The Mindful Teacher Foundation

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois



[Our ‘Mindful Teacher, Mindful Kids’ instructors] were amazing. What a gift to work with them in our journey of mindfulness! They are so open, compassionate and thoughtful. I always feel supported and that they put their hearts into our time together.
— MTMK Participant

Karyn Claflin

Karyn was introduced to mindfulness through yoga, which she has been practicing for many years. More recently, she discovered the techniques of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Ziva Meditation, and has also adopted a daily meditation practice. In addition to her work with the Mindful Teacher Foundation, she works as a massage therapist and private yoga instructor. Karyn loves helping folks manage their stress in healthy ways, and she believes being present for our lives and mindfully responding to life’s demands is the key to decreasing our stress response.

Carissa Kemna

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 U of I Psychology Department 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 Loechl

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 U of I Psychology Department. 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 a clinical psychologist and a founding member of our board of directors. Since 2011, he has provided mindfulness training classes for U of I staff/faculty/graduate students, Champaign-Urbana K – 12 school teachers, University High Laboratory High School students, and for Rosecrance addiction recovery clients. In addition to training MTF faculty, he also trains and supervises U of I Psychology Department graduate students in mindfulness instruction.

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.

A grassroots not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation serving teachers and students in the Urbana-Champaign area.