We are
Breathe For Change.

A research-backed education movement dedicated to uplifting and supporting educators to build stronger school communities.





Our Mission

To bring wellness, inspiration, and community to every educator and student.

Our Vision

A world where all people are inspired, educated, and empowered to be their whole and brilliant selves in their lives, relationships, and communities.

Our Programs

We offer transformational trainings that empower educators to enhance well-being, foster connection, and improve educational outcomes. Our life-changing programs – rooted in research, community, and a deep understanding of educator’s needs – offer holistic, transformative experiences and tools for both personal and professional growth.

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Our Community

  • Show up as the best version of themselves in their lives, relationships, and communities
  • Prioritize their well-being
  • Lead with love in their classrooms and schools
  • Are equipped with the tools they need to be successful in their profession
  • Thrive in community
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Backed by Science & Research

Breathe For Change programs meet ESSA Level III Promising research standards.

Improve educator well-being and student behaviors

A study conducted by Learn Platform found that our programs reduced educator-reported stress and burnout, while improving global health, SEL, self-efficacy, and challenging student behaviors.

Protect mental health

A study conducted by Harvard found our programs can play a protective role in maintaining mental health.

Support student SEL and academic outcomes

Dr. Ilana’s Nankin’s dissertation revealed the critical connection between educator well-being and student social-emotional and academic outcomes.

Improve focus and attention

A study conducted by the California State University of Fullerton found our programs can improve focus as well as attention.

Reduce stress and burnout

A study conducted by a Ph.D. candidate at the Stanford Mind-Body Lab found reduced teacher stress and burnout enhanced efficacy.

Improve symptoms of anxiety

A randomized controlled study conducted by Tulane University found that our programs may improve symptoms of anxiety among students.

Transform. Teach. Thrive.

Our Theory of Change empowers educators and school leaders with the wellness, inspiration, and community they need to provide the next generation the education they deserve to thrive as human beings.

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Meet the Team

Ilana Nankin, Ph.D.

Founder & CEO

San Francisco, CA

Michael Fenchel

Co-Founder & President

Austin, TX

Julia Cremin

VP of Operations

Madison, WI

Cecelia (Cece) Libman

Director of Marketing

San Diego, CA

Kelli Sammis, Ed.D.

Director of School & District Partnerships

College Station, TX

Michelle Cordero, MFA

Head Trainer

Oakland, CA

Julia Bond

Director of Growth

Honolulu, HI

Shatera Weaver

Professional Development Lead

Baltimore, MD

Brie Walker, M.S.

Lead Trainer

New York, NY

Andy Kaplan

Chief Financial Officer

Boynton Beach, FL

Rabia Meghani

Lead Trainer

Austin, TX

Chris Ramsey

Senior Educator Development Advisor

Newark, OH

Bianca Gasparri

Educator Development Advisor & Sales Development Representative

Scottsdale, AZ

Cathy Kincheloe

Sales Development Representative

Whitefish, MT

Iz Siliato Bailey

Community Operations Manager

Bedford, MA

Steph Lindsey

Product Manager

Denver, CO

Jeff Fenchel

Infrastructure Engineer

Madison, WI

Adriel Henriksen

Community Support Lead

Seattle, WA

Jordan Betito

Community Support Specialist

Glen Burnie, MD

Alex Garner

Tech Admin

Ecuador

Megan Bailey

Education Success Manager

Madison, WI

Esra Flora

Community Manager

Long Beach, CA

Andrea F Kulas

Production Lead

Chicago, IL

Kirsten Rogers

Meditation Trainer

Los Angeles, CA

Felipe Gonzalez

Philosophy Trainer

New York, NY

Pamela Alles

Middle School Teacher

Ilana Nankin, Ph.D.

Founder & CEO

San Francisco, CA

Dr. Ilana Nankin—the Founder & CEO of Breathe For Change—is an award-winning entrepreneur, teacher educator, and former public school teacher committed to using wellness as a vehicle for healing and social change. Ilana earned degrees in both psychology and education at UC Berkeley, and received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin. Her dissertation revealed the critical connection between educator well-being and student learning, and the positive impact that wellness and social-emotional learning can have on teachers and students’ lives. Inspired by her research, Ilana founded Breathe For Change, a movement on a mission to enhance the health and well-being of educators, students, and entire communities. Breathe For Change offers the world’s only 200-hour Mindfulness, SEL, and Yoga Teacher Training specifically for educators, and provides wellness and SEL professional development for schools, districts, and organizations. Since 2015, Breathe For Change has certified 10,000+ educators through their 200-hour training, who are now positively impacting the lives and well-being of over 2,000,000 students around the country.

Michael Fenchel

Co-Founder & President

Austin, TX

Michael is a social entrepreneur and facilitator who has started four successful companies including Breathe For Change, a movement enhancing the well-being of over 5,000,000 teachers, students, and school community members. Passionate about conscious leadership, Michael is also co-founder of PRDX, a community of founders co-creating belonging and flow, and Prism.fm, a music tech company powering 100,000+ shows per year. Michael lives in Austin with his wife Adriana and dog Zuri where you’ll find him freestyle rapping, playing pickleball, and getting creative with his friends.

Julia Cremin

VP of Operations

Madison, WI

As VP of Operations, I drive our annual goal setting and ensure company-wide alignment on goal execution. I achieve this through managing the development of team leaders, and empowering team members to adopt strategies to collaborate effectively and enhance efficiency. Through open communication and data-driven discussions, I aim to spark purpose and passion within the organization. Prior to my role in operations I taught math, language arts, mindful movement and SEL for 6 years at a Title I middle school in Madison, WI. I’m also a Cohort 9 graduate of the Breathe For Change Mindfulness, SEL, and Yoga Teacher Training.

Kelli Sammis, Ed.D.

Director of School & District Partnerships

College Station, TX

Kelli spent more than 29 years in public education with roles ranging from classroom teacher to building principal to district Director of School Leadership.

After earning her doctorate in curriculum from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, she began to work to design a new teacher induction program for Texas schools that was grounded in positive behavior, systems, mindful practices, and social emotional health. During the years that she served as a district director, a professional development, she always grounded her professional development presentations and trainings in mindful practices regardless of the content being delivered, so that every educator that she had the privilege to lead received tools for their own well-being that then informed their professional practices. She’s also a 500-ERYT yoga instructor, is a certified Masters of wisdom meditation teacher, and is certified by The Chopra Center as an Ayurvedic health coach. All of these yoga tools inform her practices as an educational leader.

One of her greatest strengths is coaching and empowering school leaders to create environments of health and well-being for their staff so that ultimately staff are doing the same thing for the students and families they serve. She firmly believes that without wellness being kept as a priority at the leadership level, schools will never perform at the level of expectations that our state legislature is setting for them.

Michelle Cordero, MFA

Head Trainer

Oakland, CA

Michelle Cordero, Breathe For Change’s Head Trainer, has devoted the last 3 decades to deepening her connection to and sharing the powerful practice of yoga with the world. Michelle has led retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings internationally, and was voted “Best Yoga Teacher of the East Bay” by Oakland Magazine. She is certified at the highest level with the Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 & YACEP credentials.

Michelle’s greatest passion is inspiring educators to teach yoga in an inclusive and accessible way. She teaches with a sense of humor, curiosity and compassion. Michelle’s classes are inclusive, gender affirming, trauma-informed and uniquely tailored to meet the needs of each student regardless of experience, age, gender, or body shape.Michelle has contributed greatly to the development of Breathe For Change’s 200-hour Training, 300-hour Training, Professional Development offerings, and Educator Collective events.

Michelle has her Master’s Degree, a certificate in Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy and is a Certified Wellness Coach and Craniosacral Work practitioner, and has trained with the Trauma Center’s Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY) program and the Trauma Informed Resilience Oriented Approach (TIRO). She also completed a 75-hour Skill in Action training with Michelle C Johnson, focused on the intersection of Yoga and Social Justice. Michelle is inspired and honored to be guiding you along your yoga teaching journey.

Julia Bond

Director of Growth

Honolulu, HI

A growth hacker by trade, Julia leverages analytics, creative, and innovation to deliver rapid revenue growth and scale Breathe For Change’s impact while staying true to core values of equity and accessibility for all.

Previous to Breathe For Change, Julia was the co-founder and CEO of Yoga Ed., acquired by Breathe For Change in June 2023. Julia spent her formative years immersed in Buddhist mindfulness practices while learning to code at 10 years old on her first computer. At Brown University, Julia received her Bachelor’s of Science in Human Biology: The Brain and Behavior where she explored the nuanced intersection of data-driven science, centuries-old mindfulness practices, and how human beings find connection in themselves and the world around them.

Julia’s unique and integrated expertise allows her to bridge Breathe For Change’s vision, strategy, and execution. Outside of work, Julia finds joy through the simple moments of love and laughter with her two children and puppy at home in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Shatera Weaver

Professional Development Lead

Baltimore, MD

Shatera is a Special Educator and Breathe for Change graduate who’s love for yoga stemmed from her struggles with Sickle Cell Anemia. Shatera was born with a disease that impacts the red blood cells’ ability to carry and transfer oxygen efficiently. This has meant a frayed relationship with her body and physical activities throughout childhood into adulthood. Years ago, Shatera discovered asana through classes offered at a local gym, stating that “It was the only class I could complete without feeling inadequate or embarrassed. In fact, I left those classes feeling centered and emboldened.”

Grateful for this resource, she’s become devoted to sharing it with others. Especially after Shatera noticed that she was often the only one that looked like her in the gyms and studios she practiced in. This encouraged Shatera to earn her RYT200 from B4C in 2018, with the aim of helping more Black folx to meet on the mat – inviting their minds and bodies to reunite, as she’s been blessed to experience. Since then, Shatera began teaching asana and meditation classes, and implementing wellness practices into her curriculum and structures as Dean of Culture at a 6-12 NYC public school, and within her day to day life and interpersonal relationships.

Now, Shatera has reached RYT500, and serves as a curriculum designer for schools and after school programs all over the nation that challenge the current inadequate and inequitable status quo of the traditional education system. She offers services that rise from the intersection of wellness and education at byShatera.com

Brie Walker, M.S.

Lead Trainer

New York, NY

Brie is a self described lover of life. She truly believes there is no better way to honor the gift of life than to maximize your potential mentally, spiritually and physically. This is what led her to her the yoga practice and continues to keep her coming back to her mat. At the core of all of her values is equity. She believes that we, all, each being, deserves the opportunity to be our biggest and brightest selves and maximize our capability and fulfill our true purpose. Her mindfulness practice has pushed her professionally in the areas of educational activism and social awareness, because at the core of the practice is the deep awareness. Brie has been in the field of education since 2010. While volunteering during her undergraduate years at Spelman College was inspired to become an education. She developed a passion and understanding for working with students with disabilities. This prompted her to apply to the New York City Teaching fellows to pursue her master’s in Special Education at Hunter College. It didn’t take long for her to realize that the demands of working in a school were not only impacting her, but her colleagues and students, as well. The demands of education drew her to the yoga practice. In July 2017, she chose to deepen her practice by pursuing her RYT-200 Certification. She now shares mindfulness techniques with people of all ages and currently is a lead trainer at Breathe for Change.

Rabia Meghani

Lead Trainer

Austin, TX

Rabia Meghani (she/her) is a Medical Researcher, Behavioral Therapist, Educator, Yoga Therapist and a student of Kathak. Rabia’s formal education is in public health, epidemiology and education. Merging her knowledge of disease and education with the ancient science of Yoga and Ayurveda, Rabia aims to make these practices accessible to the masses while honoring the roots of the science. Her passion lies in integrating yoga and mindfulness in K-12 and higher education spaces.

Rabia uses her knowledge of yoga, ayurveda and mindfulness to help those experiencing physical and emotional ailments. When it comes to healing, Rabia believes that one size does not fit all. This is why she works on the full person and caters her practices to each and every individual. Currently Rabia is working on creating mindfulness and yoga tools to be made accessible in K-12 and higher education settings. Her hope is to lobby for systemic change to make these nervous system healing modalities accessible to all. To learn more about Rabia, please visit www.rabiameghani.com

Iz Siliato Bailey

Community Operations Manager

Bedford, MA

Izzi has been practicing yoga in various spaces since 2008, and has always worked within the realms of education and service. While living in Denver, CO, she worked as an Early Childhood Lead Teacher, completed a Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development, participated in over 500 hours of Yoga Teacher Training with The River Yoga, supported her first Breathe for Change 200-hour training, and led weekly classes in deep stretch meditation, candlelight vinyasa, and power vinyasa. Izzi is now living in Massachusetts, and – alongside her work with B4C – she is a Lecturer in Human Development and Family Relationships, teaching online undergraduate courses for the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education and Human Development. In addition to all of the inspiring B4C trainers she has worked with, her mentors in yogic training and practice include Dr. Christa Kuberry (Yoga Alliance Vice President of Standards), Christen Bakken (let it be Meaning Full), Anthony Davis (Shapeshift Wellness), Steph Winsor (stephwinsor.com), Kady Lafferty (Yoga Alliance Director of Standards; Big Booty Yoga), and Samy Mattei (Yoga Mattei)

Kirsten Rogers

Meditation Trainer

Los Angeles, CA

Kirsten Rogers is a meditation trainer and proud member of the Breathe for Change team. She became a yoga teacher in 2017 with the intention of sharing this practice with people of color and communities that have historically had little exposure and access to yoga. She is a co-creator of Black to Yoga, an organization with the mission of making yoga and wellness more accessible for Black people. Kirsten has deepened her practice and understanding of yoga through trainings in trauma informed yoga, non-violent communication & meditation and yoga for teens. She is honored and grateful to share this indiginous practice and explore healthful ways to feed the mind, body & soul.

Mentors

Dianne Baker-Pacius

Educator

Dr. Elana M. Evans

Special Education Teacher

Carmen Oliveira

Elementary Teacher, OCT

Lauren Smith

Middle School Teacher

Kate Borelli, M.Ed.

Special Educator

LaShawn Williams, Ph.D.

Social Work Educator, Therapist & Coach

Marie Smith

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor/Chair Yoga Instructor

Yvonne Roberson

Social-Emotional Learning Practitioner

Elesha Bobo Bell

Director of Early Learning

Pamela Alles

Middle School Teacher

Amy Veilleux

Elementary Educator

Azell Cavaan

Chief Communications Officer for Springfield, Massachusetts Public Schools

Stephanie Kynes

Special Needs PreK Teacher

Sarah Tracy

Elementary School Counselor

Emily Anderson

Middle School Teacher

Meghan Pafumi

Middle School Theatre Teacher

Joan O’Dell

Primary Teacher

Theresa Cusolito

Elementary Educator

Danelle Foster

ABAR Elementary Educator

Sara Reid

Elementary School Teacher

Emm Schaub

Lauren Hough

Respite Worker & Special Education Teacher

Melissa Brown-Algahtani

ELA Teacher

Holly Wilkerson

Middle School Teacher

Jessica Mirkes

Education non-profit professional

Rachael Pietrocola

Teacher of students with learning differences

Rachel Stetenfeld

Yoga Instructor

Alyse Anderson

Brenna Chidester

Teacher

Jennifer Varner

5th Grade Teacher

Crystal Rios

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Wellness Coordinator

Angie McDonald

PreK Teacher & Yoga Instructor

Victoria Claas

High School Counselor

La Shonda Coleman

Associate Vice President (Higher Education)

Kirsi Hunnakko

Nonprofit Arts Leader

Brittany Gozikowski

School Social Worker & Psychotherapist

Emma Benatar

Music Lead & Music Education Program Manager

Nathali Rosado

Crisis Intervention Specialist DOE

Christine Olkowski

Kindergarten Teacher

Kendra Purscell

Music Educator

LoAn Nguyen

Community Engagement Manager, Diverse Leaders Group

Gelavij Myrold

Middle School Math Teacher

Danielle Anderson

Yoga Instructor & Nutrition and Life Coach

Kelie Johnson

ECE Lead Teacher

Shelley Marie Terzian

Chicago Public School Teacher

Gail Hutchison

Sr. Educator Museum of Science and Industry

Andrea Ortiz

ESL Teacher

Liz Schlitz

Elementary School Counselor

Ang E. Davis

Yoga Instructor

Dawn Diliberto

Middle School Teacher

Claudia Whittingham

Kristi DeYoung Harris

Darcy Aksamitowski

Early Childhood & Elementary Administrator

Ashley Guitron

Special Education Consultant

Tosha Cottrell

Ann-Marie Everitt

Teacher at Integral Yoga Institute

Christine Higgins Chin

Amber Moss

Music Teacher

Alicia Gee

Therapist

Stacy Synold

Primary School Head

Christina M Prieto

PE Teacher

Branigan Reed

Waldorf Teacher & SEL Specialist

Danita Kelley-Brewster

Assistant Principal

Nadine Shaw-Landesvatter

Yoga & Zumba Instructor

John Christopher Aragón

Elementary School Teacher

Thea Taylor

Destini Brown

Yoga Instructor

Maria Herrera Paloma

Elementary School Teacher

Jenna Hewitt King

High School Teacher

Grace O’Keeffe

High School Math Teacher

Cleopatra Bertelsen

Mental Health Counselor

Christine Lepore

Yoga & Mindfulness Facilitator

Gina chill Hill

High School Administrator

Chelsie Moak

Meditation Coach

Amanda Prathivadi

Elementary School Teacher

Farrah Khan

High School Learning Specialist

Collette Ouseley-Moynan

Yoga Teacher and Trainer

Samantha Wilkerson

Middle School SEL Coordinator

Kristy Herrera

Kindergarten Teacher

Tammy Thompson Kapp

Director of Teaching and Learning

Badia Siddiqi

Therapist

Shamaine A. Francis

School Social Worker

Kyla Smith

High School Educator

Dianne Baker-Pacius

Educator

Dr. Elana M. Evans

Special Education Teacher

Carmen Oliveira

Elementary Teacher, OCT

Lauren Smith

Middle School Teacher

Kate Borelli, M.Ed.

Special Educator

LaShawn Williams, Ph.D.

Social Work Educator, Therapist & Coach

Marie Smith

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor/Chair Yoga Instructor

Yvonne Roberson

Social-Emotional Learning Practitioner

Elesha Bobo Bell

Director of Early Learning

Pamela Alles

Middle School Teacher

Amy Veilleux

Elementary Educator

Azell Cavaan

Chief Communications Officer for Springfield, Massachusetts Public Schools

Stephanie Kynes

Special Needs PreK Teacher

Sarah Tracy

Elementary School Counselor

Emily Anderson

Middle School Teacher

Meghan Pafumi

Middle School Theatre Teacher

Joan O’Dell

Primary Teacher

Theresa Cusolito

Elementary Educator

Danelle Foster

ABAR Elementary Educator

Sara Reid

Elementary School Teacher

Emm Schaub

Lauren Hough

Respite Worker & Special Education Teacher

Melissa Brown-Algahtani

ELA Teacher

Holly Wilkerson

Middle School Teacher

Jessica Mirkes

Education non-profit professional

Rachael Pietrocola

Teacher of students with learning differences

Rachel Stetenfeld

Yoga Instructor

Alyse Anderson

Brenna Chidester

Teacher

Jennifer Varner

5th Grade Teacher

Crystal Rios

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Wellness Coordinator

Angie McDonald

PreK Teacher & Yoga Instructor

Victoria Claas

High School Counselor

La Shonda Coleman

Associate Vice President (Higher Education)

Kirsi Hunnakko

Nonprofit Arts Leader

Brittany Gozikowski

School Social Worker & Psychotherapist

Emma Benatar

Music Lead & Music Education Program Manager

Nathali Rosado

Crisis Intervention Specialist DOE

Christine Olkowski

Kindergarten Teacher

Kendra Purscell

Music Educator

LoAn Nguyen

Community Engagement Manager, Diverse Leaders Group

Gelavij Myrold

Middle School Math Teacher

Danielle Anderson

Yoga Instructor & Nutrition and Life Coach

Kelie Johnson

ECE Lead Teacher

Shelley Marie Terzian

Chicago Public School Teacher

Gail Hutchison

Sr. Educator Museum of Science and Industry

Andrea Ortiz

ESL Teacher

Liz Schlitz

Elementary School Counselor

Ang E. Davis

Yoga Instructor

Dawn Diliberto

Middle School Teacher

Claudia Whittingham

Kristi DeYoung Harris

Darcy Aksamitowski

Early Childhood & Elementary Administrator

Ashley Guitron

Special Education Consultant

Tosha Cottrell

Ann-Marie Everitt

Teacher at Integral Yoga Institute

Christine Higgins Chin

Amber Moss

Music Teacher

Alicia Gee

Therapist

Stacy Synold

Primary School Head

Christina M Prieto

PE Teacher

Branigan Reed

Waldorf Teacher & SEL Specialist

Danita Kelley-Brewster

Assistant Principal

Nadine Shaw-Landesvatter

Yoga & Zumba Instructor

John Christopher Aragón

Elementary School Teacher

Thea Taylor

Destini Brown

Yoga Instructor

Maria Herrera Paloma

Elementary School Teacher

Jenna Hewitt King

High School Teacher

Grace O’Keeffe

High School Math Teacher

Cleopatra Bertelsen

Mental Health Counselor

Christine Lepore

Yoga & Mindfulness Facilitator

Gina chill Hill

High School Administrator

Chelsie Moak

Meditation Coach

Amanda Prathivadi

Elementary School Teacher

Farrah Khan

High School Learning Specialist

Collette Ouseley-Moynan

Yoga Teacher and Trainer

Samantha Wilkerson

Middle School SEL Coordinator

Kristy Herrera

Kindergarten Teacher

Tammy Thompson Kapp

Director of Teaching and Learning

Badia Siddiqi

Therapist

Shamaine A. Francis

School Social Worker

Kyla Smith

High School Educator

Dianne Baker-Pacius

Educator

I have been an educator as long as I can remember and I realized early on that it wasn’t simply about teaching content, but about connecting with diverse groups of people, whether children or adults from so many different backgrounds that I enjoyed most. I loved conversing with folks about any challenges they were having, supporting them in problem-solving said issues, and celebrating when they were successful. Yes, there were times that we had to come back to the drawing board, and when this happened, there were lessons learned that could be applied to the next strategy.

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