Meet Neena

Neena Barreto

Founder & Facilitator

Global Mindfulness Teacher for Educators     

Elementary Curriculum Writer

School Administration Collaborator

Retreat Creator and Leader

K-12 Mindful Lesson Classroom Enthusiast

Professional Development Provider 

Internal Capacity Builder

A Diverse History

A daughter of Punjabi and Salvadoran immigrants, Neena’s roots strengthen her ability to work with diverse groups of people. Her San Francisco Bay Area background provided her the rich experience of getting to teach elementary school for twenty years in Oakland, Hayward and Union City, California. In that time, she became a master teacher who mentored student teachers, grade level chair, instructional leader, and was nominated for teacher of the year.

In 2014 she began mindfulness training and started to weave self awareness practices with restorative justice circles in her fourth grade classroom. She immediately began to see shifts in the way she saw and interacted with her students that provided results unlike any other professional development she had taken. This was because it wasn’t professional development that worked from the outside in, but personal development that worked from the inside out. The more that she learned to cultivate her mindful presence, the more that it naturally affected those around her in a positive way. SEL and classroom management were more easeful because they were not coming from a place of control or compliance, student connection was more genuine because students were seen with greater compassion, and state test scores were consistently at the top amongst the grade level. Her school district saw her value and she quickly stepped into a role as mindfulness coach, training teachers and administrators in a variety of ways from daylong retreats to in-class lessons.

After stepping away from direct classroom teaching and
mindfulness facilitation in 2019, Neena relocated to the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon and joined the nonprofit organization, Mindful Schools, holding remote positions as Online Course Guide, Guiding Teacher and currently Program Facilitator. She has had the opportunity to train educators worldwide in both the basics of mindfulness and those ready for schoolwide mindfulness implementation. Neena has also engaged in course development and content writing, and developed lessons for their new elementary mindfulness curriculum that is better aligned with diversity, equity and inclusion. It is through her own teaching in the classroom, mentorship alongside teachers, deep insight and collaboration with administrators, and offerings of online development for the global mindful educator community that make her skill set for working with school communities highly distinctive.

“Students engaged, teachers present, all of us working through the hard moments as needed.”