meet our team
All of our supporting teachers provide services free or charge, by donation only, or at reduced rates, allowing us to offer many free and low-cost programs, with no one ever turned away for a lack of funds.
Susi Brennan, MA, and Mindful Schools Certified Instructor, taught in public schools for over twenty years and now helps create school-wide mindfulness programs in the Bay Area. Her work in schools and the communities they serve has fed a passion for social justice through building reflective and compassionate learning communities. She believes strongly that teachers and staff who embody mindfulness and compassion have the greatest impact on the well-being of the whole school community. Susi sat on the guest panel at the first retreat held by the Mindful Educators Alliance and has enjoyed sharing mindfulness in our after school program.
Jylani Ma’at Brown is a Mindful Schools Certified Instructor, founder of the Practice Peace Project, and a veteran educator bringing many years of experience within public, private, and independent schools to her work with youth. She is extremely deliberate about integrating diverse, children’s literature and culturally relevant content into the programming. Social justice and issues of global competence are frequent themes in her work that encourage preliminary and deeper contemplation. As a woman, mother and teacher of African descent, jylani takes pride in creating space for both her cultural heritage and expression to be an integral part of her mindfulness practice. Jylani encourages and facilitates programs that offer every participant the opportunity to fully see themselves in the moment and to honor their culture in their practice as well.
Shelly Hughes has worked with youth of all ages and enjoys sharing in the discovery of nature as delightful and nourishing. She is also a dynamic artist and brings with her a love for native and medicinal plants, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, Substitute Teaching Credential, and six years as an Environmental Educator in Sonoma County. Shelly is a seasoned meditation practitioner and is currently studying with Mindful Schools. She joined our team in 2018 and we are happy to have her expertise and joyful presence, weaving nature-based practices into our newest after school programs and serving the young people in our community.
Mark Stefanski, MS is a Mindful Schools Certified Instructor, serves on the Joyful Mind Project Board of Directors, and has enjoyed teaching mindfulness in our after school program. He has taught high school science for thirty-one years and since 1988 has served on the faculty of Marin Academy in San Rafael. Mark has held positions as Marin Academy’s Dean of Freshmen, its inaugural H.D. Thoreau Faculty Chair for promoting education for environmental sustainability, and as the leader for the Senior Vision Quest Program. For the past four years, he has also been instructing teens in mindfulness at Marin Academy. Embracing a model centered on peer education, Mark leads teen mindfulness circles in San Rafael and consults with mindfulness programs in other Bay Area schools and youth organizations.
Steve Stonearrow, Native American storyteller, traditional Lakota Medicine Man, and member of the Little Thunder Medicine Society. Steve is a favorite Joyful Mind Project guest teacher and has shared his gift of storytelling with the children in our after-school programs and at our Spring 2014 Family Mindfulness Day. We’re looking forward to Steve's return!
Pam Walton, MA, LMFT, and Mindful Schools Certified Instructor is a co-founder of the Mindful Educators Alliance and serves on the Joyful Mind Project Advisory Board. Pam currently serves as a Mental Health Clinician for the Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD). She holds master’s degrees in Physiology and Clinical Psychology and is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Pam has been studying and practicing minfdulness for over thirty years, including several years in intensive treatreat settings. She currently teaches mindfulness and leads trainings on mindfulness, mental health and trauma. She has a small private psychotherapy practice in Napa.
Sarah Wilmarth is a co-founder of the Mindful Educators Alliance. Sarah taught upper Elementary grades before starting her own family. Mindfulness practices were a great support in her personal life… then certain political events of 2016 jolted her into action, looking for ways to share the tools of mindfulness with others. As a result, she is currently in the Mindful Schools certification program. Sarah works behind a desk at the Sonoma County Office of Education as a Regional Program Assistant, where she leads an adult mindfulness program; she also volunteers at her daughter’s school teaching mindfulness to third graders.