Peace of Mind

Curriculum, storybooks and classroom resources to help children manage emotions, build relationships, and face challenges with compassion and courage.

Welcome to the Peace of Mind Program: a weekly curriculum for PreK-8 taught by classroom teachers, counselors, social workers and others  in public, public charter and independent schools nationwide.

Educator created, extensively classroom-tested, research-supported and effective, Peace of Mind supports both students and teachers!

Peace of Mind will help your students self-regulate, be kind, solve conflicts skillfully, and prepare to build a more peaceful world. 

How can the Peace of Mind Program benefit you and your students?

We’d love to help you find out. Please contact us to schedule a conversation.

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Stay in Touch!

Peace of Mind sends out periodic newsletters – we promise not to overwhelm your inbox!  Our newsletters contain invitations to events, advance notice of the release of new Curricula, Storybooks and Resources, and news from the field.

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Laura Feagans Gould, Ph.D.

Mindfulness Researcher, Teacher, and Consultant, Founder, Allighten LLC

Dr. Laura Feagans Gould is Founder and Chief Mindfulness Officer of Allighten, LLC where she helps individuals and organizations build their inner capacity for awareness, compassion, and inquiry as well as their outer capacity to assess and measure progress towards meaningful learning and growth. She has been studying and bringing mindfulness into communities and schools for almost two decades, serving as a co-investigator on several nationally funded grants and as the Director of Research for both Minds Incorporated and A Mindful Choice. 

Laura’s research has focused on understanding the essential components of mindfulness-based programs in school settings as well as their potential impact on the development of youth outcomes. As a teacher, she is committed to introducing practices of kindness and presence for modern life in accessible and practical ways, with a touch of humor. She received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed her postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is currently in her second year of the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program through The Awareness Training Institute and the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

She has an affinity for bad puns (much to her kids’ chagrin), sloths, college sports, and collecting (but not always embodying) inspiring quotes and tidbits of wisdom. She lives in Northern Virginia with her most enlightening teachers: her incredible children and husband.

Kelly Gilstrap

Educator Outreach, Training and Support

Kelly Gilstrap is a career educator with over 14 years of experience both teaching and serving as an instructional coach. As a mindful educator, Kelly believes in the power of school communities to develop student capacity to face challenges in their lives and the world with kindness, courage, and compassion. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Educational Administration. After recently teaching and coaching in Washington, DC, she now serves as a consultant with Peace of Mind, providing outreach, training and educator support. In this role, she develops and delivers training for those new to PoM and schools looking to strengthen their implementation model.

Kelly now resides in the sunny state of Georgia with her children and her husband Neil Gilstrap, Co-founder and CTO of Cadmore Media.

Fall Community of Practice Gathering: Mindfulness and Restorative Practices

Thursday, October 20th, 4:15 to 5:45 pm EST

Peace of Mind‘s global community and the DC, Baltimore and Prince George’s County MD  COSEM communities gathered for experiential learning and conversation about integrating mindfulness and circle practices.  Skilled circle facilitators Robin McNair and Dave Trachtenberg helped us explore how the intersections of mindfulness and restorative justice can empower our students and re-connect educators with their purpose.  We talked about how this powerful combination can support student well-being and help us create spaces of belonging for our students that embody social justice and equity.

Facilitators and Contributors  

Robin McNair,
Restorative Practices Coordinator for Prince George’s County MD Schools and COSEM chapter leader for Prince George’s County MD

Dave Trachtenberg, Mindfulness facilitator and restorative justice educator at American University’s School of Health Studies, Washington D.C. and Peace of Mind Advisor

Mia Donovan, 5th grade educator, Mindful Teacher Foundation instructor, and COSEM chapter leader for Baltimore County, MD

Linda Ryden, Peace of Mind Founder, curriculum and storybook author, and full-time Peace Teacher in DC Public Schools  

Mindfulness for Educators (free)

Tuesdays, 7 pm to 8:15 pm EST, Nov 15, Dec 13, Jan 10, Feb 7, Mar 14

Would you like to develop the tools to manage your own stress and anxiety? To help your students manage theirs?  This course is for you.

Join us to develop your mindfulness practice to support your own well-being and prepare to teach mindfulness to your students.

This 5-session monthly course, taught by MMTCP-trained meditation teacher Chapin Springer, explores the fundamentals of mindfulness while offering meditation practices to help reconnect the mind, body, and heart in our everyday lives – and particularly in times of stress and uncertainty. 

Peace of Mind curriculum author Linda Ryden will join at the beginning of  each class to lead us in a mindfulness practice from The Peace of Mind Curriculum for PreK-8, modeling a practice you can share with your students.  Chapin will then guide us in the adult version of the practice, offering context and insight into why and how we practice it for ourselves and teach it to our students. 

This course is open to educators using The Peace of Mind Curriculum and those seeking to learn more about the foundations of mindfulness and how to apply it in their teaching and in their daily lives.

This project is supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Laura Yee, Ph.D., CTAACC

Board Member

Laura’s work is driven by a passion for educational equity and social justice. As a former actor, teacher, teacher educator, consultant and school administrator, she has worked to empower historically marginalized voices as well as challenge and change longstanding systems of oppression. As a certified leadership coach, it is her mission to empower leaders to create equitable and inspiring, diverse environments where all people thrive. Her clients include leaders in independent and public schools as well as in organizations such as the U.S. Naval Academy. As a consultant, Laura has worked with a range of organizations, including District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), XQ America, Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE), Association of American Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) and Independent School Management (ISM).

Currently, Laura serves as Founder and C.E.O. of her equity-driven leadership coaching and educational consulting company, Radical Becoming, LLC. Her past experience includes serving as Assistant Head of School for Curriculum and Instruction and Principal of the Lower School at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. She also taught in public and private schools in the D.C. metro area and southwestern Virginia. Laura earned her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland’s Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership with particular focus in teacher education and professional development. She earned her M.Ed. in Special Education from The University of Virginia, an M.A.T. in Elementary Education at The American University and a B.A. at Middlebury College. Her research examines the role of diversity and equity in teachers’ vision and practice, enactment of culturally relevant thinking and practices, and the preparation of culturally relevant, equity-centered teachers.

Outside education, Dr. Yee’s passions include gardening, hiking and camping, woodworking, cooking, and spending time with her family, including three goofball children, their two adopted pitbulls and 11 egg-laying hens.

Syreetta McArthur


Coming Soon

Charles DeSantis

Associate Vice President and Chief Benefits Officer, Georgetown University

Charles is Chief Benefits Officer and Associate Vice President for Benefits, Payroll and Wellness at Georgetown University. Through his leadership of the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits, Payroll Services and GUWellness, he is creating a culture in which people want to work by providing the benefits and well-being programs that will attract and retain employees. He is committed to supporting the personal, professional and financial well-being of the University community. Charles’s passion for serving others manifests itself in the workplace through GUWellness, as well as in his service on boards of organizations that influence how we serve our community. Charles is particularly honored to currently serve on the TIAA Client Advisory Council and MetLife Client Advisory Board, and to have recently concluded his term on the regional American Heart Association Board. 

Charles is heavily committed to giving back to the humanitarian sector through is work serving children and refugees in the greatest need worldwide. In 2008, Charles and a colleague from Georgetown University started an art education program called Art in Kibera at a school which serves AIDS-impacted orphans in the Kibera Slum of Nairobi, Kenya. In 2013, Charles created the Kibera Art Institute serving those – age 4 to 22 – in the Kibera community more broadly in creating art and finding a voice and identity through the visual arts. The Kibera Art Institute, through the Sanaa Foundation (founded by Charles), was granted Community Based Organization Status by the Republic of Kenya. In October 2018, after 10 years of providing art education in the Kibera slum, The Nairobi National Museum hosted a two-month long exhibit entitled The Art of the Smart, Beautiful and Important Children of Kibera

Charles also serves as the president of the board of Nyumbani USA, serving children with HIV/AIDS in Kenya, and sits on the board of the School of Hope Foundation, serving the children in a school for AIDS affected orphans. In 2013, Charles became Chair of U.S. Association for UNHCR (UN refugee organization) and was tasked with reshaping this organization as one of the leading UNHCR refugee support organizations worldwide. Under Charles’s leadership, the organization grew from $3 million annually to $60 million. This happened through active leadership, hiring the right people and ensuring the organization’s mission was clearly articulated and widely communicated. Charles is currently Chair Emeritus of USA for UNHCR.  In addition to his humanitarian work, Charles also sits of the board of The Washington Ballet, as it strives to fulfill its mission of excellence, diversity and community engagement as the ballet of the Nation’s Capital.

Charles lives in Chevy Chase, DC with his husband David and their four children, Lucas, Andrew, Jasmine and Lilly.  He has published two books with New Academia Publishing; Smart, Beautiful and Important: teaching art to AIDS-affected orphans in Africa’s Largest slum and Lucas and Lilly go to Kindergarten.  

Gloriela Iguina-Colón

Social Policy Researcher

Gloriela Iguina-Colón is a social policy researcher, dialogue facilitator, and mindfulness practitioner who is committed to co-creating spaces and policies that foster belonging and joy. Her engagements span across policy, spirituality, and interpersonal relationships, and she aims to bridge people across ideologies and identities.

As a researcher, she has co-led and co-designed evaluations of social service programs and provided strategic support to improve service delivery for low-income people. She has worked across multiple institutions, including public housing authorities, community colleges, financial counseling centers, and philanthropic organizations.

As a facilitator, she has developed and co-created more than a dozen dialogues and collaborative spaces for students, community members, and researchers to develop deeper self-awareness and move towards sustainable, structural change.

As a mindfulness practitioner, she has engaged in multiple trainings, dialogue spaces, meditation practices, and dharma talks (Buddhist teachings) and aims to live every moment present and compassionately.

Gloriela is a proud Nuyorican – Puerto Rican New Yorker – and is a continuation of her ancestors on the archipelago and in the diaspora who ceaselessly assert their right to joy, creativity, community, the land, and self-determination.

She is deeply grateful for her teachers for inspiring her and paving the path for a better world and planting seeds of compassion in her, including her mother, her aunt, her partner, her MDRC colleagues, Thich Nhat Hanh, Paulo Freire, mushim ikeda, john a. powell, the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan team, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy team, and East Bay Meditation Center community. She graduated from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.

Jordan Love

For the past twenty years, Jordan Love has worked in independent schools in Washington, D.C., and Maryland as an early childhood educator and school leader. He is currently the Co-Head of Lower School at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, guiding programming, curriculum implementation, and professional development in preschool through kindergarten. In 2017, St. Andrew’s Lower School adopted the Peace of Mind curriculum in all PK-Grade 2 homeroom classes, and the program has since become one of the cornerstones of the social-emotional curriculum in the division.

Jordan has also provided mentorship and guidance to aspiring school and teacher leaders as an Advisory Council member for AISGW’s Emerging Leaders Institute since 2015, and has presented recently at the annual NAIS Conference and MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference. He received his Bachelor of Art in American Cultural Studies from Bates College and Master of Education with a focus in Teacher Leadership and Effective Teaching of Reading from Johns Hopkins University. Jordan believes strongly that school communities are at their best when the environment nurtures empathy and kindness, promotes collaboration and inclusiveness, and strives to create high-quality experiences anchored in Mind, Brain, and Education Science.

"Pay what you can" conference fee. Why?

Why? Part of our nonprofit’s mission is to keep our resources accessible to all who need them. We don’t want price to be a barrier for you to attend. At the same time, we feel it’s important to offer honorariums to all of our presenters as part of our commitment to equity. Educators are already asked to do way too much for free. Conference fees make this possible.

The suggested donation is $35 per person. If you need to pay less, no problem. If you can pay more, you will be supporting those who need to pay less. Just choose your price when you check out. Thank you!

Purchase Orders

Hello!  Thanks so much for your interest in purchasing Peace of Mind materials!  Here is the information to help you complete your purchase order:

Send to: Cheryl Dodwell, Executive Director

Peace of Mind Inc
5540 Nevada Ave
Washington DC, 20015

Phone: (Cheryl’s direct line)  240 273 8084

Fax: We do not have a fax number; please feel free to email

W9: pom w9

Tax ID #: 47-1449614

If we can help you with anything else, please contact us at

Thank you!

Jelena Popovic

Jelena Popovic is a school psychologist by training, a wanderer by choice and peacebuilder by heart. She finds humility and mindfulness practices to be foundational building blocks in peace co-creation. Her passion is facilitating dialogs that are grounded in mindful awareness and empathy thus she spends most of her time in the circle with educators, parents, and students.

As the Teaching Peace in Schools Leadership Council Lead for The Peace Alliance, Jelena aspires to educate, advocate and mobilize others in co-creating a culture of peace. Jelena serves as Guiding Teacher for Mindful Schools and Millennium Forum, is a facilitation trainer and guide for virtual cross-cultural exchange dialogs through Soliya, is one of the advisors for the Cities4Peace, facilitates retreats for educators, leads international At Home In the World family mindfulness retreats, and is co-founder of Design to Connect LLC, an educational consulting organization, that assists schools in their efforts in skillful and sustainable whole-school integration of mindfulness and peace education practices. She holds a B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park, and M.A., C.A.G.S. in school psychology from Tufts University.

Jillian Diesner

Independent Consultant, Early Childhood Programs and Educator Resource Development

After working with Peace of Mind to develop and author the Peace of Mind Core Curriculum for Early Childhood and offer related training, Jillian moved off of the Peace of Mind staff and transitioned into an independent consulting role in June 2019.  In this role, Jillian advises and supports Peace of Mind  in the areas of Early Childhood implementation and the development of resources for educators and parents.

Jillian is a dual-certified School Counselor and Special Education teacher who works with students at Lafayette Elementary School, a public school in Washington, DC. She teaches weekly Peace of Mind classes to all Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students at Lafayette. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the District of Columbia, holds Masters’ degrees in Early Childhood Special Education from the George Washington University and in Marriage & Family Counseling from the University of Florida.

An avid traveler, Jillian previously lived abroad and speaks Spanish and Italian. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two rambunctious boys.

Dave Trachtenberg

Dave Trachtenberg is a certified mindfulness teacher, circle-facilitator, and restorative justice educator who has dedicated his life to creating communities where people can authentically share, learn, and grow together.  With 20 years of experience with mindfulness and mind-body practices, Dave is an outspoken champion for racial justice, gender equality, and LGBTQ & immigrant rights.

For five years Dave had the honor of serving as Program Director for MINDS, a nonprofit facilitating mindfulness programs to over 18,000 students, educators, parents in Washington DC.  Currently he teaches mindfulness and restorative justice with American University, is a Guiding Teacher at Mindful Schools, Mindfulness First, and Millennium Forum, and is on the Advisory Board of Peace of Mind.  For 11 years Dave has offered mindfulness classes & coaching through Walk the Middle Way, working with adults & teens in schools, organizations, and communities.

Dave has trained with The Engaged Mindfulness Institute, MBSR, Mindful Schools, Restorative Justice in Education, The Academy of Guided Imagery, Tai-Chi in the Cheng Man-Ching lineage, and is completing an M.S. in Positive Organization Development from Case Western Reserve University.

Jackie Snowden

Assistant Principal (retired), Lafayette Elementary School

Jackie Snowden recently retired as Assistant Principal from Lafayette Elementary School, the largest elementary school in the District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) system with almost 800 students. Lafayette is a highly sought after elementary school which provides a special learning environment with talented, dedicated teachers and other staff members supported by a very active community body. Lafayette’s mission is to help students reach their full potential through creative, challenging, and fun learning experiences in a supportive, nurturing environment.

During Jackie’s tenure, Lafayette initiated and supported the first DCPS school-wide Peace and Mindfulness program to support a positive school culture. Jackie’s 30-year career at Lafayette also included teaching grades 2, 3, 5, and 6, as well as serving as the Arts Integration Coordinator when Lafayette was the only DCPS school to be designated as a Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) school. In this capacity, she also helped to train teachers and administrators in other DCPS designated Arts Integration schools. To this day, an emphasis on integrating the arts into all subject areas enriches every student’s learning experience at Lafayette and beyond.

As a teacher, Jackie was nominated for the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. She holds degrees from American University and Cambridge College. She is a very proud native Washingtonian, and the even more proud mother of three adult children, all of whom are Lafayette graduates and owners of successful businesses. She has been blissfully married to her husband, Rene, for 40 years.

Avideh Shashaani

Executive Director

Avideh Shashaani is the founder and president of the Fund for the Future of our Children, established in 1993 focusing on youth leadership for peace. She is the 6th recipient of the “Waging Peace” award first given to George Clooney by President Jimmy Carter.

She was the first co-director of the International Institute for Rehabilitation in Developing Countries founded by the UN, UNESCO, and UNDP and was appointed by the UN Secretary General to the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on the “Socio-Economic Implication of Investments in Rehabilitation of the Disabled”.

She is the author of three books, Tell Me Where To Be Born, Promised Paradise and Remember Me. She is the editor of “Something Deeper Happened: Young Voices and the 2008 US Election” with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Her poetry and writings have appeared in books, anthologies, and journals. Her poems have been featured in a one-hour program in the Library of Congress radio series.

She served as Vice-President of the DC Public Library, board chair of Refugee Women in Development, founding chair of MOSAICA and has served on the board of the Faith & Politics Institute and the Thomas Merton Institute. She has a BA in Experimental Psychology and a Ph.D. in Sufi Studies.

Liz Whisnant

Principal, Horace Mann Elementary School

Liz Whisnant has served as principal of the District of Columbia Public Schools’ Horace Mann ES since 2005. Horace Mann is only one of four schools in the nation to receive the US Department of Education Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award five times. In 2008, Liz co-founded with several principal colleagues the District of Columbia Collaborative for Change (DC3), a reform structure for school improvement in DCPS whose mission is to craft schools that are inspiring places to teach and learn. She currently serves on several boards, including The National Network of Schools in Partnership, The Theatre Lab, and Peace of Mind.


Prior to Mann, Liz served as a school leader in Charlotte, NC and as a principal coach for the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership in Seattle. She launched her education career as a classroom teacher in Boston, MA.


She holds degrees from Harvard University, Lesley University, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and Georgetown University. She is a proud mother, lucky spouse, and an enthusiastic cook. 

Chapin Springer