Our Board of Directors
Jason Scott (President)
Jason is the founder of the Mindful Teacher Foundation and president of our board of directors. His qualifications include over 20 years of software development, currently as a Principal Designer and Writer at Deep Silver Volition. Jason has been active in the 1-to-1 Mentoring Program since 1999, both as a volunteer mentor in Champaign public schools and as the donor relations chair on the scholarship foundation board. As an educator, Jason has taught courses in writing, drama, and game design at the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois, and Parkland College. He has practiced mindfulness meditation since 2006 and is a member of the Prairie Sangha in Urbana.
Wendy Heller, PhD (Vice President)
Wendy is the vice president of our board of directors. She is a full Professor in the Clinical/Community Program and Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois. She is a neuroscientist and Licensed Clinical Psychologist and her research focuses on understanding the cognitive, emotional, and neurophysiological factors that contribute to anxiety and depression. Wendy has been involved in research and training of mindfulness and the teaching of mindfulness for close to a decade. She has published on the topic of mindfulness in peer-reviewed journals, and she has used mindfulness meditation practice as a therapeutic intervention in her clinical practice. Wendy has over 20 years of experience with a personal mindfulness practice and has participated in numerous retreats and seminars.
Suja Thomas, JD (Secretary)
Suja is a Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. In this role, she teaches law students and researches and writes, including on the topics of the constitutional right to a jury trial and employment discrimination. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced law for several years in New York City. She and her husband formerly established and wrote The Give Blog, which was a mechanism to encourage themselves and others to consciously live and give to alleviate poverty in the world. She has practiced mindfulness meditation for several years and is a member of the Prairie Sangha.
Mark Aardsma (Treasurer)
As an entrepreneur, Mark led multiple startups to success including nationwide A/V rental company ATS Rentals and leading noise-control manufacturer ATS Acoustics. His firm First Leaf Capital makes venture capital, public equity, business loans, and other investments with a focus in Central Illinois. His book “Investing with Purpose” was published by Career Press in 2016 and conveys his approach to investing time and resources toward future outcomes that align with one’s true values. He has benefitted from a personal practice of mindfulness and believes mindfulness is a core ingredient to peace and success in many areas of life. He enjoys flying to adventures in his Cessna P210 airplane. He lives with his wife and four children in Champaign, Illinois.
Margie Jobe, EdD (Director)
Margie is a former teacher, principal, and Director of Special Education. She has 34 years of public school experience with thirteen years as an adjunct professor in the Special Education Department at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana campus. As the Director of Special Education for Champaign Unit 4, she supervised the programs and services from Pre-K through young adult for all disability areas, and implemented best practices for students with disabilities. She currently serves as an independent consultant to several school districts within Illinois, the Regional Office of Education #9, and the Illinois Center for School Improvement.