Springboard Sangha


Senior Teacher

Brian Arnell

brian.2After dabbling in meditation and Eastern religions for years, Brian began a serious practice in 1984.  In 1998, he moved full-time to a retreat center in New York’s Hudson Valley and began intensive practice in the Theravada tradition.  Following the instructions of his teachers to pass on what he has learned and experienced, he left the retreat center in 2006 and moved to Philadelphia.  He has been teaching at Springboard since.


Beth Adelson

Dr. Beth Adelson teaches both Theravadan and Tibetan forms of Buddhist meditation. She believes that these practices were designed to make people happy and effective in everyday life. Her classes are structured to lead to that result. Beth Adelson was trained as a dancer at the Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham studios in NYC, in conjunction with this work, she first sat with Suzuki Roshi in 1970 and began her yoga practice at the age of 17. She was then trained as a cognitive scientist at Harvard University; her subsequent research on the effects of meditation was endorsed by the Dalai Lama (see below). Her meditation teachers include: Salzburg, Boorstein and Goldstein; Tsultrim Allione and Alan Wallace; and Roshis Shunryu Suzuki, Joan Halifax and Jan Chozen Bayes. She spent seven years in Theravadan Buddhist retreat. Dr. Adelson is a Past Program Director at the National Science Foundation and Professor Emeritus at Rutgers. Her current daily meditation practice focuses on Vipassana, Jhana and the Four Immeasurables: kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity. Her daily yoga practice integrates meditative contentment of heart and mind into the physical poses.

Beth is the founder of the 24th St. sangha in Philadelphia and can be contacted at adelson@rutgers.edu or at 215.219.5296 for group or private lessons.

Deanna Bond

deannaOne of my favorite teachings from the Buddha is “Ehipassiko” (Pali) which translates as “Come see for yourself.” Buddha encouraged practitioners not to ‘believe,’ but to practice—to have their own experience, and gain authentic, intimate ‘knowing.’ For me, that knowing began in 2008 when I sat still for 5 minutes. I was astounded that I could achieve relative peace. I had been desperate to find a way to cope with physical pain and debilitating anxiety around life-threatening illness. I now have a healthier, more peaceful relationship to illness and pain. Being in love with the practice, I’m very dedicated! I do long retreats at Spirit Rock and IMS, and I find that practicing mindfulness in daily life is a great teacher. I love the challenge of sutta study, and I’m learning Pali. I’ve been with the sangha since 2010 and enjoy deep friendship with fellow ‘travelers.’ I have heartfelt drive to share the dhamma because I am deeply moved to help others who are suffering and want to learn new ways for personal peace and also for a deeper peace in the world.

Eliza Callard

eliza-callard-150Eliza Callard is a poet who has been with Springboard since it opened. She particularly likes to teach on the Brahma Viharas and about living with cystic fibrosis. She lives with her family (some furrier than others) in Germantown.




Bob Chapra

bob chapra imageBob Chapra has been a member of the Springboard Studio Sangha since 2008. He also studied with Sharon Salzberg in New York City.

Bob has been a student of The Feldenkrais Method since 1973 and was authorized to teach by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais in 1977. Bob also studied Sensory Awareness with Charlotte Selver and Charles Brooks and was authorized to teach in the tradition of Elsa Gindler by Gindler’s co-teacher, Carola Speads. Bob has noticed a deep common ground between vipassana meditation and these somatic practices and explores this intersection in his teaching.

Deborah Cooper

deborah's picI have been a “seeker” all my adult life and explored several different spiritual paths before being lucky enough to come to Vipassana Buddhism via Mindfulness Meditation. I became committed to this work and in 2006 trained at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine to become qualified to teach the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course as developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I now offer regular introductory courses in mindfulness meditation and have a couple of on-going study groups. As a psychotherapist, mindfulness has had a profound impact on my therapy practice. I love to work with those who seek to integrate mindfulness practice into their every day lives, finding ways to reduce suffering using interventions based on Buddhist teachings. My personal practice includes regular sitting meditation, a couple of retreats a year, and the good fortune to study with a teacher for whom I have deep love and respect.

Kim Empson

Kim Empson can be found either walking in the Wissahickon, or meditating at Springboard Meditation Sangha, her other spiritual home base. She enjoys the SMS community and has been a steady presence since 2011. She served as Community Coordinator from 2013-2016. Kim has studied Vipassana at Insight Meditation Society, and Tibetan Dzogchen practice with the Natural Dharma Fellowship. Her teachers are Mark Coleman, Willa Miller, Josh Korda, Kathy Cherry, & Oren Sofer.   She is currently a mindfulness instructor for school groups at Awbury Arboretum and holds a certificate in mindfulness from Inner Strength for Teens.

Pamela Freeman

Pamela Freeman has participated in the Community Dharma Leadership Program at Spirit Rock in California and most recently is a student in their Dedicated Practitioner Program. Sara Lomax-Reese has been a leader in the African American community in promoting health and wellness through her radio program HealthQuest Live on WURD and HealthQuest Magazine. She currently leads the People of Color Meditation Group at Springboard.


Mary Kalyna

Nathan Long

nathan picNathan Long was born in Washington, D.C., grew up in a log cabin in rural Maryland, and has lived in many places across the U.S.  He was introduced to meditation in a eastern philosophy class in college and has been meditating on and off ever since.  He practiced Vipassana at retreats in Thailand and the U.S. and cooked for and sat with a Zen Catholic retreat in Oregon for ten years.  Recently, he was introduced to the practice of Dzogchen and will complete the first year training in the Margha Program, under the leadership of Lama Willa Miller, in Nov, 2015. Otherwise, Nathan is a writer of fiction and essays, teaching creative writing at Stockton University and locally through MALT. More information about his writing and teaching can be found at https://blogs.stockton.edu/longn/

Michael McDermott

Michael is a composer, musician and seeker. He has been practicing meditation and studying Buddhism for 15+ years. Once considered separate realms of his life, recently he’s been synthesizing the Dhamma, meditation and music through a practice called Deep Listening. Michael is a certified Deep Listening teacher who studied with Pauline Oliveros. He is currently traveling the world on artist residencies studying and practicing Deep Listening, field recording and sonic mediation performances. He leads sits and teaches when he’s back in Philadelphia. mikronesia.com

Michelle Stortz

Michelle Stortz

Michelle Stortz, C-IAYT, RYT500, MFA, has been practicing mindfulness meditation for the past 15 years. She has studied in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition and trained in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction curriculum. She is a certified yoga therapist specializing in yoga for cancer and chronic illness and teaches in numerous medical settings throughout the Philadelphia area. She brings an eclectic approach to her classes that is informed by her studies in Somatics, contemporary movement practices and Reiki. She is adjunct faculty at Bryn Mawr College. www.MichelleStortz.com


Visiting Teachers

Oren Jay Sofer

2016.Oren_.J.Sofer-headshot2Integrating the tools and insights of Buddhist meditation, Somatics and Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Oren brings a unique and pragmatic perspective to living and speaking mindfully. His teaching combines formal training and study with everyday experience working in the world.

He leads classes, workshops, and retreats nationally in mindfulness, Dharma practice, and interpersonal communication. As part of his commitment to support others to live the values of a spiritual path, Oren also works with individuals in on-going, personal Dharma Mentoring relationships.

Josh Korda

joshInPark_gianna1-150x150Josh Korda has been the dharma teacher at the New York and Brooklyn Dharmapunx meetings since 2005, and is a regular visiting teacher at Against the Stream Buddhist community in Los Angeles. He has a large buddhist mentoring private practice and has written for the buddhist magazines Shambhala Sun, Tricycle and Buddhadharma. He has been profiled by The New York Times, Village Voice and CBS News (interviewed by Dr. Jon LaPook). For the last four years Josh has also led classes at ZenCare.org, a non-profit organization that trains hospice volunteers. Josh has had the honor to study with countless spiritual teachers in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, including Noah Levine, Vinny Ferraro, Ajahns Geoff, Sucitto, Amaro and Tara Brach to name a few. Josh’s dharma talks are followed by a large online community at dharmapunxnyc.podbean.com.

Lama Willa Miller

Lama_Willa_ThumbnailWilla B. Miller, PhD is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, MA and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. She was authorized as a dharma teacher and lineage holder (lama) in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism after completion of two consecutive three-year retreats in the nineties. She has also practiced in the Shangpa and Nyingma lineages. She is editor, author and translator (respectively) of three books: The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work (2012), Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You (2009), and Essence of Ambrosia (2005). In 2013, she received a doctorate from Harvard University in Religion, and is currently Visiting Lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. Her academic teaching interests include Tantra and the Body, Buddhism and Ecology, and Buddhist Contemplative Care, among other topics. Outside of academia, her teaching specialties include the body as a door to awakening, natural meditation (mahamudra), and heart-cultivation (lojong). She is interested in the practical integration of meditation into daily life, and has participated as an advisor in several scientific studies on meditation. Her teachers and guides have included Kalu Rinpoche, Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Lama Norlha Rinpoche, and others. She currently derives inspiration for her practice and teaching from Lama John Makransky, Anam Thubten and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. She lives in Arlington, MA with her husband and two dogs, and frequently visits Wonderwell Mountain Refuge.

Caroline Peterson

caroline's picCaroline founded Springboard Studio and initiated the current regular meditation practice schedule at the studio 10 years ago this January 2016 with her friend in the Dharma Brian Arnell. Caroline began her Buddhiststudies at the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center in Washington, New Jersey in the early 90s. Her teachers there included a number of Tibetan Lamas, and American Buddhist teachers Robert Thurman, Jeffrey Hopkins, Anne Klein, Donald Lopez, Joshua Cutler and the psychologist Daniel Brown.

Caroline received professional training to teach the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum program between 2000-2004 at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorelli, Florence Meleo-Meyer and Melissa Blacker, regularly attending retreats with a number of teachers at IMS and the Forest Refuge in Barre, Mass. Caroline began studying in the Zen tradition in the Fall of 2013 after a retreat at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. She is currently focused on studying Dogen’s Genjokoan under the guidance of her teacher Roshi Melissa Myozen Blacker, the Abbot of the Worcester Zen Center in Massachusetts. Caroline is a Board-certified Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor at Springboard Studio and the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital.