Ilana Nankin Ph.D.

Leader of Love | Founder & CEO, Trainer


I Breathe For Change because like my brilliant 4-year-old Pre-K student once said, “In a community, first you have to love yourself, because if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anybody else.”

My favorite yoga practice is Sun Salutations in nature under the warm beaming sun.

Ilana Nankin, Ph.D. is an unstoppable entrepreneur, an award-winning teacher educator, a catalyzing change agent, and passionate former public school teacher who has committed her life to creating a more socially just, conscious world for children, teachers, and communities.

After receiving her B.A. in Psychology and Education and facilitating education courses at University of California-Berkeley, Ilana became a pre-k teacher, early childhood education instructional coach, and non-profit leader in San Francisco. Determined to bring the essential voices of teachers to the forefront of education, Ilana left the Bay Area in 2012 to pursue a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her doctoral program, Ilana taught, supervised, and mentored pre-service teachers, conducted educational research, led wellness and yoga trainings, and served in various leadership roles across campus and beyond. Ilana has also served as a professional development consultant for the NYC Department of Education, a teacher researcher and expert at Sesame Workshop and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a curriculum developer, leadership coach, and infectiously enthusiastic speaker. Ilana completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin’s School of Education in May, 2016.

Inspired by her doctoral research and diverse teaching experiences, Ilana founded Breathe For Change in January 2015 with a burning desire to transform education, recognizing that transformation would have to start with prioritizing teacher well-being. Ilana developed and led Breathe For Change’s inaugural 200-hour teacher training later that year, which lit the fire of a movement that is now uplifting thousands of teachers, students, and school communities across the nation, one breath at a time.