Please click on the faculty member’s picture below for their bio.
SMART Faculty Director
SMART Faculty Director
Rona Wilensky was principal and founder of New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado from 1992-2009. Previously, she worked as an education policy analyst for the Governor of Colorado, the Education Commission of the States, and various education reform initiatives in Colorado. During the 2009-10 academic year, Rona was a Resident Fellow at the Spencer Foundation in Chicago. A contributor to state and national conversations on high school reform, her essays have appeared in Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan and Education News Colorado.
Recent projects have included work with the Leadership Project of Passageworks Institute, with the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education and with the Language, Literacy and Culture Division of the Colorado Department of Education. She collaborates with Peter Senge to bring systems thinking strategies to educators and policy makers in Colorado.
Rona began her personal meditation practice in 2005 and received her certificate as a Mindfulness Instructor from Naropa University in 2012. She is a member of the Leadership Council of the Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Contemplative Teaching and Learning.
Rona holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and taught that subject at Williams College and the University of Denver in the early 1980’s.
Andra Brill has over 20 years of experience as a professional educator, classroom teacher and coach. She has supervised mentor teachers, consulted with school principals, and advised district administrators. For several years she directed the Boettcher Teachers Program, a Masters level residency based teacher preparation program for new teachers serving urban schools. Andra has been creating reflective learning environments for students in K-12 classrooms since 1992. For more than a decade, she has worked with novice teachers enrolled in graduate education programs at both the University of Denver and the University of Colorado. Inspired by her many years of meditation, Andra brings a passion for supporting compassionate, holistic school communities to her work. Andra has published several articles, including a chapter in the book Teaching as a Moral Practice (Harvard Education Press, 2010). She obtained a Masters degree in Language, Learning and Culture and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation from the University of Colorado at Denver. She conducts research and writes about culturally responsive pedagogy, theories of change, and how to create more compassionate, reflective classrooms.
Sally A. Sporer
Licensed Clinical Psychologist and SMART in Education™ Facilitator
Sally is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with adults in various settings including corporate consulting, private therapy practice and outpatient mental health clinics. Her clinical specialties include psychophysiologic (mind-body) disorders, anxiety, depression and trauma. Sally is Level 1 and Level 2 certified in Brainspotting and EMDR. She is also a certified HeartMath Interventionist and trained in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression.
Sally joined the PWI faculty in 2015 and has facilitated and co-facilitated numerous SMART in Education courses since that time. She obtained her Doctor of Psychology degree from the University of Denver in 1991. In 1981 Sally graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University. She received undergraduate Bachelor of Science degrees in Psychology and Physical Education from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1979.
Sally has been practicing mindfulness meditation for 15 years and is fascinated by what is known about the mental and physical benefits of meditation practice. She also enjoys staying current on research and developments in the fields of neuroscience, affective neuroscience, somatic approaches to trauma and mind-body disorders.
Senior Mindfulness Teacher, Trainer & Coach
Linda Wallace has spent her entire career in the field of education, having worked as a specialist in literacy, title one, gifted and talented, as an elementary classroom teacher, a teacher trainer, coach and consultant. Fifteen of those years have included formally teaching mindfulness practices to students and adults in educational, business, family and health care settings. As part of the team responsible for developing the PassageWorks’ SMART in EDUCATION™ program, she has assisted in writing curriculum, training trainers and teaching mindfulness classes specifically designed for teachers. She has trained at the University of Massachusetts’s Medical School in Jon Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program, the Hakomi Institute in Boulder, Colorado, with the Paul Ekman group on Emotions Revealed, and has earned a certificate in Naropa’s Contemplative End of Life Care Program.
Mindfulness Teacher, Educational Consultant