Our Faculty and Administration

Henry Shukman: Co-Director of RGMI and Lead Teacher

Henry is the guiding teacher at Mountain Cloud Zen Center and a certified Zen master. He recently published the acclaimed One Blade of Grass, a 2019 memoir of a writer’s journey into mindfulness. He writes regularly for The New York Times and other publications. He is dedicated to helping people find more peace, love and responsiveness. He has an MA from Cambridge University.

 

Valerie Forstman: Lead Teacher

Valerie joined the faculty at Mountain Cloud in fall 2020 as a certified associate Zen master. A first-career classical musician, Valerie served as Dean for Common Life at a graduate theological school where issues of race, class, gender, and sexual identity were integral to every aspect of learning. She is devoted to human thriving in ways that support all of life. Valerie holds degrees from Oberlin College and Stony Brook University, and an MTS and PhD from Brite Divinity School.

 

John Braman: Co-Director of RGMI, Assistant Teacher, School Integration Specialist

John has a 2018 teaching certificate from Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), a national organization specializing in mindfulness for teens. He began his career as director of the experiential education at Albuquerque Academy. He has an MA in Educational Administration from Teachers College at Columbia University.

 

 

Rachel Belash: Key Advisor and Teacher

Rachel has a PhD in Spanish and Latin American Literature, and advises RGMI about program development. She was formerly the principal of boarding schools in New York and Canada and brings a global perspective to understanding the stresses of school life and the benefits of mindfulness. Her leadership journey is highlighted by a belief in school leaders as tone-setters for positive school culture, the empowerment of women in leadership, and kindness.

 

Yvonne Sebastian: Program Administrator and Assistant Teacher

With an MSSW from the University of Wisconsin/Madison, Yvonne is a Licensed  Social Worker. As a native New Mexican, she is conversant in Spanish. She has worked in education, community service, wilderness therapy, international service, substance abuse prevention and intervention, college student services and middle/high school counseling. Mindfulness has been part of her work and personal practice.

 

Kathryn Stedham: Teacher

Kathryn is a full time painter, Zen student and former Mountain Cloud Board Member. She has a BA in Studio Arts from West Virginia Wesleyan College. She exhibits her artwork internationally, taught teacher training programs and youth in schools and underserved communities and founded a Classical School of Painting. She teaches introductory Zen and Mindfulness and is trained in stress reduction mindfulness techniques and fostering mindful solutions for well-being.

 

Christian Casillas: Teacher

Dedicated to meditation, Christian is a member of Mountain Cloud, and is in Upaya Zen Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. He has taught in high schools and universities and facilitated mindfulness practice in schools and homeless shelters in Santa Fe. Born here, he attended Santa Fe’s public schools and is conversant in Spanish. He has helped to develop experiential learning programs like “Inspire Santa Fe”, and has a PhD in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley.

 

Sarah Giffin: Experiential Specialist

Sarah is passionate about embodied play and critical inquiry; creating projects and facilitating learning experiences that are participant-driven, experiential, project-based, and deepen both the self knowledge and group connection. She strives to create a journey that is relevant and resonant; inspires curiosity, creativity, and drives inquiry. She has a BA in Psychology and a Creative Arts Therapy Certificate from The New School.

 

 

Felicia (FeliceMarohn: Teacher

Felice is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been in private practice since 2012. She specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, an evidence-based, emotion-focused treatment that is grounded in mindfulness skills. She is a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician™. She has been practicing mindfulness and meditation since 1995. She offers treatment for depression, anxiety, and trauma/post traumatic stress (PTSD). Some of her other interests include racial/ethnic awareness, gender studies, non-violent communication and neuroscience/neuropsychology.

 

Nanette Weingold: Teacher

Nannette Weingold taught for RGMI in the pre-covid-19 days when our trainings were all in person. Her specialty is mindfulness and movement. She is an educator with Roaring Forks School District in Colorado, a mentor with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), and a certified yoga teacher. She holds a masters degree from Lewis and Clark and is currently working on a PhD in Contemplative Studies.

 

 

Mark Wax: Teacher

Mark has been engaged in the study of meditation for almost half of his life.  He works teaching mindfulness to young people through Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and as a private yoga teacher.  He earned a BFA in Theatrical Performance and Stagecraft from the Chicago College of Performing arts and has studied many styles of both dance and martial arts.  In his spare time he enjoys writing, practicing music and experientially learning about permaculture.

 

Helen Young: Movement Specialist

Helen teaches yoga at El Camino Real Academy — 300+ kids and two adult classes a week. She loves sharing yoga with people to help them connect with their bodies in a fun way, as well as giving them tools to calm themselves. Helen believes we need yoga now more than ever. When there is chaos outside, we can be the peace in the world. She has a BS in Elementary Education with PE endorsement from Southern Illinois University and a Masters of Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University.

 

Larry Childs: Teacher

Larry Childs is one of RGMI’s specialists in play-based approaches to mindfulness for teens and adults. He’s been part of our teaching team in Santa Fe and Espanola. Larry is an international trainer and consultant in adventure education with a focus on social emotional learning in schools, building learning communities, and active approaches to present moment awareness. He holds a MS in International Administration from World Learning.

 

Cara Lai: Lead Mindfulness Teacher

Cara  is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), has taught teens and adults through Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme) and is about to complete Spirit Rock Teacher Training. She is one of the featured coaches on the Ten Percent Happier app.

 

 

 

Luke Wientzen: Teacher

Luke is a full time high school special education teacher, serving teenagers with attention, focus and learning complexities. He incorporates mindfulness, breathing and gratitude practices in addressing the whole child. He has taught mindful movement for the past 12 years, blending his own studies of yoga, breathing techniques, qi gong and martial arts, somatics and subtle body, sensory awareness, and meditation. He finds joy in helping others.

 

Mary Ann Bennett: Movement Specialist

Mary Ann has a BFA in painting from Southern Methodist University and an Advanced Certificate in Somatic Experiencing  (Releasing trauma out of the nervous system). She has 20 years of teaching yoga, which includes 10 years leading yoga therapy at a trauma recovery/residential treatment program.

 

 

 

Adam Ortman: Teacher

Adam directs a whole-school approach to mindfulness at St. Andrews School in Texas, a leading national model. His specialty is mindfulness teaching and curriculum development for youth in grades 6-12, faculty training, and workshops for parents. Adam taught a daylong “Heart of Teaching” intensive for RGMI, working with all faculty and staff from Acequia Madre School. He has a Masters Degree from the Harvard Divinity School.

 

 

Anne-Marie Emanuelli: Teacher

Anne-Marie has 25 years of classroom teaching. She is certified by Mindful Schools and Sage Institute for Creativity and Consciousness. Mindful meditation is a passion, nurtured by RGMI’s Heart of Teaching retreats and her own practice. Her self-care repertoire includes hiking, biking, swimming and yoga. She lives in Arroyo Hondo, NM (N. of Taos) with her husband and teenage daughter. She holds a BFA from DU (Denver) and an M.S. from Pratt Institute (NYC).

 

 

Cindy Garner: Teacher

Cindy is founder and executive director of SafeWithin Mindfulness Education and the Rocky Mountain Mindfulness Center, a 501(c)3 located in Crestone, CO. At UCSD Medical School she trained in Hakomi, a mindfulness-based somatic psychotherapy, and qualified as a facilitator of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Through Mindful Schools and Inward Bound Mindfulness Education she trained for teaching mindfulness to adolescents, and School-wide Implementation.

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