Roshi Ken (ICS President Ken Byalin) says: "I’m not a typical Zen teacher. My Zen practice manifests as social action. Integration Charter Schools is a manifestation of the practice."

Finding Your Passion: My Story – Part 3

We were hooked on the charter school project. It took three years (eventually we did get theplanning grant), and we eventually got our first charter. We opened our first school in 2009 with 75 students in incubation space provided by New York City.  We now have three schools with almost 1000 students, one more in […]

Finding Your Passion: My Story – Part Two

My thirty-five year career in mental health administration began while I was still in the doctoral program. Through that process, I was mentored by many people, most notably Mike Marvald at Brookdale and Linda Breslin at South Beach, but the influences that remain most impactful were Owen, Bill, and Alan and of course my parents, […]

Finding Your Passion: My Story – Part One

Finding Your Passion is a three part installment. Please enjoy Part One below, and check back next week for Part Two! – – – – In Joseph Campbell’s book, The Power of Myth, he famously advised his students, “Follow your bliss.” Great advice, though I think much debunked of late, for instance by billionaire Mark […]

Organizational Design

I discovered Ray Dalio’s Principles (Simon and Schuster, 2017) accidentally on a Barnes and Noble bookshelf, and it has been a delight ever since. I’ve been learning a lot, and am finding that Dalio has articulated some of the principles which we have been discovering. That is encouraging, yet one exception stands out. Dalio argues […]

Honoring Bernie Glassman

I am often asked about what we have accomplished. Beginning with the opening of Lavelle Prep in 2009, followed by two more schools, now a fourth on the way, merging the schools into a corporate structure, Integration Charter Schools, serving in the coming year over 1000 students, one-third living with emotional challenges and other special […]

Families First

The practice of Zen is about achieving balance in our lives. All of us, students, faculty, and administration are balancing the competing demands which we face at home with those we face at school. For staff, indeed for employees generally, there is a burgeoning self-help literature. Very little has been written about the ways in […]

Everyone is Unique

The Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. The teacher, the teaching, and the community of practitioners. Or as Roshi Bernie Glassman says: Buddha, the Oneness of Life; Dharma, the absolute uniqueness of every moment; Sangha, the Unity of Oneness and Diversity. Bernie often refers to Enlightenment as the realization and actualization of the Oneness of Life. […]

Raising Money

What’s my New Year’s Resolution? What’s the hardest thing for me? Raise more money. Beg more. When The Verrazano Foundation needed to raise money, I called my teacher Roshi Bernie Glassman for advice. Bernie had done wondrous fundraising for The Greyston Foundation. I told him about our situation and he told me, “If I was […]

Everyone is Irreplaceable (Part 1)

Tough guy bosses often threaten, “No one is irreplaceable.” What they mean is something like, “Don’t threaten me. We can manage fine without you.” Nice guy managers say the same words to members of their team when a key staff member departs, but they mean something more along the lines of, “Don’t worry. We will […]

Is This Your Dream Job?

Zen practices allows us to connect to our dreams. It helps us become aware of and drop away the conditioned thinking that often stands in the way of our even knowing what our dreams are. Zen practice also allows the aspiration to arise, to allow all people to connect to their dreams. Alternatively, it is […]