About us

The alarming rise of classroom stress fuels widespread problems in education, including poor academic achievement, anxiety, depression, school violence, and teacher burnout. To help neutralize this stress, many schools are establishing a “Quiet Time” period at the start and end of each school day—two 10- to 15-minute sessions when students sit quietly to rest and/or read silently. Increasingly, schools are offering their students and teachers the opportunity to learn and practice during these Quiet-Time periods the Transcendental Meditation program of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a simple, scientifically proven, nonreligious technique for reducing stress, improving health, and developing an individual’s full creative potential.

Extensive published research in education has shown that this program strengthens physiological and cognitive foundations of learning, while promoting healthy lifestyle choices and positive behavior.

US Committee for Stress-Free Schools

The US Committee for Stress-Free Schools was established in 2005 in partnership with the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace (a nonprofit 501(c)3) to bring the Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation program to students and teachers in public, charter, and private schools throughout the United States, and to provide funds for universities and research institutions to assess the effects of the program on creativity, intelligence, academic performance, ADHD and other learning disorders, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, etc.

National Co-Directors

George H. Rutherford, Ph.D.

George H. Rutherford, Ph.D. Dr. Rutherford was the principal and chief operating officer of the Fletcher-Johnson Educational Center in Washington, D.C., for 30 years. He is currently principal of the Ideal Academy Public Charter School in the District. Dr. Rutherford introduced the Transcendental Meditation technique to hundreds of students and faculty at Fletcher-Johnson in 1994.

Ramani Ayer

Ramani Ayer Mr. Ayer is chairman and CEO of The Hartford Financial Services. Under his direction, the company’s North American operations has become the eighth largest in the United States. Mr. Ayer is also the founder of a national scholarship program to fund the Transcendental Meditation program in education.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins Stephen is an award-winning producer, director, and actor who has appeared in dozens of films, Broadway plays, and television shows, including, most recently as the star in the long-running series, Seventh Heaven. Stephen has been practicing the Trancendental Meditation program for over 30 years and is a strong advocate for its use among at-risk youth.

Health Advisors

Gary P. Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D.

Gary P. Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Kaplan is a neurologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Hofstra University School of Medicine. Dr. Kaplan received the Albert H. Douglas Award from the Medical Society of the State of New York for outstanding achievements as a clinical teacher interested in promoting and improving the medical education of physicians.

Frank Staggers, Jr., M.D.

Frank Staggers, Jr., M.D. Dr. Staggers is a practitioner of addiction medicine and general medicine and the senior drug detoxification specialist at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic’s Drug Rehabilitation Program. He is also the former director of the alcohol, drug, and methadone programs at the West Oakland Health Center. Dr. Staggers has been an investigator on multiple federal research grants, including research on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on cardiovascular disease.

James Krag, M.D.

James Krag, M.D. Dr. Krag is president of the Virginia Association of Community Psychiatrists; assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Virginia; and medical director of the Valley Community Services Board in Staunton, Virginia. He is a frequent lecturer on the clinical benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program for children and adults.

César Molina, M.D., F.A.C.C.P.

César Molina, M.D., F.A.C.C.P. Dr. Molina is an interventional cardiologist in the Palo Alto area. He is a graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine and completed his fellowship in the Department of Cardiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Molina also serves as a medical consultant on the health benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program for adults and children.

William R. Stixrud, Ph.D.

William R. Stixrud, Ph.D. Dr. Stixrud is a clinical neuropsychologist and director of William Stixrud and Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, a group practice specializing in the neuropsychological assessment of children, adolescents, and adults with learning, attentional/executive, and/or emotional disorders. Dr. Stixrud is also a member of the clinical supervisory faculty of the Children’s National Medical Center and holds an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry, George Washington University School of Medicine.

Education Advisors

Ralph Wolff

Ralph Wolff Mr. Wolff is the executive director of the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which accredits nearly 150 colleges and universities in California and throughout the Western region. He is a strong proponent of the use of the Transcendental Meditation program for students.

Carmen N’Namdi

Carmen N’Namdi Ms. N’Namdi is co-founder and principal of the Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit; chair of the Board of the National Charter School Institute; and member of the Board of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. Nataki is an award-winning middle school where 120 teachers and students practice the Transcendental Meditation technique together twice a day.

Ashley Deans, Ph.D.

Ashley Deans, Ph.D. Dr. Deans is a quantum physicist and lifelong educator who has served for 15 years as the director of the award-winning Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in Fairfield, Iowa. Maharishi School is affiliated with Ideal Girls School and Maharishi University of Management—model Consciousness-Based educational institutions in the world.

Linda Handy, Ph.D.

Linda Handy, Ph.D. Dr. Handy is the principal of the Waldorf School in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the former academic director of the Chelsea School, a private school in Silver Spring, which specializes in children with language-based learning disabilities, and where research was conducted on the effects of the TM program on attention deficit–hyperactivity disorders (ADHD).

Sarina Grosswald, Ed.D.

Sarina Grosswald, Ed.D. Dr. Grosswald is an expert in cognitive learning; president of SJ Grosswald & Associates, a consulting firm in medical education in Alexandria, Virginia; and director of continuing medical education for the American Medical Women’s Association. She is also project director for the research study on the Transcendental Meditation program at the Chelsea School.

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