Mary Abrams, MA, RSME

Mary is owner/director of Moving Body Resources (NYC), a space for teachers and practitioners supporting body awareness, wellness, and authenticity in life.  Mary teaches group classes, works privately, and leads the MA Dance & Somatic Well-being course in the USA from the University of Central Lancashire in England.  Her love for teaching is informed by her MA in Consciousness Studies focusing on embodied movement, the biology of emotion, and Epistemics.  

Margaret Blatchley

Margaret Blachly, GSE ’05, is a psycho-educational specialist at the Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College. She is also an advisor and instructor in the Early Childhood Special Education and Bilingual Programs at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education. Margaret spent 11 years teaching pre-K and kindergarten in dual language and inclusion settings. She is a Learning Specialist at The Children’s Learning Center of Morningside Heights in New York City and is a graduate of Bank Street’s Early Childhood Bilingual General and Special Education Program.


Jim Handlin, Ed.D.

Jim is the Founding Member and Educational Consultant to the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of NJ. He has a doctorate from Columbia University in Educational Administration, as well as an advanced degree in Career and Counseling Psychology from the same institution. Jim is one of the select group of people in New Jersey who has actually been certified by the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School to teach MBSR. A lifelong meditator and practitioner of yoga, Jim has been Head of the Upper School at the Pingry School in Martinsville, NJ (where he founded the longest running meditation program for high school students in the U.S.), Headmaster of Rockland Country Day, and Woodstock Day Schools. Dr. Handlin has been a life and career coach for adults from many professional backgrounds, is a College Placement Specialist (www.strategiccollegeplacement.com), To listen to Dr. Handlin speak on "Mindfulness and Education," please visit YouTube.


Alison Hazut

Alison Hazut has been an educator and school leader for almost twenty-five years. During her years of teaching and leading at the Earth School, an alternative progressive school on the Lower East side of Manhattan, Alison was the founding principal of the Fifth Street Farm, a 2,400 square foot rooftop garden that fosters environmental stewardship. Through Inspirational Leadership Alison led the school to prioritize Social and Emotional Learning in the school wide curriculum. She recently consulted abroad in Israel with their Ministry of Education to help review and enrich their English Language Learning Program. Currently, Alison is principal at Murray Avenue School in Mamaroneck, NY where she continues to promote innovative educational practices.


Kristin Kearns-Jordan

Kristin Kearns-Jordan has spent the first 25 years of her career in New York City working to create educational opportunity for low-income young people. Currently, Kristin is the Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Assembly (UA), a network of 22 small public middle and high schools serving primarily low-income New Yorkers. Kristin has worked to ensure that well-prepared school staffs provide students with critical support in academics, social emotional learning, college access, and career readiness, with curriculum and quality programming made coherent by an effective leader.


Lesley Koplow M.S., L.C.S.W,

Lesley is the Director of the Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street College. The Center collaborates with early childhood programs and elementary schools to support the social and emotional well being of children, parents and teachers in the school setting. Ms. Koplow is the author of several books on child mental health in schools, including; Unsmiling Faces: How Preschool Can Heal, Creating Schools That Heal: Real Life Solutions, Bears, Bear Everywhere: Supporting Children’s Emotional Health in the Classroom and Politics Aside: Our Children and Their Teachers in Score-Driven Times.  She was the winner of the 2013 New York Zero-To-Three Emily Fenichel Award for Educational leadership.

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Alexander Kopelman

Alex is the Co-founder, President & CEO of Children's Arts Guild. Alex is a writer and advocate who has devoted twenty-five years to advancing social justice and personal empowerment. He has a special passion for supporting young people in overcoming the limiting effects of outmoded societal stereotypes on individual development. Alex brings a wealth of experience in gender-specific youth development, having served as the Director of Marketing of Girls Inc., the premier girls’ empowerment organization in the US and Canada, for over twelve years.

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Mark LaRiviere

Mari is the Co-founder & Chief Program Officer of the Children's Arts Guild. Mark designed the  Creative Classrooms program to train and place working artists in inner city parochial schools in New York City and has served as its Director since 1997. He also developed a variety of professional development programs training educators to incorporate visual arts and social emotional skills into their curriculum. In addition,  training for artists and classroom teachers to utilize the city’s museums and cultural institutions as teaching tools. 


Howard Moody

Howard Moody specializes in designing team-building, stress reduction, and wellness presentations with an emphasis on play, connection and engagement. Howard has been a faculty member at the Omega Institute for Holistic studies for many years and he is the co-founder of The Adventure Game Theater, an extraordinary improvisational learning process for teens (featured on PBS and NPR) combining experiential learning with creativity, improvisational theater, play, community building, mythology and storytelling. He currently presents this work through Retribe a Vermont based organization focused on wilderness learning and Rites of Passages for teens.



Maya Projansky

May has taught fourth and fifth grade for thirteen years at the Earth School, a public school in the East Village. Maya is a Returning Fellow and Teacher Consultant with the Hudson Valley Writing Project—National Writing Project site at SUNY New Paltz—where she designs and facilitates professional development for nursery through post-secondary educators. Maya has twice participated in design teams for alternative /authentic assessments with a network of progressive educators in New York City. She was a 2015 Finalist for the Big Apple Award: Recognizing Teacher Excellence in NYC.



Carla Shalaby

Carla is the author of Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School, and a Research Specialist in Teacher Education at the University of Michigan. Her professional and personal commitment is to education as the practice of freedom, and her research centers on cultivating and documenting daily classroom work that protects the dignity of every child and honors young people’s rights to expression, to self-determination, and to full human being. Carla previously served as director of the Elementary Teacher Certification Programs at both Brown University and Wellesley College. She started her career as a teacher of grades four and five in her New Jersey hometown.