About Valerie

Valerie York Zimmerman has taught Mindfulness Meditation since 1988, MBSR since 1998, and other Mindfulness-Based Programs since 2000.  She received her MBSR training and was certified as an MBSR Teacher by the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society established by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Valerie is affiliated with the Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI), Center for Mindfulness, at University of California San Diego where she is an approved Miami-based trainer teaching the 10-week MBSR Practicum and serving as a Mentor for those seeking to become Certified MBSR Teachers.

In 2010 after years of teaching MBSR to adults, Valerie envisioned expanding the life-affirming principles to children. Convinced the most effective way to reach children was by training their teachers, Valerie embarked on challenging tasks:

    • In 2011 Valerie and her husband Leonard A. Zimmerman, M.D., founded Mindful Kids Miami (MKM), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to bring the skills of mindfulness to all children, grades Pre-K through 12, through-out Miami-Dade. From 2011 – 2015, she led the work of that organization as Executive Director, President of the Board, Senior Teacher and Trainer.
    • In 2012 Valerie attended the year-long Mindful Education Institute (MEI) Training at Mt. Madonna Retreat Center near San Francisco. The first comprehensive training of its kind, MEI was organized by Mindfulness in Education Leader Daniel Rechtschaffen and Chris McKenna, then from the Mind Body Awareness Project in Oakland, serving inner city communities and troubled youth. MEI taught participants how to design and develop training programs for educators, counselors, and others teaching children Pre-K through 12th grade.
    • After MEI, she created and taught the Mindful Teachers Training Program (MTTP) and developed the Mindful Teachers Training Program Manual, a useful reference guide for teachers.
    • In 2015 Valerie obtained approval for a year-long, path-finding Pilot Program between Mindful Kids Miami and Miami-Dade County Public Schools (4th largest school district in the U.S.).  Then still the only Certified MBSR Teacher in South Florida, she taught MBSR to hundreds of teachers, school counselors, administrators who implemented mindfulness in their classrooms and schools. In just one year, results were remarkable: enhanced academic learning, emotional regulation, and improved student behavior. This program has and will continue to offer tremendous benefit in improving the mental health and wellbeing of children, teens, educators, and schools for generations to come.


“Valerie York-Zimmerman brings many years of working in the field of mindfulness-based approaches.  She has a passion and commitment for this work and has been instrumental in bringing mindfulness-based interventions to Miami, primarily in the field of education.  In 2011 along with her husband, Leonard A. Zimmerman, MD, Valerie launched Mindful Kids Miami, a non-profit organization to bring mindfulness to children in grades Pre-K through 12.  In this capacity she has made an important contribution to offering quality trainings. Valerie has always believed in developing best practice skills for future Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teachers.  In 2014 and 2015, I was pleased she was able to join me and the teaching team facilitating the MBSR Teacher Training Intensive sponsored by the Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI), UC San Diego.  Valerie is also one of the MBSR mentors for the MBPTI.  Thank you Valerie for what you bring to this field of mindfulness-based approaches.”

Susan WoodsSusan Woods, MSW., LICSW
Senior MBSR/MBCT teacher trainer and mentor
Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute Center for Mindfulness, UC San Diego  www.slwoods.com


Allan Goldstein with Lele.

“Valerie embodies integrity and profound wisdom in her teachings and in the communities she serves. With her deep experience of mindfulness practice and studies, including being one of the initially trained teachers of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, she provides foundational value for her program participants and teacher training mentoring. From locally being the founder of Mindful Kids Miami to globally being a member of the International Mindfulness Integrity Network, Valerie continues her work with the highest degree of dedication and love of the field of mindfulness programs for youth and adults through her programs at Miami Mindfulness.”

Allan Goldstein • MBSR Mentorship MBSR Teacher Mentorship • Development • Support Mindful Teacher Community Network • UC San Diego, Center for Mindfulness Professional Training  Institute Co-Founder


Valerie with Ferris Buck Urbanowski

2000. Ferris Buck Urbanowski, Director of Training, a compassionate and fierce teacher beloved by all, and Valerie during Teacher Development Intensive at UMass CFM, UMass Medical School.

Valerie York-Zimmerman and Jon Kabat-Zinn

2009. Spirit Rock Meditation Center Retreat near San Francisco.