What is Shambhala?

Shambhala Training
Contemplative Arts

Chögyam Trungpa
Sakyong Mipham
Other teachers
Shambhala Centers

Become a web member
Make a donation
Subscribe to the Dot

News Service
Member Resources
Member News

Shambhala News Service

2012-10-02 - Twenty-five New Shastris Appointed

The Office of the Kalapa Court is pleased to announce the appointment of a total of thirty-six new shastris by the Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, effective for three year terms beginning this fall. Eleven shastris were empowered at Dechen Choling; another twenty-five have now been appointed by the Kalapa Court at this time. These shastris join over fifty shastris appointed in the spring and summer of 2010, now two years into their terms.

The position of shastri was created by the Sakyong in 2009, with over fifty shastris empowered at Shambhala Mountain Center the following summer. By all reports, the shastri program is a great success, providing local support for teachers, programs, and meditation students. These shastris have been active in their centers in many capacities over the years. Here is the full list of our new appointments for 2012 followed by brief biographies of those most newly appointed.


West Coast

Portland --- Rayna Jacobson
Bellingham --- Sarah Addison
Vancouver --- John Fox
Victoria --- Maria Stella
Berkeley --- Sandra Ladley
Davis --- Manuel Medeiros
San Francisco --- Amy Conway

East Coast, Atlantic Canada

Anapolis Royal --- Christine Sloan
Albany --- Ellen Rook
Burlington --- Myra Woodruff
Baltimore --- Stephen Clarke
Providence --- Richard Sylvester
Atlanta --- Sekayi Stringer
Durham --- Tom Brothers
Palm Beach --- Brett Ferrigan
Pioneer Valley --- Andrea Darby


Boulder --- Janet Solyntjes and Andrew Sacamano
Madison --- Mark Blumenfeld
Austin --- Iris Ramos


Dublin --- Mark Duggan and Mimi Vasiulis
Madrid --- Felipe Rodriguez
Amsterdam --- Wolf van Lieshout
Germany and Greece --- Yeshe Fuchs
Montpelier, Fr. --- Suzanne Prysor-Jones
Vienna --- Ernst Steininger
Poland --- Chandali Pietrzykowska
Italy --- Brian Hilliard
Ukraine --- Maksym Lan
Switzerland --- Regula Stockli-Imfeld
Scandinavia --- Alex Paterson


Mexico --- Gary Hubiak and Lourdes Alvarez
San Paulo, Brazil --- York Stillman
Capetown, SA --- Jennifer Woodhull

Joining the eleven shastris who were empowered at Dechen Choling in early September (announced at that time by Shambhala News Service) the following shastris have been appointed to their respective centres and regions. Please welcome our newest shastris to their positions:

Sarah Addison, assigned to Bellingham, Washington, is currently Program Director for a county and state funded Behavioral Health Program in Bellingham. She enjoys the arts and the outdoors (in particular contemplative mountain walking).

Lourdes Alvarez, assigned to Tepoztlan, Mexico, and region, is a physician, working with acupuncture and homeopathy. She enjoys hiking, dancing, yoga, music, cooking, and hosting, and is interested in feng shui and design. She lives with her husband, surrounded by a great community, and has a son who is currently studying abroad.

Mark Blumenfeld, assigned to Madison, Wisconson, is a management consultant and corporate IT leader, and is currently CIO of a non-profit regional health insurance company. He is the father of three adult children and is married to Dr. Lora Wiggins.

Thomas Brothers, assigned to Durham, North Carolina, researches music history at Duke University, where he has taught for twenty-two years. His research spans late medieval music, Louis Armstrong, and The Beatles. He lives with his wife, Tekla Jachimiak, in Durham, North Carolina. Their two sons, Leo and Roger, live nearby.

Stephen Clarke, assigned to Baltimore, Maryland, is married to Yeshe Richman and father to Kalden Ziji, 21 months old. He is a Buddhist psychotherapist in private practice and a PhD candidate in Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Care at Loyola University studying the effects of loving-kindness meditation on depression and anxiety.

Amy Conway, assigned to San Francisco and the Bay Area, is a senior managerial consultant for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, working with physicians to improve the quality of healthcare particularly in the areas of depression treatment and women's health. She also enjoys chi kung, hiking, yoga, cooking, and spending time with sangha. She is the former director of Northern California Shambhala.

Andrea Darby, assigned to Northampton, Massachusetts, is a learning disabilities specialist at a public school, with a professional interest in the theory and practice of Universal Design for Learning. She lives in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts with her husband, close to her three adult children and two new granddaughters. She enjoys hiking, dance, theater and writing.

Mark Duggan, assigned to Dublin and region, was born in Cork, Ireland, and now lives in Dublin with his two daughters. For the past decade he has worked as a System Integrator with an American corporation. His interests extend to bardic music, politics and flowers.

Brett Ferrigan, assigned to West Palm Beach and region, is a financial advisor who counsels clients about their financial well-being now, in retirement, and the wisdom years ahead. His wife, Bethlyn, is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and they live in West Palm Beach.

Gary Hubiak, assigned to Tepoztlan, Mexico, and region, practiced dentistry in Boulder for 25 years, and is now a partly retired gypsy dentist living in Mexico. He has two daughters, and is married to Geo Legorreta, the Head of Practice and Education in Tepoztlan. He is a mad gardener and sometimes an abstract painter.

Rayna Jacobson, assigned to Portland, Oregon, is a health care professional currently practicing acupuncture and nursing, with a particular interest in working with people in the dying process. This year marks the 20th anniversary of her marriage to a talented and skilled cabinetmaker.

Sandra Ladley, assigned to Berkeley and the Bay Area, brings her decades of experience in business, technology, heath and the creative arts into her meditation-based classes and psycho-educational groups on topics including Radical Acceptance and Art in Everyday Life. Sandra lives in the Bay Area in Albany California.

Manuel Medeiros, assigned to Davis, California, is a lawyer working in the Office of the California Attorney General as the State Solicitor General, overseeing the work of the office in the California and United States Supreme Courts. His career as a practitioner-lawyer in state government has ignited his interest in the source and role of law and government in a wakened society. He retires in December, and takes great pride in his family.

Alex Paterson, assigned to Stockholm, Sweden, is a Canadian and has been living in Sweden for 21 years. He teaches theatre full-time at a secondary school for the performing arts. He lives in Stockholm with his wife and son.

Iris Ramos, assigned to Austin, Texas, has a therapy practice specializing in families in high conflict. She is an avid gardener, cyclist, and drala lover, and has three lovely grand-daughters.

Felipe Rodriguez, assigned to Madrid, Spain, has always worked in advertising as a photographer, and is now working free-lance. A native of Madrid, he is married and has three daughters and two grandchildren.

Ellen Rook, assigned to Albany, New York, works as an Application Services Manager and Webmaster for the New York State Office of Mental Health. She lives just outside of Albany with her husband, David. They have three adult daughters.

Andrew Sacamano, assigned to Boulder, Colorado, lives with his wife Molly in Boulder, where we works as a software engineer at Google. He also works extensively with education in the Dorje Kasung - and is particularly interested in how compassion and connection to basic goodness can transform conflict. He was previously shastri of Baltimore.

Christine Sloan, assigned to the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, holds a Ph.D. in speech-language pathology, and has been on the faculty of Dalhousie University and the staff of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board. Her partner is Gregory Heming.

Janet Solyntjes, assigned to Boulder, Colorado, teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as part of her work with people suffering from illness and disease, with employees challenged by workplace stress, and with health care professionals seeking tools to support their clients. Janet lives in Longmont with her husband, Jeff Price, and together they co-founded The Center for Courageous Living.

Maria Stella, assigned to Victoria, British Columbia, is a psychotherapist and counsellor with a PhD in East-West Psychology. Special interests include trauma healing in individuals, families and communities, and relating with grief, loss and transitions. Originally from Italy, she enjoys living in Canada with her partner.

York Stillman, assigned to San Paolo, Brasil, retired to Brasil in 1991 with his wife. His work for Shambhala in South America has become a full-time job.

Sekayi Stringer, assigned to Atlanta, is the executive director of a non-profit child development center. She is a wife, the mother of three adult daughters, and a grandmother, and enjoys the theatre, good films, jazz, dance, swimming, sewing, and spending time in the mountains.

Richard Sylvester, assigned to Providence, Rhode Island, is a jazz/Latin jazz drummer and contemplative psychotherapist. He facilitates the mindfulness based social and emotional intelligence training, working with Kate Crisp and Fleet Maull, of Prison Dharma Network, in the Rhode Island prisons. He lives with his wife Debbe, close to his two grown sons and their wives and his two granddaughters in Connecticut.

Myra Woodruff, assigned to Burlington, Vermont, has lived for almost twenty years in Vermont where she works as a psychotherapist. A native of England, she is also a Canadian citizen, and more recently became a US citizen.

(This announcement was from the Shambhala News Service)

Search shambhala.org Search WWW

feedback | site map | credits | help/lost passwords | general inquiries | webmaster