Spring Conference 2017
Our Speakers
Robert Ahdoot

Robert Ahdoot began his education 12 years ago as a math teacher, and remains one to this day. Throughout that time, his personal mission was to tune into every specific way to reach his students, to connect to them as learners and as people, and reverse any state of shutdown they experience. One mental note led to several, which led to a living and growing teacher playbook. Through years of dedication and focus on student connection, his classes became fun, lively, and positive beacons of learning for both him and his students.

Yet within so elevated a space, he and his students felt a restlessness. It was the dawn of the video era, and they knew that what they were stumbling upon something that could truly benefit others, if they could only experience it. So out came an impromptu camcorder perched atop a precarious stack of books, and the Yay Math movement was born.

YayMath.org is a free online collection of math video lessons, filmed LIVE in Robert's classroom, featuring authentic student interaction that's inviting and emotionally connective. It has given life to now iconic, full costume math characters, like the "MathemaGyptian" and "MathemaChicken." Since its inception, Yay Math videos are viewed at a staggering 2 million minutes per month.

Yay Math's online proliferation has provided him the opportunity to give multiple TEDx talks on conquering math anxiety, speak at schools about how to permanently achieve inspired learning, and pen his debut book, One-on-One 101: The Art of Inspired and Effective Individual Instruction. It's the complete guide to connecting to students on a One-on-One level, and it has been adopted by school administrations as a blueprint for cultivating meaningful student-teacher learning relationships.

Roni Habib
Roni is the founder of EQSchools, an organization dedicated to providing Emotional Intelligence training to teachers, students, and parents nationally and abroad. He teaches Positive Psychology at Gunn High School in Palo Alto and is the director of the MERIT Institute at Foothill College. Roni speaks and consults for schools and business organizations on the topics of Mindfulness, Creative Confidence, Emotional Intelligence, Positive Psychology, Design Thinking, and the importance of Play. He lived in Israel and Belgium before coming to the U.S. where he got his Masters of Education and teaching credential at Harvard. He currently lives in Sunnyvale, California, with his wife Allison and two children, Eli and Leah.
Anne Marie Sebastiani
Anne Marie Sebastiani helps school teachers and principals lead by example and feel alive knowing they are making the difference that called them to education in the first place. She delivers innovative talks that help educators implement a powerful vision for ultimate school success. Holding top leadership positions in schools for over twenty years, she delivers workshops, speeches and powerful trainings that combine intuition with modern leadership to break free of overwhelm and master their true work and life flow!
Shawnrey Notto
Award winning performer, speaker, dancer, and choreographer, Shawnrey is dedicated to guiding and inspiring professionals to be the confident leaders they are meant to be. She specializes in stage presence and public appearances be they in a classroom, on a stage, or in front of a board room. Her mindfulness-based movement methodology combines dance, yoga, theater, and mindfulness meditation. Her clients include teachers, administrators, entrepreneurs, and children around the world, who have attended her live workshops or coaching to unlock their ability to be powerful, connected, joyful, with magnetic presence both on stage and off­stage, inside and out.
Fred Luskin
Dr.Luskin is a Senior Consultant in Health Promotion and the Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects. He speaks nationally on the importance of emotional intelligence and the need to manage stress. His research centers on the intersection of spiritual values and physical and emotional well being.
Donnovan Somera Yisrael
Donnovan Somera Yisrael ('89) is the Manager of Emotional & Sexual Health Programs with I Thrive @ Stanford (Health Promotion Services) at Vaden Health Center. Through interactive course lectures and workshops in the residences he introduces students to the practices that lead to healing, health and happiness. During his 20+ year career as a health educator he has encouraged his audiences to critically examine the media they consume and the cultures that they navigate each day to understand the conscious and unconscious ways that cultural values and messages affect our health.
Carin Winter
Carin Winter is the founder and CEO of Mission Be and has successfully lead their mindful education program into 28 schools from Big Sur, California to Harlem, New York. Carin has trained thousands of educators and students. She holds a LMSW with a clinical background and 15 years of experience working with youth in schools, offering children's yoga & movement, counseling and mindfulness. Carin has been studying the work of mindfulness for over 20 years and is talented meditation teacher, gifted speaker and visionary.
Tarn Wilson
Tarn Wilson has been teaching journaling and creative writing to teenagers and adults for over twenty years. She earned her MA in Education from Stanford and her MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop. In 2014, her memoir the Slow Farm was published by Ovenbird Books, and her essays appear in numerous literary journals. Learn more about her at tarnwilson.com
Martin Blank
Martin E. Blank is entrepreneur, educator and consultant with a degree from UC Berkeley in Education, Social Change and Linguistics. He has reached over 15,000 students, educators, and administrators nationwide in public and private schools for 11 years. Since 2013, he has focused on incorporating mindfulness in schools through the YES! for Schools program and through his own organization, he provides education, arts and music to underserved communities in the greater SF Bay Area. He is also a sailor and the co-founder of a successful Bay Area-based 14-member Cumbia orchestra, Pasto Seco Band, and lives in Redwood City, California with his girlfriend and a small assortment of baby stuffed animals.
Nicole Steward
Nicole Steward is a social worker (MSW) and yoga instructor (200RYT) with a focus on community engagement, public education, foster youth advocacy, and trauma-informed yoga. With more than a decade of social work practice in non-profits and accountability work in K-12 education, Nicole has noticed the need for radical self-care to discharge toxic stress we absorb through our work. This awareness drives her to study the ways yoga and mindfulness affect our brains and bodies, keeping us engaged and renewed. Nicole teaches yoga and offers self-care workshops to social service agencies and non-profit organizations. Nicole believes self-care is a radical tendency we must adopt if we are to sustain ourselves as service providers and human beings.
Pam Lozoff
Pam Lozoff is a trained social worker (MSW) and yoga instructor (RYT) who specializes in holistic youth development as a means of fostering physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. She has 7+ years of experience in youth development, program development, and yoga teaching. Seeking to merge social justice and yoga, her work in the field of yoga service has led her to work with youth in the juvenile justice system, therapeutic day schools, public & charter schools, and group home settings. She is also the Founder/Director of Spirit of Youth Yoga which offers yoga and social-emotional learning circles to youth, families, and service providers to build self-awareness, leadership, and community together.
Bill Overton
Bill has always been an advocate for strong social-emotional programs in schools. His experience at Ohlone Elementary School in Palo Alto and related training proved how academic rigor and success and social and emotional well-being are not mutually exclusive. He believes that strong relationships make the difference in student success. As both a teacher and principal, his number one focus was establishing such relationships with students, parents, and teachers. He believes that as educators we have two curriculum responsibilities: the academic skills needed and the life skills that are critical in helping kids navigate the social milieu and life's ups and downs.
Sarah Newman
Sarah Newman is a Positive Psychology Practitioner and the founder of The Mindful Kids, a program developed to provide children with access to mindfulness skills and practices that can help them not only succeed, but also flourish - in school and in their lives. Sarah teaches in the Palo Alto Unified School District and offers classes, workshops, one-on-one coaching and mentoring for both children and adults.
John Remark
John is an improv coach, actor, corporate trainer, and attorney. He has performed and trained improv for over 20 years throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He's a company member and former Artistic Director at San Francisco's premier troupe, BATS Improv, as well as Managing Director of the S.F.'s Secret Improv Society.