People – Compassionate Schools Project
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Owsley Brown III

Owsley Brown III

Chair, Compassionate Schools Project
Owsley Brown is devoted to sustaining healthy communities by enhancing cultural, spiritual, and civic life. He is a documentary filmmaker, a director of foundations and nonprofit boards, a student of theology and the spiritual path, and the leader of exploratory projects in community wellbeing. Owsley is also an active fifth-generation shareholder of Brown-Forman, his family’s international spirits and wine company, founded in 1870. Owsley’s films include Night Waltz: The Music of Paul Bowles, Music Makes a City, and Serenade for Haiti. His most recent film, River City Drumbeat, is a timely look at the important power of arts and culture through music in West Louisville.
In his native city and beloved hometown of Louisville, Owsley is known as host and producer of the Festival of Faiths, a founding board member of the Kentucky School of Art and Design, and Chair of the Compassionate Schools Project. Owsley also serves on the boards of the University of Virginia’s Contemplative Sciences Center, Mind and Life Institute, Sustainable Food Alliance, Center for Interfaith Relations, Roxie Theater, and the Tsoknyi Humanitarian Foundation. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia.


  • Rhoades Alderson – Public Relations
  • Stefanie Baker – Project Coordination

Greg Fischer

Greg Fischer

Former Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky
As mayor from 2010-2022, Greg Fischer pursued three top goals for his hometown: making Louisville a city of lifelong learning and great jobs, a much healthier city, and an even more compassionate community. Both a businessman and entrepreneur, he brought a data-driven approach to city government with a goal of making it more efficient and accessible—and making sure that every taxpayer dollar was wisely spent.

Alexis Harris, Ph.D.

Youth-Nex Center and School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Alexis Harris is a Research Assistant Professor with Youth-Nex and the School of Education and Human Development.

Alexis’ research is centered on strategies to promote social-emotional competence and wellbeing and to prevent the negative consequences of stress. She has implemented and evaluated school-based social-emotional learning interventions and professional development for educators, integrating mindfulness, compassion, and yoga-based approaches. She is interested in promoting more healthy, just, and equitable developmental settings for youth.

In addition to her research experience, Alexis has developed and taught prevention and wellness-promotion curricula for children, families, and educators in school and community settings. Alexis developed CALM, a wellness-promotion program for school staff that promotes emotional and body awareness, stress management, physical wellbeing, and professional efficacy through accessible and practical contemplative practices. Alexis is located in Louisville, KY, as the local project director for the Compassionate Schools Project.

Patricia Jennings

Patricia (Tish) Jennings, M.Ed., Ph.D.

School of Education and Human Development and Contemplative Sciences Center, University of Virginia
Tish Jennings is a Professor of Education at the School of Education and Human Development and a member of the Directing Circle of the Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia. She is an internationally recognized leader in the field of social and emotional learning with a specific emphasis on mindfulness-based interventions for both students and teachers to promote social and emotional competence, well-being, and resilience leading to improvements in performance. She has lead several federally funded studies to test a mindfulness-based intervention for teachers.

In addition to her research experience, Tish has over 22 years of classroom teaching experience. She founded and directed an experimental school where she developed and field-tested curriculum for children from infancy through 5th grade, applying a variety of contemplative approaches including mindfulness-based and compassion-based practices.

Patrick H. Tolan

Patrick H. Tolan, Ph.D.

Youth-Nex Center and School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Patrick Tolan is Director Emeritus of Youth-Nex, the UVA Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, and Charles S. Robb Professor in the School of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Science in the College of Medicine. Patrick is the Principal Investigator for the Compassionate Schools Project, serving as its overall director. He is an internationally respected and renowned leader in the field of sound scientific evaluation of youth development and prevention of health problems.

Patrick has influenced his field to focus on how education and health are related and can be simultaneously promoted. He has lead several large randomized control research studies of school and community based programs that have shown important effects for youth behavior, school completion, and family functioning. He led one of the largest school intervention studies of the past twenty years, a $25 million effort over 7 years. He also regularly consults with and speaks to agencies, foundations, and governments on use of evidence-based practices to guide programming. He has published 8 books and over 200 plus scientific articles about promoting successful youth development.

Advisory Board

Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D.

William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, Director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, Founder and Chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds; Published books include The Emotional Life of Your Brain.

James Doty, M.D.

Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University, Founder and Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

Psychologist, Science journalist and author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.

Denise Gottfredson, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice and Criminology in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland.

Mark Greenberg, Ph.D.

Edna Peterson Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Psychology at Pennsylvania State University, Founding Director of the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center.

Larry V. Hedges, Ph.D.

Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics, Education, and Social Policy and Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, Director of the Center for Improving Methods for Quantitative Policy Research at the Institute for Policy Research.

Gilbert Liu, M.D.

Director for the Division of General Pediatrics, Associate Director for the Child and Adolescent Health Research Design and Support (CAHRDS) Unit, Founding Director for the Kentucky Pediatric Alliance to Transform Children’s Healthcare (KPATCH) at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

John Makransky, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College and co-founder and guiding contemplative teacher for the Courage of Care Collective and the Foundation for Active Compassion.

Velma_MurryVelma Murry, Ph.D.

Betts Chair in Education and Human Development, Professor of Human and Organizational Development, Director, Center for Research on Rural Families and Communities, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University.

Dean Ornish, M.D.

Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, President and Founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute; appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.

Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Development, Learning, and Culture in the Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia (UBC). Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership, School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia.

Local Community Advisory Team (LCAT)

  • Kristie Adams, M. Ed.

    Vice President for Programs and Services, Family Scholar House
  • Muhammad Babar, M.D.

  • Kevin W. Cosby, D.Min.

    President, Simmons College of Kentucky; Senior Pastor, St. Stephen Church
  • Katie Dailinger

    Deputy Chief of Staff, Louisville Mayor’s Office
  • Kevin Fields

    Chief Operating Officer, Louisville Central Community Centers

  • Ricky Jones, Ph.D.

    Professor and Chair, Pan-African Studies Department, University of Louisville
  • Bill Lamb

    President and General Manager, WDRB 41 TV
  • Elizabeth Mays

    Outreach Coordinator, Teach Kentucky
  • Marta Miranda

    President and Chief Empowerment Officer, Center for Women and Families
  • Barbara Sexton Smith

    Louisville City Council


  • Gabrielle Ayers

    Research Coordinator
  • Jennifer Beasley

    Implementation Coach
  • Catherine Graber

    Implementation Coach
  • Alexis Harris

    Project Director
  • Frances Ladusaw

    Research Coordinator
  • Kimberly Porter

    Research Coordinator
  • Nikki Wolf

    Project Associate


  • Julia Augenstern

  • Joan Bryant

    Program Manager
  • Ellen Daniels

  • Lauren Molloy Elreda

    Research, Data Analysis
  • Crystal Haislip

    Finance, Administration
  • Megan Ruby

    Charlottesville Program Manager
  • Irène Mathieu

    UVA Pediatrics
  • James Nataro

    Physician in Chief, UVA Pediatrics

  • Sydney Simmons



  • Dr. Carmen Coleman

    Chief Academic Officer
  • Robert J. Moore

    Chief of Schools

  • Dr. Marty Pollio

  • Suzanne Wright

    Director of Academic Project Management
  • Participatory schools and principals

Schools & Principals | CSP 2021-22

  • Tonya Arnold

    Fern Creek
  • Darren Atkinson

  • Sheridan Barnett

  • Donnie Boemker

  • Mark Boyer

  • William Bunton

  • Desiree Bush

  • Anna Byrd

    Crums Lane
  • Sarah Carmichael-Miller

  • Marcia Carmichael-Murphy

  • Brandi Carney

  • Jessica Carter

  • Tamela Compton

  • Julie Cummings

  • Alison Dahlgren

  • Brian Davis

    Coral Ridge
  • Danielle Doelling

  • Traci Durbin

  • Keisha Fulson

  • Susan Glenn

  • Jill Handley

  • Rebecca Haynes

  • Lawanda Hazard-Irvin

  • Michael Hill

  • Jason Hobbs


  • Jimica Howard

    Shelby Traditional Academy
  • Tioka Ivory

  • Jack Jacobs

  • Mashelle Kiggins

  • Justin Matson

  • Ryan McCoy

  • Laura Mullaney

  • Kenya Natsis

  • Adrian Oldham

  • Michelle Perkins

  • Tom Peterson

    Shelby Traditional
  • Danielle Randle

  • Shuvon Ray

  • Jeremy Renner

  • Dwayne Roberts

    Zachary Taylor
  • Lynley Schroering

  • Heather Scott

  • Joanna Sells

  • Patrick Silvori

    Alex R. Kennedy
  • Stephanie Smith

  • Karen Stearman

  • Connie Strange

  • Georgia Taylor

    McFerran Preparatory Academy
  • Dustin Whitis

  • Sarah Williams

  • Duan Wright



  • Dr. Royal Gurley
  • Patrick Farrell
    Intervention and Support Supervisor
  • Paula Culver-Dickinson
    Coordinator of Professional Learning
  • Dr. Katina Otey
    Chief Academic Officer


  • Dina Fricke
    Greenbrier Elementary
  • Summerlyn Thompson
    Johnson Elementary