Mia’s background is in elementary education. She taught in grades K-3 for 10 years in Southern California. After moving to Champaign in 2004, she obtained her IL Teaching Credential and began substituting in grades K-12. Mia enjoys volunteering in her children’s classrooms and participating in the BTW STEM Academy PTA. Mia’s interest in mindfulness began over 15 years ago and she practices meditation and yoga. Mia completed an 8-week MBCT course in 2014 and a 10-week course in teaching mindfulness to children and adolescents in 2015, participated in Mindfulness Teacher Training, and attended a mindfulness retreat with Tri-State Dharma.
Carissa earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 2000 and her RN in 2005. This interest in education and health inevitably led her to explore a mindfulness and meditation practice for herself that has been going strong since 2005. Along side of Suzanne Loechl, Carissa taught a mindfulness and art class for elementary age children in 2014, she completed an 8-week MBCT Course through the UIUC Psychological Services Center in 2017 and is presently taking a 15-week Mindfulness Instructor Training through the UIUC Psychological Services Center. Carissa is passionate about mindfulness and meditation and is excited to be part of this growing shift in making mindfulness and meditation a part of the life of educators and young people.
Suzanne’s background is in landscape architecture and art. In 2015, Suzanne was ordained as an Interfaith Minister through a seminary in New York City. For years she has practiced meditation and yoga. In addition to her work as a mindfulness teacher through MTF, she is a practicing artist and shows her work regionally, and serves part-time as a mentor coordinator for Unit 4 Schools. Suzanne was introduced to mindfulness about 10 years ago through Mindful Schools. In 2016, she completed the 8-week MBCT Course and the 16-week Mindfulness Practicum Course through the UIUC Psychological Services Center. She has facilitated mindfulness sessions at South Side, Garden Hills Elementary, and Jefferson Middle School, and also taught a mindfulness and art class for kids.
Chris Menard, PsyD
Chris is the treasurer of our board of directors. He holds a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Through the UIUC Psychological Services Center, he has been helping UIUC faculty & staff to cultivate mindfulness since 2011. He also trains and supervises UIUC clinical psychology doctoral students to provide mindfulness training to UIUC faculty, staff, and to the C-U community. Chris has attended mindfulness instructor training with Zindel Segal, Susan Woods, John Kabat-Zinn, and Saki Santorelli. In addition, he has attended a number of Vipassana retreats.
Ann Flanagan Petry, MSW, LCSW
Ann is a Positive organizational development leader, curriculum developer, and instructor with 20 years of experience driving performance improvement in healthcare systems. She has worked with numerous hospitals and clinics to successfully develop capabilities resulting in greater organizational efficacy as well as more resilient, mindful, emotionally intelligent individuals and teams. She has completed an intensive practicum in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and trained with John Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorelli and Florence Meleo-Meyer through the UMASS Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-based Professional Education and Training.