Honorary Board of Directors

The Mindful Kids Miami Honorary Board is composed of prominent national and local leaders in addition to its already diverse and distinguished Board of Directors.

They are recognized for their important contributions to the greater good and are now lending their names and support to benefit Mindful Kids Miami and its critical initiatives and programs in education, healthcare, mental health, and criminal justice. These select members are committed to the education and wellbeing of our generation’s community of children.

National Members

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U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio is an inspiring voice in Washington, D.C. and author of A Mindful Nation – How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.  A staunch advocate for mindfulness practice, Congressman Ryan, who serves on the Appropriations Committee in Congress, was able to direct nearly $1 million dollars to schools in his District to teach mindfulness and social and emotional learning. The Congressman has discussed the importance of mindfulness in the classroom “…if they (our kids) don’t have the fundamental building block of learning, which is being able to control your attention span, all the rest is not going to be effective…this fundamental skill of paying attention is essential to us transforming our education system.” In a recent interview, Congressman Ryan also said “My goal is to get us to invest more in the most important asset we have in America – well-functioning human beings.”

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George T. Mumford is a Sports Psychology Consultant who has worked with college and professional athletes. As part of Coach Phil Jackson’s support staff, he has served as the mindfulness trainer for the Los Angeles Lakers (1999-2003) and the Chicago Bulls (1993-1998) during which time the Lakers and Bulls won six NBA World Championships. Mr. Mumford continues to work with Coach Jackson currently at the New York Knicks. As he likes to put it, his work has taken him from the locker room to the board room. Mr. Mumford’s personal journey has carried him from the inner city streets of Boston to being a basketball star at the University of Massachusetts (where he roomed with Dr. J. Julius Erving) to leading the Prisons Project in state prisons conducted by the Center for Mindfulness, UMass Medical Center, to the highest echelons of professional sports. Mr. Mumford is the author of The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance.

Local Members

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Alberto M. Carvalho has served as Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation’s fourth largest school system, since September 2008.  He is a nationally recognized expert on education transformation and finance who has successfully elevated his district’s academic profile and streamlined its business operations and financial systems. Now widely considered one of the nation’s highest-performing urban school systems, M-DCPS was named as the 2014 College Board Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year, as well as the 2012 winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education.  He was selected as Florida’s 2014 Superintendent of the Year, the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year and named by Scholastic Administrator as one of “The Fantastic Five” educators making a difference in America.

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 Constance M. Fernandez is a devoted champion of children’s causes and proud mother of an 11-year-old son and four stepchildren.  She has diverse business experience in both professional and philanthropic areas.  She and her husband Miguel recognize the importance of encouraging education and creating an environment for students to reach their full potential. The Fernandez Family Center for Leadership and Wellness will facilitate developing leaders for life at St. Thomas University. Mrs. Fernandez sits on the boards of St. Thomas University and United Way. In October 2014 Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez joined David Lawrence Jr. and Martin Merzer for Walking the Walk for Children, a 70-mile pilgrimage on the El Camino de Santiago across Spain. Proceeds from Mr. Fernandez’s autobiography, Humbled by the Journey, will go to support the work of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation.

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David Lawrence Jr. is a leading national advocate for investment in the early learning years.  He is a nationally known journalist and now retired publisher of The Miami Herald and Detroit Free Press. Mr. Lawrence retired early in 1999 to spearhead work in early childhood development and readiness. He is president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida (making children the state’s top priority for investment and decision-making), founding chair of The Children’s Trust, and chair of the Foundation for Child Development in New York. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Public School opened in 2006.

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Honorable Steve Leifman, Associate Administrative Judge in the Miami-Dade County Court Criminal Division and Special Advisor on Criminal Justice and Mental Health for the Supreme Court of Florida, is at the forefront of a public policy movement in the criminal justice system to reduce the number of people with mental illness in prison and to develop alternative approaches that offer treatment and support for recovery.  He chaired the Court’s Mental Health Subcommittee which authored a ground-breaking report entitled Transforming Florida’s Mental Health System.  In 2010 Judge Leifman was appointed chair of the Florida Supreme Court’s Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues.  He has been appointed to serve in a variety of capacities on local, state and national bodies, including co-chair of the Council of State Governments/TAPA Center for Jail Diversion Judges’ Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative and member of the National Leadership Forum for Behavioral Health.