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The CILT Team

Mary Entrekin Agee

Founder, CILT Nashville

Mary Agee is the Mindfulness Coordinator at University School of Nashville. She is experienced in a wide range of trainings, all based on social and emotional intelligence, with a strong emphasis on mindfulness and from several internationally known programs, including Mindful Schools (based in Oakland), The Mindfulness In Schools Project “dot b” curriculum (based in England), Mindfulness Without Borders (based in California and Toronto), Plum Village Practice Center (based in France) and teaches mindfulness classes and workshops for teachers, as well as offering mindfulness consulting in Nashville. She helped design and implement a 20-week mindfulness course for the Vanderbilt School of Nursing.

Daren Dickson

Founding Partner

Daren Dickson is a licensed mental health professional (LMFT) in Nashville, Tennessee.  He has Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Stanford) and Counseling Psychology (California Institute of Integral Studies) and currently works as the Chief Culture Officer at Valor Collegiate Academies in Southeast Nashville, a charter school network providing a balanced and purposeful education to an intentionally diverse community in Southeast Nashville.  He has a deep commitment to social justice and is particularly interested in the ways “inner change” can lead to “outer change”. His work is influenced by Integral theory, Gestalt therapy, Narrative therapy, Restorative practices, and Mindfulness-based practices.

Babs Freeman-Loftis

Founding Partner

Babs Freeman-Loftis is currently serving as Project Manager for Social and Emotional Learning with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and has worked to bring Social and Emotional Learning and support to teachers and students for more than two decades through her work at University School of Nashville and more recently, as a consulting teacher and professional development specialist for Responsive Classroom.​ Babs is a certified Mindful Schools instructor and co-founder of Mindfulness in Nashville Education, a gathering place where those committed to mindfulness find connection, inspiration, education, resources and support for promoting mindful awareness practice in the lives of children. 

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Collaborating Partner

Ashiya Swan has merged her skills as a holistic coach, yoga instructor and circle facilitator to create Swan Wholistic, a restorative wellness company specializing in services for both individuals and groups. Over time Ashiya has incorporated the ancient wisdom of yoga into modern services, support and tools that increase emotional intelligence, mindfulness and presence.

Ashiya has facilitated Circles for workplace wellness, team building, strategic planning. youth Talking Circles, yoga healing circles, and circles for women's wellness. In 2015 Ashiya collaborated with a colleague to begin a Mindful Eating Circle and a Racial Healing Circle.

Karen Pilkerton

Founding Partner

Karen Pilkerton is a registered nurse who teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt.  She has a special interest in teaching MBSR and Qigong to parents of children with developmental disabilities and has worked with Vanderbilt’s Kennedy Center in the Parent Child Stress Intervention Project.  She has practiced mindfulness meditation for fourteen years and has extensive silent retreat experience.  She is a Reiki and Healing Touch practitioner and is trained to teach the Search Inside Yourself mindfulness curriculum at Vanderbilt. Karen helped design and implement a 20-week mindfulness course for the Vanderbilt School of Nursing.

Shelly Sowell

Founding Partner

Based in Louisville, KY, Shelly Sowell is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and an Education Consultant, specializing in Mindfulness-Based Life Skills for teens and adults.  Shelly has had a personal mindfulness practice for more than 10 years and is committed to bringing these invaluable skills into everyday living for individuals and communities. 

She has worked as a counselor, educator, consultant and mindfulness-based life skills instructor throughout her career, which began in 2004.  Shelly has consulted with and worked for community agencies, public and private schools, non-profits, colleges and universities, and an eating disorder residential treatment center. Shelly attended graduate school and trained at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information on Shelly’s work, please visit: 

Helen Tarleton

Founding Partner

Helen Tarleton is a psychotherapist in private practice in Nashville and Director of Counseling and Resources in the middle school at University School of Nashville. She draws from both her own evolving mindfulness practice and annual trainings and retreats to develop curriculum and training for teachers, students and their families.

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