Barnaby Spring

Breathing, Feeling, Healing

What You'll Learn

  • Learn the components of system-wide mindfulness in schools from the Director of Mindfulness in Education at the New York City Department of Education, and hear practical “north stars” to follow when developing your mindful education program

  • Understand the importance of leadership buy-in and a culturally responsive approach when introducing new programs and trainings into schools

  • Hear how practicing mindfulness together creates a space for colleagues to have an authentic dialogue around challenging systemic issues

About Barnaby Spring

Barnaby Spring was born in Arizona. He graduated from Cornell University's College Scholar Honors Program in 1983. In the mid-90’s Barnaby became a teacher in the New York City Department of Education teaching adolescent and adult women incarcerated on Rikers Island. He has been a dean of students, a principal, a school leader advisor and is now tremendously grateful to be a Student Services Director in the Office of the First Deputy Chancellor whose workflow includes being the Director of Mindfulness in Education in the NYCDOE. He is inspired by the NYCDOE Chancellor’s vision for Advancing Equity Now in the NYCDOE. He is an artist/actor currently appearing in the recent film The Rainbow Experiment by independent film-maker Christina Kallas. He is also developing a multi-media project called "Doctor Chango Partlow's Traveling Medicine Show". He is even more honored and grateful to be married to NYCDOE long-time educator, Rachel Masters, and to be the proud father of Eli Spring, a student in the NYCDOE, attending Edward R. Murrow High School.

About Chris McKenna

Chris McKenna is the Education Program Officer at Previously, he was the Program Director of Mindful Schools, a leading organization integrating mindfulness into education and youth mental health. He also served as Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project, a nonprofit that pioneered the development of mindfulness-based interventions for high-risk adolescents with complex trauma. He currently lives with his family in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia where he offers intensives and retreats with his wife Megan Cowan at

What do you think?
Leave a comment below!


  1. Irene Kenison October 22, 2019 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you. It inspiring to see encouragement of a full system approach, showing dedication to training, supporting and growing a mindfulness paradigm.

  2. Valerie Kelly October 22, 2019 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Barnaby! My soul springs up with happiness at the thought of your work! When I was in the trenches and needed professional advice regarding secularism and Mindful, Chris McKenna directed me to you. Your support is priceless, and your spirit invaluable! Let’s all change the world together!

  3. ARGOS GONZALEZ October 22, 2019 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Great job Barnaby describing the work that is happening already and how you’re supporting and advancing that work!

    • Barnaby Spring October 24, 2019 at 5:39 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Argos! Given your own understanding of & commitment to the work in NYCDOE/NYC I appreciate your feedback!

  4. sarit zeltzer October 22, 2019 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Barnaby’s description as if we were on a surfboard and thought that everything would pass, but it was actually a wave that is growing, very exciting and gives a sense of partnership in the journey. Thanks

    • Barnaby Spring October 24, 2019 at 5:41 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Sarit! You got it: partnership in the journey. My son surfs so I gotta give him credit!! 😉

  5. Sue October 22, 2019 at 4:31 am - Reply

    Is the best way to make SEL and Mindfulness part of the teacher training curriculum?
    Great interview thank you.

    • Barnaby Spring October 24, 2019 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Sue, I don’t know if there is a best way other than paying attention to what different teachers r doing in different ways to meet the needs of ALL students. I think mindfulness is a bookcase and SEL is one of the books on the bookshelf. Thank you. B

  6. Alicia Benitez October 21, 2019 at 11:19 am - Reply

    I feel so inspired by your work! I stared practicing meditation and yoga a month ago early in the morning, and one of the effects has been to be aware of my emotions and do something about it. Before showing my kids how powerful mindfulness is I am working on managing my triggers, noting my breath, and empower myself saying: “I choose to do something different, I choose to heal”
    After watching your video I feel committed to keep going!!! Thank you!!!!

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