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Mindfulness and Education Working Group
Teachers College, Columbia University
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About Us > Our Team

About Us


Mindful Thoughts

  • Thoughts03_Allan Lokos

    “Don't believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that - thoughts.”
    ― Allan Lokos, Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living

About Us

Our Team


Dr. Craig E. Richards, PhD is Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.  He is also Program coordinator for Education Leadership, and Director of the highly innovative Summer Principals Academy.  He has published six books and many research articles during his thirty-year career in higher education.  His most recent work in progress is a book on Self Leadership and Self Awareness Training.  He has practiced various forms of meditation and self awareness for more than thirty years and teaches 180 students self awareness in a five-week intensive every summer in New York City.



Lisa millerLisa Miller, Ph.D. is the Director of Clinical Psychology and Associate Professor in the Clinical Psychology Program.  Dr. Miller obtained her B.A. from Yale University and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied under Dr. Martin Seligman. Her research and scholarly interests are in spirituality and mind-body pathways to wellness, basic science at multiple levels of analysis on spirituality development, and prevention and treatment interventions for children and adolescents in poverty, increased access to treatment among low SES populations, intergenerational transmission of risk and resilience factors, and development of spirituality in children and adolescents. Dr. Miller's lab over the past fifteen years has been funded by a William T. Grant Faculty Scholars Award, an NIMH K-Award and a number of corporate and family foundations.  Dr. Miller received the Virginia Sexton Mentoring Award from American psychological Association and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. (Read New York Times features TC's Spirituality and Mind-Body Psychology Program, led by Dr. Miller.)

Sarah Sherman is co-founder and co-president of the Mindfulness and Education Working Group (MEWG) at Columbia University’s Teachers College, a first of its kind faculty, student, and staff initiative that explores and promotes the role of mindfulness and contemplative practices in education through innovative interdisciplinary research, theory, and practice.  Her research interests are in service of deepening mind and body awareness to empower individuals to lead more fulfilling, meaningful and healthy lives.  She works with groups that cross both academic disciplines and administrative departments at TC, including adults with Aphasia, the Summer Principals Academy, Peace Corps, and the Office of Facilities Management.  She co-facilitates annual mindfulness retreats for professionals working in the Education Sector and leads a weekly meditation series at Teachers College.


Sarah received a B.F.A. with honors recognition from Rhode Island School of Design and an M.A. from Columbia University’s Teachers College.  Sarah has daily mindfulness and meditation practices, including qigong, yoga, and other contemplative techniques.  In addition, Sarah has lived for a month at a monastery in Taiwan and has walked spiritual pilgrimages including, El Camino de Santiago, Via Francigena, and Shvil Yisra'el.

Home Nguyen is an educator, leadership consultant and executive coach with experience working in diverse cultures and settings. He facilitates transformative learning and leadership retreats for corporate professionals and educators, integrating mind and body awareness practices with psychology and scholarly research.  As an adjunct faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University, he teaches courses on Self- Awareness Training, Mindfulness and Contemplative Practices for educators, therapists and leaders. In addition, he also conducts Personal Leadership & Career Fitness workshops for MBA students at Columbia Business School, and teaches on the Summer Principal’s Academy at Teacher’s College.  As an executive coach, Home has worked with a wide range of leaders and their teams, from CEOs of privately owned companies to managers of large corporations, helping them develop generative insight, social and emotional intelligence and resiliency.

Home received his BA from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is a doctoral candidate in adult learning and leadership at Columbia University. His research focuses on the development of wisdom and mindfulness within groups, teams and organization.   A meditator for the past 15 years, Home is the co-founder and co-president of the Mindfulness and Education Working Group (MEWG) at Columbia University. In 2013, he was a featured speaker on mindfulness and leadership at TEDx Teachers College.

Joe levitanJoe Levitan is currently the Director of Education and Development at The Sacred Valley Project, an educational non-profit located in the Urubamba Valley of Peru. Prior to this position Joe taught English Language Arts and Humanities in a Baltimore City Public School. Joe has a Masters degree in International Educational Development with a concentration in Peace Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University with high honors in philosophy and a minor in comparative religion. Joe has been meditating for over eight years, including time spent in monasteries in Japan and Thailand. He also co-facilitates annual mindfulness retreats, and spent a year facilitating a weekly meditation group at Teachers College.

Hua-Chu yenHua-Chu Yen (Ed. D.) is an artist, educator and digital media specialist. She has been participating with TC's Mindfulness and Education Working Group since its inception in 2010. Her interests lie in incorporating mindfulness practice to teaching and learning, and, in particular, to foster one's creative process.

Hua-Chu received her doctorate from the Art and Art Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research examines the intersections within digital media, emerging technologies and cinema through the prisms of philosophical ideas and artistic expressions. With her master degree in Art and Art History from Tufts University and in Interactive Telecommunications Program from New York University, Hua-Chu Yen has worked for museums, I.D. Magazine, and Art Science Research Lab, and taught photography and video at Teachers College. A native Taiwanese, Hua-Chu has published two books and numerous articles about visual art in New York for general public in Chinese-speaking communities.

Daniel caffarel Daniel Caffarel is currently a graduate student in the Psychological Counseling masters program at Teachers College where he is developing his interest in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. An Arizona native who now calls New York home, he is currently an intern at the Center of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  He also serves as an  active duty Army officer.  He received a B.A. in psychology from the University of Arizona and a M.A. in health psychology from Northcentral University.





Rachel diamondRachel Diamond is a master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program, concentrating in Spirituality and Mind/Body Practices. She has been working with the Mindfulness and Education Working Group (MEWG) at Columbia University, Teachers College for the past 6 months, where her duties include co-facilitating weekly meditation sessions and creating and participating in the Peer Facilitation Group. She is deeply interested in psycho-spiritual work and believes that many spiritual practices can be an important part of one’s development and growth. Rachel graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Skidmore College. She is currently involved in various projects pertaining to spirituality and mindfulness. Her interests include enhancing, supporting, and investigating the role in which spirituality and mind/body practices play in one’s overall health and wellness. It is her passion and spiritual truth to continue to bring forth an understanding and awareness into her own life and into the lives of others.

Nicole reinerNikki Reiner is a Masters student in the Counseling Psychology program. She received her Bachelors degree from the University of Michigan, where she graduated with highest distinction. Nikki's interest lies in integrating contemplative practice into therapy. She has been drawn to mindfulness because practicing nonjudgmental moment-to-moment awareness (being present) has allowed her to live a more peaceful, accepting, and fully expressed life. The quote that inspires is - "the secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present both wisely and earnestly."- Buddha.



Sarkia persaudSarika Persaud is the treasurer of MEWG. Her research interests focus on the concept of the Divine Feminine in Hinduism, and how ancient beliefs about femininity can help women today create a unified and cohesive mind-body-spirit unit. In addition, she is interested in the role of ritual in mindfulness. She is the Vice President of  Educational Resources for Hindu Students Council, a national organization dedicated to helping Hindu youth develop an integrated personality based on the teachings of their spiritual heritage. She also works closely with temples in the NYC area in developing educational programs for Hindu youth.

Sarika received a B.A. with honors from St. John's University (NY), and is currently pursuing her M.A. at Teachers College (Columbia University). She has made pilgrimages to various sacred sites in India, including Rishikesh/Haridwar, Somnath, Dwarika, and Ujjain. Sarika practices mindfulness through daily yoga, japa (mantra meditation), and through Kathak, a form of Indian classical dance.