About

About Mindful SEAD

​Building a community to inspire all learners.

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We Inspire...

Mindful SEAD inspires innovative teaching and learning by supporting mindful practices of the adults at the school. By providing the tools and strategies administrators and teachers need to develop their mindful practice and own self-awareness they can then foster a positive school community, personalized learning, and embracing each individual’s unique genius.

​We are a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to teach youth and adults to become mindful as they manage their emotions, gain perspective and have an understanding of those around them.

SEAD Team

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Debb Oliver, Ed.D. - Co-Founder and CEO

Debb Oliver, Ed.D, is the Co-Founder and CEO of Mindful SEAD. As a teacher, district leader and education consultant with years of experience, she has always been passionate about promoting positive growth in schools and communities. Her motivation for creating Mindful SEAD stems from her belief that educators need support in their own self-care to create a culture of mindfulness, positive psychology, and social-emotional learning. Through her work, I have had the opportunity to consult with public and private organizations across the United States and abroad on change management, mindful leadership development, board governance, and innovative learning scenarios.

She has been fortunate to provide relevant learning opportunities for thousands of teachers and administrators as they transition to effective practices that enhance student-centered learning. Her work has also allowed her to build lasting relationships with educators, which has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her career. In addition to her consulting work, she is also the author of two books that reflect my passions and expertise. The first, Leading Schools With Social Emotional Academic Development, was co-edited and co-authored by Dr. Oliver, while the second, The Learning Transformation: A Guide to Blended Learning for Administrators, was written by her alone.

She is truly honored to be a part of the Mindful SEAD team and to continue working towards our shared mission.

Join her in her mission to continue to create a positive impact together!

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Michele Robinson, Ed.D. - Senior Vice President

Dr. Michele Robinson has been a school superintendent for 13 years successfully leading districts in Nevada, Massachusetts and New Jersey. She has extensive experience in engaging community partnerships, improving educational outcomes for students, and providing for student and adult social emotional foundations. Michele has engaged community partners to develop employee wellness programs that support the social emotional development of students and the wellbeing of staff caring for children and schools.

Dr. Robinson presents a versatile background that encompasses both the traditional public-school environment and forward-thinking approaches to learning which include the integration of technology and 21st Century learning skills into instructional practices. She developed and founded a successful private K-6 school in Las Vegas, Nevada as well as Odyssey Charter High School, an innovative blended learning charter school. She co-founded the Charter School Association of Nevada, a non-profit organization designed to support new and aspiring charter schools in the state. She was appointed by Nevada’s Governor to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. She was appointed to serve on the Nevada Department of Education Common Core Standards (CCA) Steering Committee and acted as co-chair for the CCA Communications Committee. Having participated in numerous legislative roundtables and presentations, Michele worked extensively with state and federal legislators advocating for innovation and educational reform in the state. She co-founded the Bergen County Women in Educational Leadership and Bergen County School Support Network designed to provide support, networking, and professional development in social emotional learning for school districts in New Jersey. Michele has spoken nationally and internationally on topics related to educational innovation and reform, and leadership and wellbeing.

​Michele earned her Ed.D from Nova Southeastern University in the area of Educational Leadership in which she gained an expertise in providing quality professional development and onboarding programming to educational professionals and leaders. She holds an M.ED. in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University, and a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

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Roxy Laramee - Director of Operations

Roxy Laramee, HHP, the Director of Operations at Mindful SEAD, is a dedicated and passionate professional, striving to promote personal and professional development in all aspects of my work. Her role as the Director of Operations at Mindful SEAD has allowed her to combine her skills in building strong relationships with clients and colleagues, with her passion for personal development.

She is responsible for overseeing the overall business operations of Mindful SEAD, including our coaching and leadership development programs. One of the things she loves about her work is the opportunity to connect with individuals on a personal level to bring about positive change. As a certified Holistic Health Practitioner and graphic designer, her interests go deep into understanding the individual level and the impact that it can have on the overall organization, and promotes this passion with her creative eye.

She has a positive outlook on life, and believes that it is essential to promote wellness and wellbeing in all areas of life. Through her work at Mindful SEAD, she has the privilege of supporting individuals in their personal and professional development, which she finds incredibly fulfilling. She is honored to be a part of the Mindful SEAD team and work towards our mission of promoting mindfulness, positive psychology, and social-emotional learning in schools and communities. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our work, feel free to reach out to her. Let's continue to promote positive change and make a difference together!

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Michelle Bellard - Director of Partnerships

Michelle Wise Bellard's love of science, collaboration, and inspiring success through education is evident throughout her unique career. After she earned a Bachelor in Science from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, she started teaching Early Childhood Education in Oklahoma and Texas schools, where she learned mindful techniques to create a positive community. She worked closely with her administrators to facilitate an after-school mentoring program and is in contact with her mentees today, twenty years later. She also volunteered at the Johnson Space Center Educational Resources Center, leading to her appointment as a JPL Solar System Ambassador Master Teacher in 2010. Upon moving to Nevada, she created Mind Builders, LLC to provide science enrichment while focusing on the needs of the whole child through project-based learning and social and emotional learning standards. She holds a Master in Science from Mississippi State University, culminating in presenting research at the 2014 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. Working as a consultant to a local charter elementary school, she constructed a school-wide social and emotional curriculum throughout the school's culture. Currently, as a Mindful SEAD MSEL Master coach, she brings her unique experience and passion to enriching those around her.

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Christie Zarpas - Director of Research

Christie Zarpas, M. Ed., is the Director of Research at Mindful SEAD. As the Director of Research, she leads the charge in advancing our understanding of how SEL can positively impact individuals, schools, and communities. She has held roles as a teacher, curriculum strategist, conference speaker, professional development leader, and integrative health coach within Nevada. She obtained her certification as an Integrative Health Coach at Duke University, earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from National University, and is currently in the process of completing her Doctorate in Education with a specialization in Social Emotional Learning. Christie has dedicated her career to improving the emotional well-being and academic success of children and adults alike. Her research work at Mindful SEAD focuses on developing the skills of adults, and the effect this has on overall well-being as an educator. Christie believes it is vital to foster these skills in educators, however is passionate about spreading the importance of developing and practicing social emotional skills in all human’s daily lives.

Christie also serves as a MSEL Coach for Mindful SEAD.

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Elena Fabunan - Lead MSEL Coach

Elena Fabunan has worked in the educational field for over 30 years, gaining experience as an educator, advocate, and leader. Her career began as an elementary bilingual teacher. She has held various roles throughout her career, each offering unique insights into the educational system. As a middle and high school counselor, she recognized the significance of social and emotional support for adolescents navigating their educational journey. This realization further strengthened her commitment to fostering a holistic approach to education that prioritizes the well-being and development of the whole child.

Her time as a dean of students taught her the importance of establishing a positive and inclusive school culture. Emphasizing empathy, restorative justice, and student growth, she sought to create a nurturing environment where every student felt valued and empowered.

Her most defining experience came as the Assistant Principal and later as the principal of the only newcomer school in Nevada. This role allowed her to welcome and support immigrant and refugee students, guiding them through adjusting to a new country and educational system. Witnessing their resilience and determination reaffirmed her belief in the transformative impact of education.

She is committed to promoting transparency, accountability, and collaboration. By leveraging her diverse background and professional experiences, she hopes to contribute to a system that fosters academic excellence, celebrates diversity, and empowers everyone to reach their full potential.

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Elena Petsas - Lead MSEL Coach

Elena Petsas is a Las Vegas native and has worked in education for over 16 years as a licensed teacher, behavior strategist, and school counselor. During her time working in schools, she has become well versed in MTSS and PBIS, having presented professional development to staff and leadership teams. Additionally, she has been instrumental in creating and implementing school-wide policies and procedures based on social-emotional learning (SEL) best practices.

Elena is also a licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Nevada, and is a National Board Certified Counselor and School Counselor through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). She sees clients of all ages but specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families. She focuses on assisting individual clients with their individualized mental health and wellness needs by utilizing individualized treatment plans, goals, and advanced therapeutic interventions.

She is an avid world traveler and has traveled to countries in Central and South America, and Europe. When she is not working, Elena enjoys spending time with her two daughters and loving husband.

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MSEL Coach - Aja Debruyn

Aja's background is in early childhood education. She has master's degrees in both Montessori Education as well as Montessori Educational Leadership and owned and operated my own Montessori Pre K-3rd grade private school here in Las Vegas for 14 years. Currently, she is on staff at Mater Academy in the early childhood department where she teaches CTE students who are interested in becoming teachers by modeling for them with our early childhood students. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and has a vacation home in Italy where she spends her summers with her family. Aja is excited to be a SEAD Champion to help her students understand the importance of living with balance and to share her love of SEL educational practices.

Jennifer Keller

MSEL Coach - Jennifer Keller

Jennifer has been an educator for over 25 years, spending the past 15 years as a school counselor in all levels K-12. Her passion is teaching and utilizing SEL strategies and giving students a foundation for internalizing their own self-management system. Even before becoming a SEAD coach, Jennifer had been utilizing every classroom lesson with a social-emotional strategy. Jennifer has presented social and emotional strategies at the school, district and state levels, including the NvSCA and NASA conferences. Jennifer lives by the quote from the Dalai Lama "If every child in the world would be taught meditation, we would eliminate violence from the world within one generation."

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MSEL Coach - Michelle Beecher

Michelle is a full-time ELAD instructor at Great Basin College in Southern NV. She loves being outdoors, and loves cooking for my family & friends!

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MSEL Coach - Wanda Colon-Diaz

Dr. Colón-Díaz is a Teach Plus Nevada Policy Alumna, MSEL Coach and Southern Nevada Writing Project Teacher Consultant, who works as a 4th grade lead teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in North Las Vegas. She is a member of the campus PBL Leadership Team and part of the Portrait of a NV Learner Design Team. She was recognized by the ACE Foundation as Elementary Teacher of the Year 2018 and nominated as a 2024 Life Changer of the Year. She has held teaching posts at the higher education level as a faculty member of the University of Puerto Rico, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, and National University as part of their teacher preparation programs.

Mindful SEAD Champions

Meet the Mindful SEAD Champions - incredible educators from across Nevada making an impact on their students, classrooms, and schools by advocating and demonstrating Social Emotional practices.

  • Billie Jo Guthrie

    Billie Jo Guthrie

  • Cathrin Bithell

    Cathrin Bithell

  • Courtney Aguilera

    Courtney Aguilera

  • Diane DiArchangel

    Diane DiArchangel

  • Donna Lynn Phillips

    Donna Lynn Phillips

  • Jennifer Drummond

    Jennifer Drummond

  • Jessica Maloy

    Jessica Maloy

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  • Kat Dyess

    Kat Dyess

  • Kerry Oppenheim

    Kerry Oppenheim

  • Krista Gies

    Krista Gies

  • Lauren Jones

    Lauren Jones

  • Maggie Manners

    Maggie Manners

  • Nicole McDermott

    Nicole McDermott

  • Ruth Mohamed

    Ruth Mohamed

  • Shannon Powell

    Shannon Powell

  • Teresa Rodrick

    Teresa Rodrick

  • Billie Jo Guthrie
  • Cathrin Bithell
  • Courtney Aguilera
  • Diane DiArchangel
  • Donna Lynn Phillips
  • Jennifer Drummond
  • Jessica Maloy
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  • Kat Dyess
  • Kerry Oppenheim
  • Krista Gies
  • Lauren Jones
  • Maggie Manners
  • Nicole McDermott
  • Ruth Mohamed
  • Shannon Powell
  • Teresa Rodrick
Billie Jo Guthrie

Billie Jo Guthrie

Billie Jo has worked in the Clark County School District for the last 20 years. She has been an elementary school teacher, and an elementary and middle school counselor throughout the past 12 years. Mindfulness has been a subject that Billie Jo loves to incorporate with the students and staff she works with. Billie Jo is very excited to be a SEAD Champion and further her knowledge of SEL and supporting educators and students.

Cathrin Bithell

Cathrin Bithell

My name is Cathrin Bithell and I am a Gifted and Talented Specialist in Clark County School District. One thing I love about SEL/SEAD is learning to better understand the needs of my students and sharing tools with my staff.

Courtney Aguilera

Courtney Aguilera

Courtney Aguilera is a sixth-grade educator and student council advisor at Churchill County Middle School in Fallon, NV. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction. For completion of her master’s, she conducted research on Social and Emotional Learning within new curriculums and found many of them lacking the core competencies needed for students' emotional and academic growth. Since the research, she has become an advocate of SEAD for educators and students. Specializing in curriculum and instruction allows Courtney to use that experience to highlight the benefits of SEAD in order to influence and support those around her.

Diane DiArchangel

Diane DiArchangel

Diane is a special education teacher at Coral Academy of Science, Sandy Ridge. She enjoys spending time with her family and learning new things. She loves SEAD because it helps teachers remember to take care of themselves.

Donna Lynn Phillips

Donna Lynn Phillips

Donna’s background is in Family Studies and Development, receiving her bachelor degree from the University of Connecticut and her master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Grand Canyon University. Donna has been honored with being a Heart of Education Finalist for three consecutive years (2021-2023) and Nevada 2024 Teacher of the Year Finalist. She is part of the Mindful SEAD inaugural cohort to receive her SEAD endorsement on her license and is also part of the LION, Teacher Leader Academy Alumni (cohort7), bringing her own unique style and passion to enriching those around her. Donna is the Special Education Self-Contained Dept Chair at Liberty High School. She works closely with her school administration, facilitating SEL development into the academic curriculum by creating and leading professional development aligning to promote teacher leadership and social emotional learning to all staff.

Jennifer Drummond

Jennifer Drummond

I have been an educator for CCSD for 23 years, spending 20 years as a classroom in the middle and elementary school levels. For the past 3 years, I have been a counselor. I have raised two amazing people who are now finding their way in the world. I look forward to sharing mindful awareness practices not only with my staff, but fellow educators.

Jessica Maloy

Jessica Maloy

I love teaching and my job! I am passionate about helping my students and seeing them become more confident and successful. I teach adult and see how obtaining their education can change their lives. I am a Nationally Board certified and love to travel. I have a great husband, and we have 4 fur babies.

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Julie Peres

Julie Nina Peres, Vail Pittman Elementary School, CCSD, I love how I am able to share ideas with like-minded people.

Kat Dyess

Kat Dyess

My name is Kat Dyess and I am a SEL Specialist and Career Exploration teacher at Hug High School for WCSD. One thing I love about SEAD is how much they care about the wellbeing of teachers and students.

Kerry Oppenheim

Kerry Oppenheim

Kerry Oppenheim, School Counselor, Simmons Elementary, CCSD. I am a huge believer in teaching students how to recognize, manage and explain their emotions. I love all things Social Emotional. I love teaching students different regulation strategies and how to take charge of their inner voice by using positive self-talk!

Krista Gies

Krista Gies

Krista has been teaching for the past 16 years, 14 of which have been in special education. She currently works as a 4th grade resource teacher at Nevada Learning Academy in CCSD. She loves spending time with her family and friends and traveling. She is excited to be a SEAD Champion so she can learn new strategies to help those around her and her students!

Lauren Jones

Lauren Jones

Hi, I'm Lauren Jones, an educator with 13 years of experience, including 5 years as a high school counselor and 9 years in elementary schools. My passion lies in Social Emotional Learning, as it empowers students to not only excel academically but also navigate life's challenges with resilience and empathy, creating a foundation for lifelong success.

Maggie Manners

Maggie Manners

Maggie has been working for the Clark County School District since 1998, first as a music teacher and most recently as a high school counselor. She began incorporating social-emotional learning into her daily lessons early in her career and is excited to see the increased interest in SEL in education.

Nicole McDermott

Nicole McDermott

My name is Nicole McDermott, Assistant Principal at Mater Academy East, State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA). One thing I love about SEL/SEAD is learning new strategies to practice self-care and sharing it with others. I have been practicing SEL in my life for many years and love to see how much it has grown in showing up in the workplace.

Ruth Mohamed

Ruth Mohamed

Ruth Mohamed is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the State of Nevada. She currently works at Clifford J. Lawrence Junior High School in the Clark County School District. She has gained her clinical experience working with adolescent teens in the juvenile justice system, providing therapeutic services at a psychiatric hospital, working with adolescents and adults in outpatient therapeutic settings, and providing clinical services to children, K-12, in the Clark County School District, as a School Social Worker. What she loves about SEL is it can be utilized with both kids and adults. There are various tools and interventions that help increase social skills, improving attitudes and reducing stress and depression.

Shannon Powell

Shannon Powell

Hi, I'm Shannon Powell, a dedicated educator with over two decades of experience at Tom Williams Elementary in North Las Vegas. I am a proud product of the Clark County School District and hold both a bachelor's and master's degree from UNLV. Throughout my career, I have been passionate about the transformative power of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and its ability to create positive environments for both educators and students. I believe that by fostering strong relationships, promoting empathy, and incorporating SEL into the curriculum, we can empower students to thrive academically and emotionally. I am committed to creating a safe and supportive space where everyone feels valued and heard. I am looking forward to working together to make a difference in the lives of our students.

Teresa Rodrick

Teresa Rodrick

Hello. I am Teresa Rodrick. I am currently the art teacher at C.W. Woodbury Middle School in Las Vegas which falls within Clark County School District. What I love about SEL/SEAD is that it takes away many stigmas that are attached with mental health and acknowledges that it is important to maintain, either on your own or with help from others.

Interested in joining the team? Let us know...

Advisory Counsel

Are you seeking an opportunity to support the academic and personal success of students through the development of social and emotional mindful practices. Do you have experiences that we can draw upon to promote the growth of the organization? Then, Mindful SEAD is looking for you. Please contact us if you would like to be a member of the Mindful SEAD team as a member of the Advisory Council.

Governance & Policy Documents