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Thank you to those who are joining the conversation in this special online series!


COSEM values equity, belonging, and inclusion, and there is a direct link to being more authentic in these areas when we deliberately cultivate both a mindfulness practice and our equity work. To move our mission forward prioritizing equity work, COSEM Board President Tovi Scruggs-Hussein launched an Equity-Based Conversation Series.  


Our goal with this series is to learn from each other, circulate ideas, and share best practices we are using in our schools and classrooms. Quarterly, Tovi meets with an equity leader to highlight the intersectionality of mindfulness, equity, and SEL.  Participants have access to ask questions and enhance their practices. Please email Tovi with topic or guest suggestions. 

We use the Zoom platform and also livestream them on our Facebook group.


Subscribe to our newsletter to be informed of future conversations.

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Moderator Turns Guest: Tovi Scruggs-Hussein

Tovi Scruggs-Hussein (she/her), former COSEM board president and school principal, is a visionary, healer, and award-winning urban educator with almost 30 years of leadership and transformation experience. She is internationally recognized for her signature approach of Leadership Do-ing to Leadership BE-ing and Emotionally Intelligent Equity & Inclusion.  She is a recognized leader in meditation, resilience, and self-mastery, was highlighted by Mindful Magazine, and is on a mission to heal our systems through her unique integration of leadership development, racial healing, and trauma-responsive resilience. She founded Racial Healing Allies™, a movement to create truly inclusive schools and organizations. She is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and co-teaches the trauma-informed leadership course at Mills College. Connect with Tovi at

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Maria Tan

Maria Tan (she/her) is the founder and director of House of Thriving which empowers leaders across education, the arts, and organizations to thrive authentically and powerfully for those they serve. During her tenure as a New York City public school teacher, she led a school-wide shift towards equitable practices that incorporated restorative circles, racial affinity groups, and trauma-informed mindfulness, reaching hundreds of adults and students. Equally critical, Maria discovered the importance of tending to self-restoration and healing in service of authentically supporting others. Embodying this through Thriving Teacher Project, she designs and facilitates workshops and community building experiences focused on mindfulness, social emotional learning, and collective healing as cornerstones of thriving. Maria’s restorative and contemplative approach equips others with the critical skills and tools to cultivate critical reflection and reconnect to their sense of wholeness.

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Meena Srinivasan

Meena Srinivasan (she/her), MA, National Board Certified Teacher, is a South Asian-American edupreneur with deep expertise in the fields of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness in Education. She is the Founding Executive Director of Transformative Educational Leadership (TEL), a racially and culturally diverse, compassion-centered, innovative program for educational leaders who are called to integrate mindfulness-based, social, emotional, academic and ethical learning into schools and school systems.


Prior to this role she spent five and a half years working in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to implement SEL system-wide in the Oakland Unified School District. Meena has taught and led in a variety of school settings (public, private, urban, international) and holds a Clear Administrative Services Credential in the state of California.


She is the creator of the SEL Every Day online courses, author of Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom , SEL Every Day: Integrating SEL with Instruction in Secondary Classrooms which was chosen as one of 2019’s Favorite Books for Educators by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and Integrating SEL into Every Classroom Quick Reference Guide. Meena’s article, “Social and Emotional Learning Starts with Adults” was one of ASCD’s 10 Best Express Articles of 2018 and she was featured in the Dec 2020/Jan 2021 issue of Educational Leadership Magazine on “Mindful School Leadership.”

Dr. Angel Acosta

Angel Acosta is a proud first-generation Dominican-American who works to bridge the fields of leadership, social justice, and mindfulness. He completed his Ed.D. in the Curriculum and Teaching Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research explored healing-centered education as a promising framework for educational leadership development and community care. He co-organizes the annual Healing-Centered Education Online Summit, a special gathering where practitioners and scholars pedagogies for collective healing through panel discussions, restorative circles, and networking receptions.


For close to a decade, he served as a program director for the national nonprofit CFES Brilliant Pathways. Angel is currently the Director of the Garrison Institute's Fellowship Program. He also serves as the Creative Director at the NYC Healing Collective and is a former trustee for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. He is a member of the 400 Years of Inequality Project and with an interest in better understanding collective trauma, he is currently collaborating with other scholars to develop group processes for collective healing. Lately, he has become curious about the ways in which technology can be used as a force for advancing racial equity and dismantling structural inequality.

Learn more at

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Barnaby Spring

Barnaby Spring is an educator, actor, writer, artist, activist & long time meditation & yoga practitioner living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC with his wife and son.  As a citywide Student Services Director in the New York City, Department of Education, he leads the work of cultivating mindfulness & yoga programs throughout the New York City, Department of Education & serves in workflows on Counseling Supports, Students in Temporary Housing & the NYCDOE’s most vulnerable students. However, when it comes to discussions on equity in our culture he asks that rather than be associated with or representative of any of the above he be invited to participate in this dialogue as a self-identified white male of privilege & entitlement who has benefitted disproportionately from the white supremacist culture he lives in as a citizen; as a white male.  He speaks for himself & no other individual, organization, institution; drawing from his own direct experience. Barnaby is deeply committed to the ways in which mindfulness can be an ally in dismantling systemic racism within himself, others & in our society.  He seeks to become a good ancestor.

Barnaby wrote chapter 39 of our Educating Mindfully book. His chapter is titled Meditations on the Emergence of Mindfulness in the Western Model of Education.

Resources recommended by Barnaby in this conversation:

Lorea Martínez Perez, PhD

Dr. Lorea Martínez is the award-winning founder of HEART in Mind Consulting, a company dedicated to helping schools and organizations integrate Social Emotional Learning in their practices, products, and learning communities. Dr. Martínez is a faculty member at Columbia University Teachers College, educating aspiring principals in Emotional Intelligence. She is a former special education teacher and administrator. Her new book for educators, Teaching with the HEART in Mind, provides a comprehensive roadmap to the psychology of emotions, relationships, and adversity in learning while equipping educators to teach SEL skills and develop their own emotional intelligence. Learn more at Twitter: @loreamart; Facebook: loreamartinezSEL

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JG Larochette

JG Larochette brings a passion for providing youth deeply impactful services and programs that support student and educators mental and emotional well-being so that students can thrive socially and academically both at school and beyond. He is driven to work from a strong equity, social justice, and holistic lens in all the work he does. In creating Mindful Life Project, he had the vision to provide programs in the lowest income and under-served schools, so that all students feel valued, empowered and given equitable educational opportunities. He is joined by an amazing and dynamic team that serves over 11,000 students in 9 cities across the Bay Area and leads trainings and supports for schools across the nation.

Khayree Bey

Khayree Bey  BBSc, M.Ed. 2021 Colonial School District Teacher of the Year and 2019 SHAPE Delaware’s Health Teacher of the Year. Bey was recently appointed to Delaware Senate Standards Board and is on Delaware State Education Association’s Trainer Cadre. Currently Bey implements an equity-based trauma and poverty-informed culturally responsive approach to teaching the art of MBSR, SEL, Kemetic yoga (200YTT) and other self-care practices. When he is not facilitating equity/mindfulness professional developments or coaching multiple after school inter scholastic athletic teams, he takes on projects like his school’s talent show, Black history month and Latinx heritage celebrations. Bey serves on both of his school district’s anti-racist equity teams including The Educators of Color Council which focuses on equity and the underrepresented population in teaching by recruiting, assisting, and maintaining educators of color and The Equity Audit Committee which identifies and addresses diversity, equity and inclusion issues to better serve all students and the community. 

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James Butler

James Butler has 14 years of teaching experience, mostly in Pre-K and K.  In 2014, James was named Austin ISD Teacher of the Year. In 2009, James volunteered as a HS English and Math teacher at Mangetti Combined School in Namibia. He wrote a mindfulness curriculum for elementary schools called Mindful Classrooms: The Educator Guide. It's being used in over 60 schools and camps in six states. He joined the SEL team for Austin ISD in July 2016 as the Mindfulness Specialist.

Here is the “Smore” James created with all of the links and resources from his mini-lesson, including their new Mindful AISD website. Learn more about Mindful Classrooms at

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Linda Ryden

Linda Ryden is the creator of the Peace of Mind Program, a cutting-edge combination of mindfulness, conflict resolution, and social-emotional learning. Linda is the author of the Peace of Mind Curriculum Series and is the full-time Peace Teacher at Lafayette Elementary School, a public school in Washington, DC, where she teaches Peace classes to more than 700 children every week.

Linda’s work on the Peace of Mind program has been recognized in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, and her program has been featured on local CBS, ABC, and Fox5 news stations. Linda was recognized as one of the “Faces of DC” by the George Washington Hatchet. Linda brings a passion for teaching peace and over 25 years of teaching experience to her work with children and adults. Linda holds a BA from Wesleyan University.

From Linda: Peace of Mind resources are available on Amazon and at  Our Peace of MInd Curriculum Series (5 volumes) from PreK-5 is available now. Our Middle School curriculum and the supplemental equity lessons for grades 3-5 will be available in a few weeks. Sign up for our mailing list to be notified as soon as they are ready. Our four storybooks Rosie's Brain (also in Spanish as El Cerebro de Rosita), Henry is Kind, Sergio Sees the Good, and Tyaja Uses the THiNK Test are available here: We also offer classroom resources, posters, mindfulness card sets, conflict resolution games and more. Discounts available for Title I schools. 

Zaretta Hammond 

Zaretta Hammond is a national consultant and the author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. She is a former high school and community college expository writing instructor who is passionate about the intersection of literacy, equity, and neuroscience. She has published articles in Educational Leadership, The Learning Professional, and Phi Delta Kappan.

Zaretta has free resources on her website that she pulled her slides from. 

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Nicole Lusiani Elliott 

Nicole Lusiani Elliott serves as an instructional coach and professional development associate for the Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning. Nicole also works as the Assistant Director at the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching at Stanford University, working primarily in areas of history education and instructional equity, in the Hollyhock Fellowship, AP Success Research Project, and as a pedagogy partner with Stanford Global Studies. She previously spent 19 years teaching at an East Bay public high school. 


Here are Nicole's presentation slides. She can be found at or on her website

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Dr. Sharroky Hollie

Dr. Sharroky Hollie is a national educator who provides professional development to thousands of educators in the area of cultural responsiveness. Since 2000, Dr. Hollie has trained over 150,000 educators and worked in nearly 2000 classrooms. Going back 25 years, he has been a classroom teacher at the middle and high school levels, a central office professional development coordinator in Los Angeles Unified School District, a school founder and administrator, and university professor in teacher education at the Cal State University. Sharroky has also been a visiting professor for Webster University in St. Louis and a guest lecturer at Stanford and UCLA.

In addition to his experience in education, he has authored several texts and journal articles. Most recently, he wrote Strategies for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning (2015) and contributed a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of African American Language (2015). Dr. Hollie's first book, Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success was published in 2011, followed soon thereafter by The Skill to Lead, The Will to Teach, co-written with Dr. Anthony Muhammad.

Here are resources from

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An Introduction to Tovi Scruggs-Hussein

In this video from the summer of 2019, Tracy Heilers, Executive Director of COSEM, interviews our president Tovi Scruggs-Hussein.


Tovi is a visionary educator, author, and award-winning urban high school principal with over 25 years of emotional intelligence and self-mastery experience.  From her lived experience, Tovi teaches what the future of successful leadership will require: self-awareness and deep connection to others.  She has served as California’s Regional Executive Director of Partners in School Innovation, founding co-director of the Association of CA School Administrators Equity Leaders Academy and Regional State Equity Representative, and co-founded a secondary school. Tovi is the founding co-teacher of the trauma-informed leadership course at Mills College. 


Most recently, Tovi was personally trained with Brené Brown and is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and Courage Catalyst. Her other certifications are numerous and include Integral Coaching by New Ventures West,  Search Inside Yourself, and Niroga Institute.  Deemed “Goddess at Work,” Tovi utilizes skills from her numerous certifications and leadership experiences, leading transformative professional development and keynotes nationally. Tovi has committed her next body of work to cultivating the competencies of leaders to create equitable and sustainable change and transformation by being more conscious, connected and courageous.

Learn more at

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