Our Team


Andrew Jordan Nance

Andrew Nance is the Founder and Lead Trainer for Mindful Arts San Francisco (MASF).  Additionally, he offers trainings and assemblies around the globe for libraries, schools, and school districts to provide the principles of mindfulness to students and staff. His mindfulness training comes from Mindful Schools, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Omega and Esalen. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, for almost two decades, he was the Conservatory Director of The New Conservatory Theatre Center, providing educational theater experiences for thousands of Bay Area youth and adults.

He is the author of three Mindfulness books, the popular PUPPY MIND, & MINDFUL ARTS in the CLASSROOM, THE LION IN ME, s published by Parallax Press, and distributed by Penguin Random House. THE BAREFOOT KING is ready for pre-order (Shambhala /Bala Books. Release date, MAY 2020). Contact him at: mindfulartssf@gmail.com

MASF Program Coordinator

MASF Program Coordinator


Kayla Schneider-Smith

MASF Program Coordinator, Kayla Schneider-Smith, is a poet, musician and aspiring teacher. Born and raised in Central New Jersey, she studied English Literature and Psychology at Bryn Mawr College and recently moved to the Bay Area to pursue her Masters of Fine Arts in Writing at the University of San Francisco. In college, Kayla took a comprehensive course on Eastern and Western meditative practices and traveled with her classmates to Japan to study with Buddhist monks and abbots. She also served as the Interfaith Student Coordinator on campus, bringing people from a wide variety of faith backgrounds together in worship, service and dialogue. Kayla has several years experience recruiting and managing volunteers within the non-profit sector and most recently taught English Language and Literature to children, high school students, adults, and seniors in Rishon LeZion, Israel. She is honored and excited to combine her passions for mindfulness and education as the Mindful Arts San Francisco Program Coordinator at the San Francisco Education Fund. Contact her at: Kschneidersmith@sfedfund.org

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Jen McDougall

began volunteering in 2018/19 with Mindful Arts SF, in a first and third grade classroom at Glen Park Elementary. Teachers she’s met inspire her, modeling how to build a caring learning community. And watching kids grow with mindfulness is delicious! She’s loves listening to “The Therapist Uncensored” podcast, attending silent meditation retreats, and our SF public libraries. See her reviews of children’s books that can support discussions of mindfulness at https://tinyurl.com/SFPLmindfulness.

Suzanne Astar

Volunteers at New Traditions Elementary. She is a massage therapist and movement teacher. She is passionate about seeing interdependent community systems rooted in developing strategies for healthy living. In her first year with Mindfulness Arts, she practices engaging and enriching experiences irregardless of learning style.


Casey Coviello

is a yoga teacher and a writer working in the health care space. She spends her Friday mornings at George Moscone Elementary School doing science experiments on her mind with 4th graders. Casey aspires to take three deep breaths every day.

Megan Gathers has lived in San Francisco since 1999 and is a private yoga teacher and healer combining mindfulness with bodywork and movement. She has studied meditation extensively at Spirit Rock and also at Against the Stream in San Francisco. She is delighted to be working with the students of Jefferson Elementary School.


Erin Mariani

has a background in school counseling and is currently a heath and wellness coach at One Medical, sharing skills such as mindfulness and stress management to Googlers. She has worked with Mindful Arts for 2 years at New Traditions and loves sharing life tools with young minds. A devotee of improv comedy and yoga, she sees the strong connection of creativity, mindfulness and mind/ body connection as it relates to health and wellness of the whole person.

Megan Prentiss

is a corporate culture champion, marketing communications strategist and coach to professionals that seek purposeful growth. She has been a volunteer with Mindful Arts for nearly two years teaching first graders at Buena Vista Horace Mann.


Julia Schoettle

recently made the change from a long career in high tech to focusing on things that really matter….children and harbor seals! After stepping away from the Silicon Valley world, she attended UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior where she earned her Certification in Mindfulness Facilitation. This is Julia’s first year as literacy and “focus time” volunteer with Junipero Serra and Sherman Elementary. When not working with children, she is on Harbor Seal crew at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Not sure which group is more adorable but the kids are better at learning to breathe and focus!

Jasmin Flores

has been in the early childhood Education for 17 years and taught preschool at Buen Dia Family School in the Mission district for 13 years. Before joining Mindful Arts Education, she attended Mindfulness in Education workshops led by her mentor Daniel Rechtshaffen. She is excited to be working with the students of Charles Drew.

Linda Fawkes

is a native of the Bay Area and has lived in San Francisco for eight years. This is her third year as a literacy volunteer at Charles Drew Academy. She is currently studying with Mindful Schools, an online resource for teachers from around the world, to learn the fundamentals of mindfulness.


Radhika Rao

is an actor, storyteller, and theatre teaching artist. She was raised in India and moved to the United States to study theatre in India. She is passionate about using the performing arts to promote peaceful living, social justice, and interpersonal communication.


Laurel Thornton

has been an educator and photographer for over 30 years. She has worked with developmentally disabled kids and adults, was counselor in residence with teens and then later as a teachers aide for a United Cerebral Palsy program. She is inspired to teach children and adults this incredible life skill.


Samantha Weiss

has been working in education since 2008, as a middle school English teacher, teacher trainer in Peace Corps Cambodia and currently in building collaborations between public school districts in California. As a yoga and meditation student and teacher, she sees the value and necessity of sharing these skills with students of all ages. She is excited to work with and learn from SFUSD Students.