Conference Keynote & Speakers

(Links to Materials Below)


Tish Jennings is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of social and emotional learning and mindfulness in education with a specific emphasis on teacher stress and how it impacts the social and emotional context of the classroom and student well-being and learning. She is an Associate Professor of Education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia.

Tish is freshly returned from a visit with the Dalai Lama in India. There she shared her latest research on mindfulness and teacher stress. She is the author of Mindfulness for Teachers and help lead development of the Garrison Institutes Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE).


Mark Davis

Mark Davis is the Head of School at St. Luke’s. Mark is a devoted yoga and meditation practitioner. He is a student of mindfulness in education who speaks and writes about raising healthy children. Mark Davis came to St. Luke’s in 2002 from Phillips Exeter Academy where he was Director of College Counseling.  Before Exeter, he worked at The Taft School for seventeen years, serving in a variety of capacities including history teacher, Assistant Director of Admissions, Class Dean, varsity baseball coach, and Director of College Counseling.  

No Unicorns
    Time Well Spent

Stephanie Bramlett, Ph.D.

Stephanie is the Director of St. Luke's Center for Leadership. She  is an avid yogi, marathon runner, aerial dancer, and Crossfit enthusiast. Stephanie came from the University of New Hampshire where she directed a student retention program for multicultural, first-generation, and low-income college students.  Stephanie is a Commissioner and Co-Director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Student Diversity Leadership Conference.

Michele Grethel, Ph.D.

Dr. Grethel is Director of Counseling Services at The Spence School. She is an educator, consultant and a psychotherapist providing mental health and wellness education to adolescents, young adults, and families. Dr. Grethel is clinically trained in utilizing therapeutic treatment approaches grounded in Mindfulness. Over the last 20 years, she has integrated her clinical skills with insights gained from her own meditation practice to form strong partnerships with young people learning to manage their anxiety, mood symptoms, behavioral dysregulation as well other mental health disorders.

A multi-method exploratory study of stress, coping and substance abuse among high school youth in private schools

Will Heins

After twenty years as a Wall Street trader, Will Heins began practicing meditation over a dozen years ago following an intensive course at the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts.  Subsequently he completed a teacher training program there in mindfulness meditation techniques.  He has also trained under the guidance of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Will has also attended retreats with Jack Kornfield, Thich Nhat Hanh and Fr. Thomas Keating. Will is a co-founder of the Community Mindfulness Project.

Mindfulness & Stress Reduction

Erika Long

Erika Long began meditating 15 years ago. She has traveled to India to study with Shantum Seth (a student of Thich Nhat Hanh), has studied Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and is part of the inaugural Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program taught by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. Before devoting time to mindfulness work, Erika enjoyed a career on Wall Street. Erika is a co-founder of the Community Mindfulness Project.

Why It's Important for Children to Learn Mindfulness

Lisa Natoli-Sheehan

Lisa holds a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and is registered as a ‘Qualified’ MBSR instructor through the UMASS Medical School Center for Mindfulness. She is a certified .b Mindfulness in Schools Instructor and has worked with middle school, high school, college & grad students.  She is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) with many additional hours of specialized teacher training in restorative & Yin Yoga. Lisa is the founder of Relax Into Meditation, llc and is a member of the Community Mindfulness Project team.

Erin Thorkilsen

Erin Thorkilsen is an elementary classroom teacher, adult yoga and mindfulness instructor, and teacher of teachers.  She is a frequent speaker for topics such as mindfulness for parents and teachers, effective language with children, and mindfulness practices for young children.  Currently, she is the Director of Associate Teachers and a kindergarten teacher at Greens Farms Academy and a yoga teacher at Saraswati's Yoga Joint.  

Saraswati's Yoga Joint

Workshop Materials: Mindfulness for Young Children

Emily Tully

Emily Tully has been teaching mindfulness practices to ten year olds for the past decade. She found yoga after a competitive career playing Division I Lacrosse at Sacred Heart University. Since then, she has been cultivating the process of finding and strengthening self awareness and belonging through each breath in her yoga classes. She teaches fifth grade at Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford, CT and teaches yoga at Saraswati's Yoga Joint in Norwalk, CT.

Emily Tully Yoga

Workshop Materials: Mindfulness for Middle School

Charlotte Pecquex

Charlotte Pecquex graduated from Fairfield University Summa Cum Laude in 2015 and went on to finish her Master's Degree in Education the following year. She is currently in her second year as an English teacher at Central High School in Bridgeport, CT teaching a unique English elective course that focuses on Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness through Literacy Skills. She incorporates meditation as a daily routine in her classroom to help students self-regulate and find a safe place within themselves. She often uses mindfulness practices and restorative practices to manage classroom behavior constructively and teaches yoga regularly to both regular and special education students. In addition to being an educator in Bridgeport, she teaches yoga at Saraswati's Yoga Joint.

Workshop Materials: Mindfulness for Teenagers

Mindfulness Conference Co-hosted by:

St. Luke’s School is a secular private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving 25 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.