Looking for stellar coaches and teachers? 

We have the best! All of our teachers have received their coaching credentials through Mindfulness Coaching School.  Not only are we staff and faculty…we are family!

Ann-Marie McKelvey, MCC, LPCC

Ann-Marie McKelvey, MCC, LPCC

Founder & Director of Mindfulness Coaching School

Buddhist Chaplain • Mindfulness, Somatic and Wellness Coach
Psychotherapist • EMDR Consultant • Artist

The Art of Engaged Mindfulness: Settling the Mind for Intuition to Emerge
The Dynamic Trio: EMDR, Positive Psychology & Somatic Coaching
Somatic Coaching with Qigong

Ann-Marie lives and breathes George Eliot’s quote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” As a result, she leads a rich and colorful life pursuing her interests and passions in her coaching and psychotherapy practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a Buddhist Chaplain, Artist, and Mindfulness, Wellness & Somatic Coach she has coached TedFellows individually and in groups, as well as retreatants at Upaya Zen Center.

In the 1970′s Ann-Marie traveled nationally with the legendary Ken Keyes, author of Handbook to Higher Consciousness, facilitating workshops and conferences residentially and throughout the country.

In 1979 she moved to Santa Fe and began working as a fiber artist. When her work was discovered by Lord & Taylor, her small studio grew into Santa Fe Yarns aka CMD, Inc. – an international texture and textile business with 40 full-time employees and distribution to over 600 US retail outlets.

Later, as Marketing Director for New Mexico Magazine, an affiliate of the New Mexico Department of Tourism, she developed tourism initiatives which were implemented by the State of New Mexico in cities and communities throughout the state.

Ann-Marie has a rich and rewarding coaching business. Her classes, groups and coaching sessions are mindful, skillful, playful, and steeped in positive psychology. She is a graduate of Marty Seligman’s 2002 vanguard Authentic Happiness program. She is a gifted, intuitive teacher who also uses her background in marketing and business development to help her students create thriving coaching practices.

Ann-Marie lives in the high desert country surrounded by pinons and junipers at the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, outside of Santa Fe. She enjoys writing, painting, hiking the arroyos and mountains, practicing Qi Gung, Tai Chi and yoga, and talking to the ravens and great horned owls. She is ready once again to be a Beekeeper and garden tender.

Meg Hess, PCC, D. Min.

Meg Hess, PCC, D. Min.

Faculty Member

Right Speech: Listening Deeply, Speaking Truth
Skillful Means: The Coaching Skill Set
Mentor Coaching Group

Meg feels called to support people in their efforts to “make gladness” in their lives, no matter what their circumstances. Helping people build on strengths, nurture creativity, identify and live into meaningful life goals, and contribute to the world from a place of well-being is work that Meg loves.

Meg’s training and experience as a Pastoral Psychotherapist, Ordained Minister, Pastor, Teacher, and Leadership Coach gives her a deep well of personal and professional resources to draw on for coaching. In addition to her Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees, Meg is also a trained Labyrinth Facilitator, Certified Zentangle Teacher, and has a certificate in Homiletic Peer Coaching from Vanderbilt Divinity School. She coaches Ministers to be more effective leaders using Bowen Family Systems Theory.

Meg has trained with the Mindfulness Coaching School and is an Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation. She is committed to the professional and ethical standards of the ICF, and is constantly adding to her coaching knowledge and experience. As a Life Coach, Meg is especially interested in how mindfulness practices and positive psychology contribute to people’s personal and professional well being.

Check out Meg’s website at

Philip Joudrey, ACC, D. Min.

Philip Joudrey, ACC, D. Min.

Faculty Member

S-T-R-E-T-C-H ! Becoming The Incredible Coach You Truly Are

Phil loves teaching. Creating communities for learning has been a priority for him throughout his long academic career, and the moments when students’ eyes open wide with the joy of grasping a new skill are more important than anything else for him. He’s had some great teachers along the way; people who’ve had no degree or credentials but have been generous enough to teach him about the reality of their lives. Through that generosity, they have deepened whatever innate capacity Phil had for compassion, and nourished his commitment to be present with others in moments that have been most alive, and often most challenging for them.

In the first twenty years of ministry, Phil has worked as a prison chaplain, and later with people with AIDS in a university teaching hospital where, at the outset of the pandemic, his challenge was to develop a response of spiritual care. He later specialized in spiritual care for those afflicted with ALS.

For the last nineteen years of his career, Phil has served as Principal of a small progressive seminary affiliated with McGill University, a position that has involved everything from overseeing building projects to revamping curriculum, from fundraising, to being up close and way too personal with plumbing that was ancient, and cursed! And always teaching, and always being a student himself.

Phil maintained a private practice in pastoral psychotherapy for almost thirty years. In shifting his practice to coaching, he is finding a whole new sense of vocation, engaging others in the midst of their strength and health and encouraging them to recognize windows of opportunity that are often right before them. Clients in his private practice are most often those on the edge of change, or in the whirlwind of it, and who have sought out the strength of a seasoned coach to help keep them on path, and connected to their values.

Phil makes his home in Montreal with his partner, Martin, and always at least one shedding canine teacher.

Liv Syptak, PCC, M.Ed., MBA

Liv Syptak, PCC, M.Ed., MBA

Admissions Coach, Adjunct Faculty Member

Writing, Creativity, and the Mindful Coach
Body Electric

Liv is a coach, facilitator, and writer who creates heart centered sacred and fun space—for individuals, groups, and communities—where awareness expands, vision roots down, and where full expression of pure potentiality becomes real.

Having taught literature and writing in public schools, designed training programs for professionals, and coached leaders and their teams through change adoption, Liv’s coaching is a blend of creativity and practicality. She is passionate about the power of coaching to invite clients to the edge of what could be, to walk with them as they move toward what will be, and to ultimately recognize that they’ve crossed the threshold into a bright new reality.

Liv earned certification through International Coach Federation and launched her coaching practice in 2014. This marked an important return to living by her signature strengths and core values. It also rekindled the flame of her passion for creativity as a way of living…not something that one has or doesn’t. This move further allowed her to reconnect with the wisdom that stories, poems, scriptures, and myths offer us for life in the modern world.

Liv encourages radical curiosity with her clients who often come feeling stuck in the swirl of life. She holds the light while her clients find their way into the dawn of new possibilities for fulfillment and joy.

She is a contemplative, a scratch-cook, and a compulsive writer. She is a cyclist, yogini, and wisdom seeker. She lives in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with husband Brian, and feline soul friend, Uno.

Kristin Moody, ACC, EdD

Kristin Moody, ACC, EdD

Adjunct Faculty Member

Business Alchemy: Create Abundance and Live Your Vision

Kristin Moody is a proud graduate of the Mindfulness Coaching School and an enthusiastic member of the International Coaching Federation. She joined the MCS family after a 20+ year career in education, during which she served as a high school English teacher, peer counseling director, principal, school founder, board member, and consultant. She has dedicated the last decade to supporting public education institutions and non-profits with start-up, replication, and improvement planning and implementation support, and has worked with organizations ranging from the US Department of Education, to the National Council for La Raza, to independent charter schools on reservations across the southwest. In this role, she has helped to open more than 50 schools nationally and has coached nearly 100 board chairs, principals, department chairs, and executive directors through the leadership of their organizations.

Her areas of scholarship and practice are focused on the role of empathy in effective leadership and diversity in effective organizational cultures. She holds a BA in English and Urban Secondary Education from Hunter College, an MS in Educational Leadership from Pepperdine University, and an EdD from University of Southern California in Organizational Leadership and Change. She serves as adjunct faculty in the USC Rossier School of Education’s online MAT program and in Morehouse College’s Leadership Studies Program. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she is active in her local PTA and volunteers as a youth boxing coach.

Brenda Fagan, ACC, OTR

Brenda Fagan, ACC, OTR

Adjunct Faculty Member

Mindful Eating, Mindful Life: Emotional Resiliency in Uncertain Times

Brenda is a fire-dancing, music-loving, backpacking occupational therapist and Mindfulness, Wellness and Somatic Coach. She has a background in healthcare management, mentoring, clinical practice, leadership and research. Her work focuses on meaningful engagement in life and relationships through mindful awareness and connection.

Brenda earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in occupational therapy and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in research in dementia and aging at Texas State University. She is interested in learning about the role of mindfulness practices in caregiving for persons with dementia and the effects of these practices on relationships and meaningful participation in daily life throughout the aging process.

For the past 16 years Brenda has utilized mindfulness techniques in her clinical work as an occupational therapist to help patients connect with their bodies to facilitate healing. She utilizes mindfulness practices to help patients and caregivers participate in all aspects of life. Brenda started taking classes at the Mindfulness Coaching School in 2017 to develop her coaching skills and deepen her understanding of mindfulness and somatic awareness. For the past two years Brenda has been coaching caregivers in the community as well as professional caregivers in healthcare settings. Her passion is guiding clients to a deeper sense of self-awareness, connection to their body and ability to foster selfcare. She believes that when we are connected to and care for ourselves, we are better able to connect with and care for others and the natural world.

Natasha Faye Thompson, ACC, MSA

Natasha Faye Thompson, ACC, MSA

Adjunct Faculty Member

If Harriet Tubman Were Your Coach: Mindfulness, Race, and Courageous Coaching

Natasha is a mindfulness practitioner, teacher, equity warrior and coach who lives courageously from the heart with compassion and commitment. She is a joy instigator who aspires daily to live with more intuition, empowerment, purpose and grace.

Natasha most recently worked as Director of District and School Leadership with PBLWorks, a nonprofit organization that supports school districts in using project-based learning as a lever for educational and racial equity. Prior to that role, she served as the Director of Magnet Programs and School Redesign for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. In this role, she led strategy for advancing educational equity by increasing access to high-quality magnet programs and school models. During her tenure, she was involved in the design and launch of 72 schools in CMS, serving over 40,000 students.

Natasha began her career as a high school English teacher in rural North Carolina and went on to serve as a school leader in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. She served as an assistant principal and then principal in an urban high school setting, creating and leading several innovative small schools, including an International Studies high school in partnership with Asia Society.

In addition to her school reform work in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Natasha also coached district and school leaders in creating school cultures, systems and habits of mind that led to deeper learning and systemic change as a leadership coach for North Carolina New Schools, a national educational nonprofit organization.

Natasha holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education from NC Agricultural & Technical State University and a master’s degree in school administration from UNC-Charlotte, where she was also a NC Principal Fellow. Natasha resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her wife, Kimberly, their son, Brandon, who is a college sophomore, and their Doberman, Duncan.

Mac Dryden, ACC, BS

Mac Dryden, ACC, BS

Staff Member – Communications Director

Raised as a Buddhist practitioner, Mac Dryden enjoys being identity-less. This means many identities have been placed on him: Bee Shaman, Celtic and classical violinist, visionary, writer, teacher and a Mr. Nobody-with-a-big-sense-of- humor!

A graduate of the College of Santa Fe in Global Ecology and Politics, Mac has pursued his passion of permaculture and farming to this day. Growing up in the high desert of New Mexico, a multi-cultural land, has given him the experiences needed to integrate and adapt to many landscapes and cultures.

In the summer of 2011 Mac went on a spontaneous vision quest into the Sangre de Christo Mountains for four days and nights. His life has never been the same.

Mac loves to study various structures of reality and the patterns of humanity. He coaches clients to break through old belief systems into lighter joyous ways of living and experiencing the world.

Gretchen Larsen, ACC, BA

Gretchen Larsen, ACC, BA

Alumni Coordinator, Meditation Facilitator

Exploring the Silent Spaces

Gretchen has had many career incarnations. First as a biologist, then as a project manager, she worked in environmental testing and consulting firms where she supported energy, water and wetlands conservation projects around the U.S. In 1999 she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she worked in the non-profit sector. One of her favorite incarnations was leading outdoor wilderness leadership trainings, where she could witness people come alive in nature.

After more than a decade in the Bay Area, she transitioned from non-profits and small startups to a large corporation and from project management to change management, culminating in an international assignment in Switzerland.  Eventually, she discovered coaching.

As a longtime meditation practitioner, she chose MCS for her credentialing journey because it aligned with what she already knew: that seeking balance, being present in the moment, and deepening one’s awareness are the keys to living in greater harmony with yourself, others, and the environment.

Gretchen is fascinated by the nexus of midlife, especially for women. It’s a powerful inflection point when many people look around, take stock, and notice that they are not where they thought they’d be. They seek balance, well-being, and a sense of peace. Gretchen holds this space with her clients to safely explore the unknowns: What do I really want? How can I go there? The answers to these questions are as unique as the person, and are met with genuine curiosity, fearless awareness, and a true desire to support clients’ movement towards fuller, more balanced, authentic thriving.

Gretchen currently facilitates the monthly Alumni and Business Alchemy calls for MCS and pioneered the Altruistic Coaching program for clients seeking pro bono crisis coaching amidst the onset of the global COVID-19 emergency. She is in the final stage of becoming an ACC credentialed Mindfulness, Wellness and Somatic Coach through MCS. She lives with her partner in the French countryside, where she meditates, enjoys long walks, and communes with the nature of her garden…when she’s not coaching.

 David Ponder

David Ponder

Staff Member – Business Manager and Bookkeeper

David Ponder has over 20 years of bookkeeping and office management experience and is a member of The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB). His business acumen comes from the University of Baltimore and Community College of Baltimore County.

David is a person with many diverse interests and skills. Besides his bookkeeping work, David is also a freelance harpist holding a masters degree from the prestigious Peabody Conservatory and is also a pianist with a masters degree from the University of Iowa. He teaches both instruments privately. And if that were not enough to keep him busy, David also tunes pianos, plays the viola and cello, and throws pottery on the wheel.

A regular attendee of the Santa Fe Opera and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, you might see him volunteering as an usher at chamber music concerts.

David also bikes, hikes, enjoys skiing, plays tennis and most likely holds the record as the world’s tallest competitive gymnast.

Travis Fife

Travis Fife

Staff Member – IT Director

Directs all our systems.  He loves technology and is always exploring ways to improve our student’s experience.  He also has a background in sales and marketing.  He is our technology guru.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.  


Rhonda Simpson, ACC, M.D.

Rhonda Simpson, ACC, M.D.

In Memoriam

Dr. Rhonda passed away on February 9, 2018. We remember and honor who she was as a woman, a teacher and a doctor as well as the many contributions she made to our school and our lives. She is missed…

After receiving her undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University and her MD from University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Dr. Rhonda Simpson completed her internal medicine residency training at University of California, San Diego. Her 25+ years in traditional internal medicine were marked by a thriving practice and rich, long-term relationships with her patients. In addition to maintaining her internal medicine practice, she became the medical director of a clinic focusing on weight loss. In this role, she has assisted thousands of people in exploring their personal path to losing weight.

In 2004, challenges with her own health led her to explore integrative medicine – a holistic healing system that cares for the mind, body, and spirit. Recognizing the power of also integrating ancient healing traditions in caring for her patients, she transformed her traditional practice by adding expertise in botanical medicine, mind-body-spirit medicine and ultimately, a board certification in integrative medicine to her list of credentials.

In 2014, Dr. Simpson founded HeartSong Enterprises, LLC, an organization providing life and professional coaching. As a Certified Professional Coach, she now integrates her experience and expertise in medicine with proven coaching techniques to work with those seeking a more fulfilling and accomplished life. Through one-to-one coaching, group coaching and intimate retreats, she assists professionals in creating lives in alignment with their deepest desires and values. She has spoken nationally on topics such as building personal resilience, emotional eating, integrative approaches to health, and physician wellness.