaching yoga and mindfulness at Falk Laboratory School at the University of Pittsburgh since 2011, and created a therapeutic yoga program at Falk for students with a variety of challenges in the social, emotional, behavioral, and learning realms. Leah is co-director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies, and collaborates extensively with faculty in the University’s School of Education.

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Session Description:

Mindful Movement

This session will combine learning and practice as you explore mindful movement, breath-work, and relaxation that can be included in your personal practice and shared with your students as you practice together.  Please come prepared to move, reflect and explore.  

Target Audience: All

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Dr. Stephanie Romero

Stephanie Romero has over twenty years of experience in teaching all levels; from elementary, middle school, high school to college.  Stephanie has been a meditator and mindfulness practitioner since the early 2000s. She found that her meditation practice profoundly influenced her life.  In 2013, wanting to understand how to bring mindfulness practices to others, Stephanie was trained in the Path of Freedom Mindfulness Curriculum, which she delivered through the HOPE pre-release program in the Allegheny County Jail.  Stephanie is the Executive Director of Awaken Pittsburgh and a member of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies.

Session Description:

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation by Stephanie M. Romero, Ed.D., of Awaken Pittsburgh

Mindfulness meditation has been found to lower blood pressure, risk of heart disease and stroke.  It has also been shown to help relieve stress, depression, insomnia, sleeplessness, anxiety and worry. Meditators report greater sense of happiness, well-being and inner peace in their lives.  This session will provide basic instruction in seated mindfulness meditation, walking meditation and mindful eating. There will be time for a discussion on how to integrate mindfulness meditation or other mindfulness practices into our daily lives as educators.

Target Audience: All

Morning Sunrise Yoga

Laurel Chiappetta

Laurel Chiappetta is a certified yoga teacher and holds a master's degree in biostatistics.  She has been operating a statistical consulting business for about 15 years and teaches statistics and research methods at the University of PIttsburgh where she also substitute teaches yoga at Falk School.  Most recently, Laurel is looking forward to the opening of her new yoga studio in Oakland, Yoga U PGH. Laurel serves on the board of directors of PIttsburgh Yoga Collective, a non-profit that brings yoga and mindfulness to underserved areas in and around Pittsburgh. 

Session Description:
“Yoga to start the day”

In this session, three 10-minute mini-sessions of breathing and yoga will be introduced.  Skills will be presented that can easily be practiced at the beginning of any day to prepare members of learning communities for the day ahead.  Each practice will differ so feel free to stay for one or for all three!


Yoga for EveryBODY at AnyTIME:  Participants will be introduced to three 10-minute yoga and meditation practices that you can pull out in the middle of the work day.  Activity will be done both standing and seated, come as you are and prepared for movement.  No mats or yoga experience required, just a willingness to participate.


Target Audience: All

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