Breathe For Change

A full member of Woolf, a Higher Education Institution in Europe.

Accreditation:

Breathe For Change represents a transformative movement dedicated to empowering educators and revolutionizing education. Our mission is to instill wellness, inspiration, and community within every educator and student. Through our programs, we unite, train, and inspire educators to become champions of well-being in their personal lives, classrooms, and communities. The impact of our initiatives is reflected in our thriving alumni community of over 14,000 individuals, leveraging wellness as a catalyst for social change and the transformation of education.

Dean

Ilana Nankin, Ph.D.

Ph.D., Founder & CEO at Breathe For Change.



Dr. Ilana Nankin is the Founder & CEO of Breathe For Change, an organization on a mission to enhance the health and well-being of educators, students, and entire communities. Ilana is an award-winning entrepreneur, teacher educator, and former San Francisco pre-k teacher committed to using wellness as a vehicle for healing and social change. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin. Her research 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, which offers mind-body wellness, social-emotional learning, and yoga teacher trainings for educators and community leaders, and provides wellness and SEL professional development for schools, districts, and organizations. Since 2015, Breathe For Change has certified over 5,000 educators through their 200-hour Wellness, SEL and Yoga Teacher training and since COVID, is now impacting thousands more through their transformative digital trainings.

Academic board members

Kelli Sammis

I've been fortunate to have served as a public educator for nearly 3 decades. In addition, I’m a yoga studio owner and have the honor of coaching others on how to live out the tenets of a yoga lifestyle—grounded in presence. The most important detail about my profile is that I am an EDUCATOR. Spending time on my yoga mat every single day, breathing, being still & quiet, fostering my own self-awareness, allows me to leave my mat to do my WORK which is to equip others (teachers, principals, and fellow humans) to live a life filled with peace, contentment, and grace.Yoga has been a part of my personal life since I was 17, and as our public schools continue to experience an increase in the amount of trauma that our children are bringing to school every day, I believe it is time to merge my “two lives” into one. Schools need Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and mindfulness resources as we shift how we approach teaching & learning in today's world. SEL is rooted in self-awareness and self-regulation-- 2 important resources that yoga can provide.



Yoga is so much more than just the physical practice (asana) of standing on your mat on one leg.I whole-heartedly believe that yoga is the answer, regardless of the question. Teach kids to breathe; they will achieve. Teach teachers to breathe; they will become instruments of de-escalation. Teach campus leaders to breathe; they will empower and develop the leaders we need for tomorrow.

Ilana Nankin, Ph.D.

Ph.D., Founder & CEO at Breathe For Change.



Dr. Ilana Nankin is the Founder & CEO of Breathe For Change, an organization on a mission to enhance the health and well-being of educators, students, and entire communities. Ilana is an award-winning entrepreneur, teacher educator, and former San Francisco pre-k teacher committed to using wellness as a vehicle for healing and social change. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin. Her research 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, which offers mind-body wellness, social-emotional learning, and yoga teacher trainings for educators and community leaders, and provides wellness and SEL professional development for schools, districts, and organizations. Since 2015, Breathe For Change has certified over 5,000 educators through their 200-hour Wellness, SEL and Yoga Teacher training and since COVID, is now impacting thousands more through their transformative digital trainings.

Faculty, Instructors and Professional Experts

Elizabeth Bailey

My professional interests include the psychology of learning and development, the evolution of education, social-emotional learning, diverse needs, equity, accessibility, trauma-informed practice, holistic therapy (music, art, yoga, physical), holistic health, nutrition, bodily awareness, community service, and environmental sustainability.

Steph Lindsey

Andrea Kulas

Andrea F Kulas is an IB Coordinator in Chicago. Her 20 year commitment to providing access and equity in underrepresented, neighborhood high schools has provided a catalyst for academic improvement. Andrea is a proud graduate of Northwestern University, and has served as a Yale Teaching Fellow. Currently serving as Adjunct Faculty at DePaul University’s College of Education, she teaches future educators about international educational systems. Andrea is also a 2018 Breathe for Change graduate. As a school leader and a practitioner of yoga, she is still developing her trauma informed lens in and out of the classroom.

Pamela Ruta Alles

Pamela Alles is an 8th Grade Language Arts teacher with Desert Sands Unified School District. She focuses on educating the whole child with emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning and mindfulness. A teacher leader who mentors fellow teachers in discovering how to integrate mindfulness and SEL across the curriculum with Breathe for Change.

Rabia Meghani

Passionate about bridging the anthropological gap between Eastern and Western healing practices, I am a dedicated educator, yoga therapist, and wellness consultant with expertise in leadership, facilitation, mindfulness, social-emotional learning (SEL), and Montessori education. I have a proven track record of empowering individuals and groups to enhance their well-being and achieve their full potential. With experience as a Researcher, Yoga Therapist, Mindfulness Instructor, Wellness Consultant, and an Educator, I bring a holistic approach to promoting personal growth, resilience, and self-care.

Shatera Weaver

Stretch what’s possible for your mind, body, and soul.



Mind: I’m passionate about engaging students, staff and families in meaningful learning experiences that inspire curiosity, innovation, and joy. I design thoughtful curricula rooted in social-emotional learning, social-justice advocacy, and community-building that engages and supports all learners. I’ve engineered learning experiences for 6th grade scientists, racial affinity groups, after school programs, self-contained classrooms, Expeditionary Learning students and staff, parents, and Breathe for Change partnered schools and districts across the nation, from preschoolers to professionals. And what's a quality curriculum without intentional facilitation? I love witnessing and watering throughout the learning process.



Body: I was born with a disease that impacts my red blood cells' ability to carry and transfer oxygen efficiently. Sickle Cell has meant that I’ve had a frayed relationship with my body and physical activities throughout childhood on into my adulthood. Yoga has allowed me to reunite my mind with my body. Eager to share the benefits of yogic practices, I earned RYT500 certification and began teaching classes at studios, in NYC parks, and offered online in a virtual setting. I’m honored to serve as a Lead Trainer at Breathe for Change, helping aspiring yoga teachers earn certification and bring mindful practices to their communities. In order to further serve my community, I trained in Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) to offer assisted stretching routines that help to increase range of motion, build strength, and improve the body's ability to perform.



Soul: Stretched by Shatera rises from the intersection of education and wellness. Likewise, the soul surfaces where the body and mind meet. Healing happens at the crossroads of the collective and the individual. It is there that we experience what I refer to as soul-cial emotional learning. Soul-cial emotional learning is a profound journey of self-discovery and growth that transcends the traditional boundaries of education and wellness. It's about building strong, authentic relationships with the self and the world around us, forging a sense of community and empathy that extends far beyond the classroom, boardroom, or the yoga mat.

Michelle Cordero

Director at Michelle Cordero Wellness, Head Trainer at Breathe For Change.



Michelle began teaching yoga and movement in 2002. Known for her passion for teaching skillfully and mindfully, she was voted "Best Yoga Teacher of the East Bay 2018" by Oakland Magazine. Michelle has led retreats, workshops and teacher trainings internationally. She is certified at the highest level with the Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 credential. Michelle began as Lead Asana Trainer with Breathe For Change in January 2020, and she is now the Head Trainer, responsible for quality and content of all trainings plus leading professional development courses and webinars. Michelle holds a certificate in Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy, and is a Certified Wellness Coach and Craniosacral Work practitioner. Michelle has trained with the Trauma Center - Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY) program as well as the Trauma Informed Resilience Oriented Approach (TIRO). Michelle teaches with a sense of humor, curiosity and compassion. Her 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 devoted the last decade to trauma informed, inclusive and accessible teaching. She is a highly skilled facilitator and diversity, equity and belonging program initiator.



For more about Michelle, please see www.michellecordero.com

Kelli Sammis

I've been fortunate to have served as a public educator for nearly 3 decades. In addition, I’m a yoga studio owner and have the honor of coaching others on how to live out the tenets of a yoga lifestyle—grounded in presence. The most important detail about my profile is that I am an EDUCATOR. Spending time on my yoga mat every single day, breathing, being still & quiet, fostering my own self-awareness, allows me to leave my mat to do my WORK which is to equip others (teachers, principals, and fellow humans) to live a life filled with peace, contentment, and grace.Yoga has been a part of my personal life since I was 17, and as our public schools continue to experience an increase in the amount of trauma that our children are bringing to school every day, I believe it is time to merge my “two lives” into one. Schools need Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and mindfulness resources as we shift how we approach teaching & learning in today's world. SEL is rooted in self-awareness and self-regulation-- 2 important resources that yoga can provide.



Yoga is so much more than just the physical practice (asana) of standing on your mat on one leg.I whole-heartedly believe that yoga is the answer, regardless of the question. Teach kids to breathe; they will achieve. Teach teachers to breathe; they will become instruments of de-escalation. Teach campus leaders to breathe; they will empower and develop the leaders we need for tomorrow.

Ilana Nankin, Ph.D.

Ph.D., Founder & CEO at Breathe For Change.



Dr. Ilana Nankin is the Founder & CEO of Breathe For Change, an organization on a mission to enhance the health and well-being of educators, students, and entire communities. Ilana is an award-winning entrepreneur, teacher educator, and former San Francisco pre-k teacher committed to using wellness as a vehicle for healing and social change. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin. Her research 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, which offers mind-body wellness, social-emotional learning, and yoga teacher trainings for educators and community leaders, and provides wellness and SEL professional development for schools, districts, and organizations. Since 2015, Breathe For Change has certified over 5,000 educators through their 200-hour Wellness, SEL and Yoga Teacher training and since COVID, is now impacting thousands more through their transformative digital trainings.

Julia Cremin

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 the team to seek out strategies for greater efficiency such as automation, streamlined processes, and coordination across departments. Through open communication and data-driven discussions, I aim to ignite 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.

Michael Fenchel

I'm co-creating a more inspired, just, and harmonious world through entrepreneurship, facilitation, and creative expression... and I'm doing it with people I love and respect.



In my 20s, I went through a series of losses that opened my heart and awakened my purpose: to contribute to the evolution of human consciousness. As I've strived to play my part in humanity's growth and healing, I've co-founded, advised, and/or invested in companies in wellness, social change, music, and leadership development.



I've taken on many roles in the process, including Founder/CEO responsibilities like Fundraising, Team-Building, and Strategy; Tech & Product roles such as R&D, Curriculum Development, and Engineering; and Public-Facing roles such as Facilitator, Speaker, and Public Relations. I've found inspiration, guidance, and sustainability in my entrepreneurial pursuits through yoga, meditation, and indigenous wisdom practices such as Vision Quests.



Creatively, I facilitate retreats, write poetry and articles, freestyle rap, teach yoga + meditation, learn anything I can, and engage in deep conversations. I love playing pickleball, dancing, and being outdoorsm. I value relationships, nature, and the greater loving Universe we are all part of.