Leadership

All Common Ground leaders, teachers, and facilitators follow Common Ground’s Ethical Standards for Harmonious Community Life.

Staff

Guiding Teacher

Mark Nunberg

Mark began his practice in 1982 and has been teaching meditation since 1990. He co-founded Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis in 1993 with Wynn Fricke and continues to serve as the center’s Guiding Teacher. Mark has studied with both Asian and Western teachers and finds deep inspiration in the teachings of the Buddha. Mark practiced as a monk for five months in Burma and completed four three-month retreats at Insight Meditation Society Retreat Center, as well as many months of intensive retreat practice at The Forest Refuge. Mark continues to be a grateful student of Buddhist practice.

Associate Director

Shelly GrafWhat Once Was Is Now

Shelly has been practicing at Common Ground since 2003. They are currently being trained by Insight Meditation Society as part of the four-year teacher training program. They are a staff dharma teacher, like Mark Nunberg, the Guiding Teacher. Currently they teach a variety of programs at the center including co-leading residential retreats with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke. Shelly’s administrative role includes partnering with the Guiding Teacher to develop and clarify the center’s vision, policies, and priorities. Professionally, Shelly has been a clinician and administrator in the Social Work and mental health fields since 2005. They have a special interest in waking up to whiteness as part of this total path of awakening. Whatever Shelly’s role may be, they will always be a grateful student of Buddhist Practice first.

Bookkeeping Manager

Gail Iversonbookkeeper@commongroundmeditation.orgGail Iverson

As bookkeeper, Gail is in charge of ensuring that all donations are recorded and deposited properly and that the center’s bills are paid. The bookkeeper also sits on the Finance Committee, which does budgeting and oversees the financial health of Common Ground.

Gail has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 1987 and practicing at Common Ground since 2002. Her first volunteer position was being in charge of the bulletin board at the previous building. Since then, she has been an integral member of our community and served in many important roles. She was chair of the Board of Directors for 6 years. She currently is part of the Operational Team for Common Ground’s retreat property in Wisconsin. She also is one of our main teachers and has led the Intro to Mindfulness Meditation workshop for many years.

Office Manager

Gabe Keller-Flores, gabe@commongroundmeditation.orgGabe Keller

Gabe is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the center, including volunteer coordination, communications support, and program support.

(Note: Gabe uses they/them pronouns.) Gabe has been coming to Common Ground since 2008, when they were in high school and stumbled across the teachings of the Buddha. Since then, they have been a dedicated practitioner and have experienced increasing freedom and connection in their life.

Board of Directors

Stacy McClendon, Board Chair

Stacy McClendon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jana Larson, Vice-Chair

 

scottie hall, Director

Ramesh Sairam, Director

I have been part of the Common Ground sangha since 2006 and joined the Board of Directors in 2016.  I am a Geriatric psychiatrist and have a deep professional interest in understanding the complex and dynamic interplay between our minds and bodies that often underlie many physical and mental health illnesses.  My spiritual practice too is guided by the BuRamesh Sairamddha’s advice about the deep wisdom inherent in our bodies – “within this very fathom-long body, with its perceptions and inner sense, lies the world, the cause of the world, the cessation of the world and the path that leads to the cessation of the world.”  I share some of my experiences through workshops at Common Ground on mindfulness and chronic pain, and finding wisdom in our bodies.
I am drawn to Buddha Dharma by the simplicity and universality of its message, and its focus on practice and self-reliance, without the compulsion to believe specific creeds or dogmas.  I especially value the importance given to ethical conduct, compassion and generosity.

Dave Halsey, Treasurer

I have been practicing meditation and studying the Dhamma at Common Ground since 2007.  I am a regular participant in the Buddhist Studies program, where I frequently serve as program host.

The foDave Halseycus of my current meditation practice is sustaining awareness of the interconnectedness of all beings through loving-kindness, and the present-moment calm that results from this realization.

I appreciate the many opportunities for retreat practice at Common Ground, including in-center retreats, residential retreats at Holy Spirit, and I am especially grateful for retreat practice at Common Ground’s Prairie Farm.

I have served on the Common Ground Board of Directors since 2015, and previously served on the Board’s Finance Committee. Additionally, I have supported the development of Common Ground’s Prairie Farm retreat property by leading the Planning Committee, and serving as the Board liaison for the Prairie Farm leadership team.

I am married, and have two young adult sons.  In early 2015 I retired from Fraser, a nonprofit social service agency. (August 2015)

Gabe Keller-Flores, Secretary

I have been coming to Common Ground since 2008, when I was in high school and stumbled across the teachings of the Buddha. Since then, I have been a dedicated practitioner and have experienced increasing freedom and connection in my life.

Gabe KellerI’m very excited to see more young people deepen their practice and engagement with Common Ground. I’m also very excited by the community’s deepening commitment to exploring issues of cultural conditioning and inclusivity. I think the context of our practice of mindfulness and compassion is perfect for exploring and healing the painful ways we create separation around difference.

I view being a Common Ground board member as a great honor and as an opportunity to give back to a community that has given me so much. (August 2015)

 

Mark Nunberg, Guiding Teacher

What Once Was Is Now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are sure that many of you have felt, as we do, the wisdom, compassion, and deep calm that shine through the community. On behalf of the community, the board wishes to thank our teachers, the vast team of dedicated volunteers, our paid staff, and all those who contribute money to support the center. We would also like to extend deep gratitude to Mark Nunberg, Guiding Teacher and Executive Director, for his leadership and his ongoing deep commitment to practice and the Dharma. Together we are creating a supportive space that allows the heart to open and release.

Find out more about our Ethics and Reconciliation Council (EAR).

Annual Board Reports

Annual Board Letter 2018

Annual Treasurer Letter 2018

Minutes from past board meetings

Advisory Board

Steve Armstrong

Steven Armstrong

Steve has studied the dhamma and practiced insight meditation since 1975. He served for many years at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts as Executive Director, Board member and senior teacher of the annual three month retreat. As a monk in Burma for 5 years, under the guidance of the late Sayadaw U Pandita, he undertook intensive, silent practice of insight and lovingkindness meditations and in Australia, he studied the Buddhist psychology (abhidhamma) with Sayadaw U Zagara. He continues his practice under the guidance of Sayadaw U Tejaniya at the Shwe Oo Min Meditation Center in Rangoon. Steve is a co-founding teacher of the Vipassana Metta Foundation’s dharma sanctuary on Maui. He has been leading meditation retreats internationally since 1990, presenting the core teachings of the Buddha; and offering a variety of Buddhist mindfulness practices, encouraging cultivation of insightful awareness, and liberating understanding in all life activities. He encourages spiritual development of an unshakeable sense of well-being. On Maui he plants trees for a dhamma sanctuary and directs the Burma Schools Project building schools and clinics in Burma and supporting monastics and nuns.

 

James Baraz

James Baraz

James has been a meditation teacher since 1978, and currently leads retreats, workshops and classes in the U.S. and abroad.  He is the creator and teacher of the Awakening Joy course (since 2003).   He is a Co-founding Teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA.  He is the Co-author of Awakening Joy, the book based on the course
(with Shoshana Alexander).  He is a Guiding Teacher for One Earth Sangha, a website devoted to expressing a Buddhist response to Climate Change.  James lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, Jane and has two sons and three grandchildren.

 

Joseph Goldstein

Joseph has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

Joseph first became interested in Buddhism as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand in 1965. Since 1967 he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma and Tibet. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to AwakeningA Heart Full of PeaceOne Dharma: The Emerging Western BuddhismInsight Meditation: The Practice of FreedomThe Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course.

 

Kamala Masters

kamala masters

Kamala is one of the founders and teachers of the Vipassana Metta Foundation on Maui. She teaches retreats in the Theravada tradition at venues worldwide, including being a Guiding Teacher and member of the Board of Directors at the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts. Practicing since 1975, her teachers have been the late Anagarika Munindra of India and the late Sayadaw U Pandita of Burma, and Sayadaw U Tejaniya of Burma with whom she continues to practice. Kamala has a commitment to carrying and offering the purity of the teachings of the Buddha in a way that touches our common sense and compassion as human beings, and allows the natural inner growth of wisdom. She lives on Maui where she raised four children, and is now blessed with five grandchildren. Kamala practiced both insight and loving kindness meditations intensively under the guidance and preceptorship of Sayadaw U Pandita, in the USA, Australia and in Burma as a nun and a lay woman.