Luster Learning Institute Logo Calm Classroom


Luster Learning Institute (LLI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, founded in 2007.

Jai Luster is the founder and executive director of the Luster Learning Institute. Jai, his wife Joy, and National Louis University faculty members developed the Calm Classroom curriculum in 2007.  The program was launched in January of 2008 in the Chicago Public Schools.

As of 2016, the Calm Classroom program has been implemented school-wide in over 200 schools, reaching 200,000 students and their families, 10,000 teachers/school staff, and 1,500 administrators in Chicago, Detroit, Albany, Los Angeles and other cities throughout the nation. 

VISION: We envision a world in which all people are supported in developing greater self-awareness, inner peace and, therefore, a more compassionate society.

MISSION: The Luster Learning Institute transforms lives by teaching skills that empower people to develop self-awareness, focus, and resiliency, leading to overall wellbeing and healthy, productive communities.

STRATEGY: Together with our partners, we serve low-income and at-risk Pre-k through 12th grade public school students and their families using the Calm Classroom program.


The Calm Classroom program is the Luster Learning Institute’s vehicle for carrying out its mission and vision.

The program is composed of scripted research-based mindfulness techniques that develop breathing, stretching, relaxation and focusing skills.

Students Learn How to Overcome: 

  • Difficulty learning in school
  • Anxiety, toxic stress and trauma
  • Violence towards oneself and others

Calm Classroom is Founded On: 

  • Simplicity of implementation
  • Quality training
  • Long-term support
  • 3rd party research
  • Ongoing evidence of positive results.

Calm Classroom is implemented school-wide from preschool through high school.

  • Teachers and students practice the scripted mindfulness techniques in their classrooms one to three times per day. Each technique is three minutes in length.
  • School counselors, social workers, deans and administrators use the techniques in one-on-one and small group meetings with students who are struggling with behavioral, emotional and academic challenges.
  • Restorative Practices Coaches use the techniques in small group interventions.

Transforming Schools, Changing Lives

We all want to see young people achieve academically, develop and maintain emotional stability, and build respectful and caring relationships. It takes all of us working together to address the obstacles that prevent children from living the life they deserve.

The Calm Classroom program addresses the root cause of these obstacles by empowering young people to find focus in a world of distractions, emotional stability in the midst of chaos, and peace in times of conflict.

With your help, we can give children, parents, teachers, and communities the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

Our School Partners

Our Calm Classroom Brochure

Staff »

Joy Luster Founding Partner »

Joy Luster co-authored and edited the instructional manuals for the Calm Classroom programs. She trains teachers and supports schools in the implementation of the Calm Classroom program. Joy owns a Jazzercise franchise and has been teaching both children and adults for 30 years. She also holds a 200 hour yoga certification  and has been teaching hatha yoga to seniors and adults for 15 years. She completed the Cortiva Institute’s 650 hour certification program in anatomy, physiology, and massage in 2000. Joy graduated from the University of Illinois in 1979 with a  B.S. degree in business and finance.

Jori Griffith Director of Operations »

Jori Griffith graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Communication Studies. She received a Master of Science in Communication from Northwestern University in 2014. As a founding employee, Jori oversees many of the day-to-day operations, as well as manages our program specialists to help support the Calm Classroom program in each of our partner schools. Jori also speaks about Calm Classroom at state and national conferences and local universities, and seeks out philanthropic opportunities. She cares deeply for the well-being of all children, and is thrilled to be part of such an uplifting, inspiring organization, dedicated to serving humanity in such a positive way.

Maura Salisbury Calm Classroom Site Manager »

Maura Salisbury graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2013 with an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a minor in Gender & Women’s Studies. With 10+ years of experience working with underserved youth, Maura has always sought out ways to empower children by giving them the tools to cope with the stressors in their lives. Inspired by her own personal mindfulness practice, Maura completed two youth mindfulness certification courses in 2014 and began her journey as a youth mindfulness instructor. Before joining the Calm Classroom team, Maura worked for a Chicago-based company as a wellness instructor and mindfulness consultant. Maura is entering her second year with Calm Classroom, and is grateful for the opportunity to shape the movement toward creating healthier, more peaceful schools and communities in Chicago and beyond.

Ronna Pritikin-Berk Manager of External Relationships »

Ronna Pritikin Berk taught language arts at King Arts School for 34 years in the diverse community of Evanston, Illinois. She believes supporting social emotional growth in students is equally important as developing students to become academically successful. Ronna has implemented numerous teacher workshops on topics such as literacy, poetry and creating a culture of community within a classroom. She has worked with teenage girls in a Tanzanian orphanage, promoting their self-esteem through book groups and art. Ronna takes pride in the fact that she has taught three generations of  Evanston families. A history of fulfilling experiences fuels her passion to continue to expand and enrich young people by joining the Calm Classroom team.  Ronna loves connecting with people and laughing. She is dedicated to creating an emotionally secure and healthy world for ALL.

Jai Luster Founder & Executive Director »

Jai Luster is the founder and executive director of the not-for-profit Luster Learning Institute NFP. During the last 35 years, Jai has been publicly teaching workshops and seminars that specialize in training both children and adults to control and concentrate the mind, enhance alertness, improve physical stamina, decrease stress, and find greater personal satisfaction. He has designed, conducted, and contributed to numerous teacher training programs. Jai was a senior executive director at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, where he served as an institutional money manager for over 20 years. Today, the investment limited-partnership that he founded, is one of the largest hedge-funds in the world. His clients included international companies, Fortune 500 corporations, and some of the largest insurance companies in the world. Jai retired from his corporate career at Mesirow Financial in 2001 to begin the process of establishing the Luster Learning Institute NFP and to grow the Calm Classroom program. He attended primary and secondary school in the Chicago Public School system and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1969.

Board Members »

Gail Sturm Chairman »

Gail Sturm is a founding Executive Board Member of the Luster Learning Institute NFP and currently serves as Chairman. She is also Vice Chairman of Lake Forest Symphony, Advisory Board Member of Arzu, Board Member of Brushwood at Ryerson Woods, Resource Board Member of the Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago, and is actively involved with the Chicago Theological Seminary Visiting Committee. Gail served as the first Woman President of the Chicago Office leasing Brokers Association, Past Vice President of Chicago Real Estate Executive Women, Chairman of the Transportation Association of Lake Cook, and Past Membership Chair of the Economic Club of Chicago. As Executive Vice President of ProTen Realty Group, Gail Sturm specializes in professional portfolio advisory services, build-to-suit, brokerage, and consulting and representation for the real estate needs of corporate clients. In her professional career as a commercial and industrial real estate leader with more than $3.5 billion in sales and leases completed during her 34 year career, Gail continues to explore new ways to increase productivity driving profitability for her clients. Previously, Ms. Sturm was President of a National Real Estate firm. While there, she was instrumental in shaping the company’s structure and developing its philosophies. Ms. Sturm is a member of the Rocky Mountain Institute and its “Green Development Services.” She co-authored 
“Seeing the Light,” an article illustrating the impact of new lighting opportunities on lowering energy cost to tenants. She was a featured speaker at the Annual Crew Network Convention in San Francisco, “Energy & Real Estate – Adding Value in a Changing Market Place.” In addition, she served as the moderator of a panel discussion on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design regarding neighborhood development (LEED-ND). She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with distinction and concentration in Marketing and Management at St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame. Gail has been appointed as a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International.

Jai Luster Vice Chairman & Executive Director »

Jai Luster serves on LLI’s Board of Directors as Vice Chair.  He is also the founder and executive director of the  Luster Learning Institute NFP. During the last 35 years, Jai has been publicly teaching workshops and seminars that specialize in training both children and adults to control and concentrate the mind, enhance alertness, improve physical stamina, decrease stress, and find greater personal satisfaction. He has designed, conducted, and contributed to numerous teacher training programs. Jai was a senior executive director at Mesirow Financial in Chicago, where he served as an institutional money manager for over 20 years. Today, the investment limited-partnership that he founded, is one of the largest hedge-funds in the world. His clients included international companies, Fortune 500 corporations, and some of the largest insurance companies in the world. Jai retired from his corporate career at Mesirow Financial in 2001 to begin the process of establishing the Luster Learning Institute NFP and to grow the Calm Classroom program. He attended primary and secondary school in the Chicago Public School system and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1969.

Dan Weitzman Treasurer »

Dan Weitzman serves on LLI’s Board of Directors as Treasurer.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with highest honors from the University of Illinois. He obtained his C.P.A. designation after graduation, then went on to get a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has practiced in public accounting, and specifically in Tax, for the last 30 years – at three medium/large-sized firms in the Chicago area and, since 2009, in his own practice. Dan’s practice specializes in a wide variety of tax planning & compliance and accounting for closely-held businesses and individuals. He shares resources with Weiss & Co., a 40-person accounting firm in Glenview, Illinois, having access to that firm’s professional staff, administrative support, and software. In addition to his public accounting experience, Dan has taught accounting courses at Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois. He has made presentations on a diverse range of tax issues for many groups, including Citibank, Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Tribune, Illinois CPA Foundation, Illinois Manufacturers Association, Illinois CPA Foundation, International Sanitary Supply Association, Medical-Dental-Hospital Business Associates, Pennsylvania CPA Society, and the Association of Condominium, Townhouse and Homeowners Associations (ACTHA). He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society, and the Chicago Bar Association.

Jennifer Hodges Secretary »

Jennifer L. Hodges currently serves on LLI’s Board of Directors as Secretary. She offers 15 years of professional experience in excellent relationship building with key stakeholders, community leaders and community groups. Currently, Jennifer works with United Way of Metropolitan Chicago as a Relationship Manager and manages a $2.8million portfolio of leading financial institutions, business consultants and healthcare providers. She enjoys applying strategic planning to align corporate partners’ philanthropic interests to meet the needs of the Chicago metropolitan community. Jennifer has experience in the Financial Services industry. She has served as a trusted board member for non-profit organizations, provided objective decision-making for various committees, developed culturally enriching programs, mentored young women and marketed an independently owned creative business. Jennifer is a Detroit, Michigan native and a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Real Estate.

Michelle Cronin »

Michelle Cronin is a strategy and finance professional that has partnered with senior management teams of Fortune 100 companies, governments and nonprofits.  She most recently led the development of the network strategic plan for Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization with a network of over 200 food banks and 60,000 agencies. Previously she worked for Teach for America on the performance measurement and management system for their 11,000 teachers. As a management consultant for Bridge Strategy Group, she provided analysis and recommendations for operations, product development, sales and marketing for companies in the energy, insurance, technology, and banking sectors. While working with Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns, she developed multi-million dollar financing vehicles for issuers in healthcare, education and infrastructure. Michelle has served in board and management positions for organizations such as Asian Human Services, Chicagoland’s largest and most comprehensive immigrant-centered organization that provides healthcare, education and workforce development and the Junior League of Chicago, a membership organization of 1,400 women dedicated to helping at-risk children, women and families. A graduate of Northwestern University, Michelle resides in Chicago, IL with her husband Patrick.

Martha Hinchman »

Martha R. Hinchman is a Senior Vice President at The Northern Trust Company and serves as the Managing Director for the Banking team in Lake Forest, Illinois. Martha joined Northern Trust in January, 1987 as a relationship manager in Private Banking in Chicago. She left Northern in 1989 to join Blunt Ellis and Loewi as a registered representative from 1989-1991, and was associated with Shearson Lehman Brothers from 1991–1992. She rejoined Northern in June, 1992 as the manager of Private Banking at the Lake Forest office and assumed responsibility for the commercial banking function in July, 1997. In addition she served as the Director of Banking and Senior Lender for the North Region before assuming responsibility for the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Financial Centers in 2003. She became Managing Director of the Wealth Advisory team as well as Market Leader for Lake Forest in 2009 and assumed her current position as Managing Director of Banking in 2013. Prior to joining Northern, Martha worked in credit and marketing positions for Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City for 10 years. Martha has a B.A. degree in economics from Wellesley College. She also has completed a three-year program at the School of Banking of the South and the DePaul University Certificate in Financial Planning Program. Martha joined the Luster Learning Institute Board of Directors in the spring of 2014. She also serves as a board member of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, serving on the Executive Committee, Member Advisory Committee and as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. She also serves on the board of Rainbows For All Children, as a mentor in the Menttium 100 program, on the Business Advisory Council of the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and is active in Wellesley College alumnae activities currently serving as her class president.

Randy Joseph »

Randy Joseph joined the Kaplan Family Investments family office in 1999, serving the Kaplan and Yulman families. The Kaplan’s have a very significant foundation – with one of their primary strategic focuses being education in Chicago.  Through his involvement with the family and participation in board meetings, he had a growing passion for finding ways to increase the graduation rate at our inner city schools.  It was through this interest that he decided to join the City Year Chicago board.  He has served on the following boards: Bernard Weiner Jewish Community Center – 1997 through 2001, Deerfield High School Hockey Foundation – 2003 through 2006, and City Year Chicago – 2010 through current. Mr. Joseph joined the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Winnetka, IL in May 2010 as a Vice President in the North Shore High Net Worth Group.  Prior to this time, Randy spent two years with Vandeveer Investments, co-managing a fund of hedge funds and being one of two principals responsible for manager research, recommendations and portfolio allocations, as well as for business development and client servicing.  Randy previously spent nine years with a Chicago-based multi-family office overseeing a significant investment portfolio and providing wealth management services to four generations of family members as well as their foundations.  Prior to joining the family office in 1999, he worked as a senior accountant for Price Waterhouse (1980 to 1983), as a vice president in corporate finance and banking at Security Pacific Merchant Bank (1985 to 1989) and The First National Bank of Chicago (1989 to 1993), as Executive Vice President at CIC Canadian Investment Capital Limited, a Toronto-based private equity firm (1993 to 1994), and as Chief Financial Officer of Advance Ross Corporation, a travel company (1994 to 1997), and Glencoe Capital, a private equity firm (1997 to 1998).  Randy received a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Chicago in 1985 and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Michigan in 1979.  He has a Series 7 and Series 63 Securities License.

Claudia Lubin »

Claudia Lubin teaches hatha yoga with a focus on posture, alignment and inner awareness. She shares her knowledge of movement, breath and meditative visualization as a means of helping her students move physical and emotional energy blocks that are present in each of us.  Claudia has volunteered teaching yoga and guided visualization for high school students at Josephinum Academy in Wicker Park. Claudia was co-creator of The Healthy Alternative Group program which went into Chicago area schools teaching healthy eating with an emphasis on the energetic value foods offer our bodies to fuel and heal naturally. Previously, Claudia taught preschool for the Glencoe Park District’s Pre-School Enrichment Program, and kindergarten in Schaumburg, District 54. She received her B.S. degree in Education from The University of Illinois, Champaign.

Howard Rossman, Ph.D. »

Doctor Howard Rossman is a founding executive board member of the Luster Learning Institute NFP. He is the founder and president of the Civic Leadership Foundation. With a background in psychology and deep experience in organizational leadership and entrepreneurship, he has provided guidance to aspiring elected leaders and developed and founded the Civic Leadership Foundation to promote the principles and practices of ethical leadership. In addition, Dr. Rossman has chaired the boards of several not-for-profit organizations and currently serves as a Board Member of the Third Way, Truman National Security Project, America Speaks, and the Democratic Leadership Council. Dr. Rossman is the Chairman and Founder of Mesirow Advanced Strategies, Inc., one of the largest hedge funds in the world, and a Vice Chairman of its parent, Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc.  In those roles, he has been a member of the investment, executive and management committees, and responsible for all aspects of organizational management, including due diligence, strategic analysis, and planning and market development. As the author of many articles on alternative strategies, Dr. Rossman has spoken at numerous conferences on non-traditional investing and asset allocation, and has been a recognized leader in the hedge fund of funds business for over 25 years. Dr. Rossman received a B.A in sociology from Princeton University, a M.A. in educational psychology from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies.

Kimberly Shortsle »

Kimberly Shortsle graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Organizational Studies. She Moved to Washington D.C., and became the Marketing Director of a small Archaeology magazine. She then moved to Chicago and worked at Leo Burnett in database marketing for Philip Morris. While at Leo Burnett, she attended Harrington College of Design and received an Associate’s Degree in Interior Design. She then received her real estate license and joined Coldwell Banker. She has been practicing yoga and mindfulness for over 10 years.

Funders »

Field Foundation of Illinois »

The Field Foundation seeks to provide support for community, civic and cultural organizations in the Chicago area, enabling both new and established programs to test innovations, to expand proven strengths or to address specific, time-limited operational needs.

Grant Healthcare Foundation »

Our Mission is to support services of organizations dedicated to improving the health of the people of the Chicago metropolitan area.

To achieve that Mission, the Foundation awards grants in support of the following activities:
Direct medical services provided by community organizations, including vision and dental care
Mental health care and services for the treatment of substance abuse
Comprehensive reproductive care services
Palliative and end-of-life care
Preventive medical programs
Improved access to medical care for uninsured and vulnerable populations

James Tyree Foundation »

Jim Tyree believed in the power of knowledge. He never stopped learning and exploring innovative ways to improve educational efforts in schools, health care, business and life. Jim believed that you could always do more. The James Tyree Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in his memory.

Our mission is to advance innovative educational efforts in
academics, health care and other disciplines.

To accomplish our mission, we will dedicate funds to innovative organizations and programs in the Chicagoland area by:

  • Partnering with innovative leaders to advance programs that redefine traditional educational efforts.
  • Supporting innovative educational approaches that advance cognitive, physical and emotional health.
  • Providing a foundation for educators to build progressive programs that improve participants’ lives today and in the future.

Polk Bros. Foundation »

The Polk Bros. Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for the people of Chicago. We partner with local nonprofit organizations that work to reduce the impact of poverty and provide area residents with better access to quality education, preventive health care and basic human services. Through our grantmaking, we strive to make Chicago a place where all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Northern Trust Bank »

Northern Trust has aligned our efforts with our guiding principles of service, expertise and integrity. We are dedicated not only to meeting the needs of our clients and shareholders, but giving back to the communities we serve. Volunteerism. Philanthropy. Sound business practices and ethics. And a conservation-minded approach to protecting the environment. All of these comprise our corporate social responsibility. All are integral to our culture of caring, now and in the future. A commitment to a culture of caring means we view our clients as partners. And it means that by turning money into good works, we extend a helping hand to those who can’t care for themselves. We proudly advocate corporate citizenship, philanthropy, and support for the diverse communities and environments in which we operate.

Rick Waddell, Chairman and CEO,
Northern Trust

The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust »

The Trust’s Values Statement

  • Tenet 1—Promoting “THISS:” promoting, instilling, and/or reflecting the values of individual and/or organizational thrift, humility, industry, self-sacrifice, and/or self-sufficiency.
  • Tenet 2—Relieving Human Suffering: relieving human suffering by: (1) performing research and/or promoting education regarding the treatment of disease; (2) assisting youth who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, have troubled childhoods, have physical or mental disabilities, or experience emotional disorders; (3) addressing the concerns of the elderly; and/or (4) providing succor to humankind during time of natural or human-made disasters.
  • Tenet 3—Developing Individual Self-Esteem and Dignity: developing within individuals, especially youth from underserved and/or under-resourced communities, a sense of self-esteem and dignity.
  • Tenet 4—Encouraging Vigorous Athletic Activity: encouraging vigorous athletic activity, leading to physical health and/or spiritual well-being.
  • Tenet 5—Developing Regional Solutions to Chicago’s Regional Challenges: developing regional solutions to Chicago’s regional challenges, thereby protecting and/or improving the quality of life for all its citizens.

The Buchanan Family Foundation »

Giving primarily for cultural programs, hospitals and health associations, education, social services, community funds, and environmental associations.

Level 1

Starting at $25

✓ Manual & Audio Set

Calm Classroom Manual & Audio Track set: Our step-by-step manual includes 3-minute scripted breathing, focusing, relaxation and stretching techniques that are easy to learn and teach! The audio tracks can be used to learn the tone and pacing of the techniques as well as to deliver the techniques to students.

See Options / Purchase

Level 2

Starting at $65

✓ Manual & Audio Tracks
✓ Calm Classroom Academy

Calm Classroom Manual & Audio Tracks

Academy Online Training Course: Our 2-hour online training course is designed to train teachers, social workers and administrators on the best practices in teaching and management of the Calm Classroom program.

The Academy training will add value

  • Learn how to introduce the program to students, peers and parents in the most meaningful manner
  • Guides you through a series of the practices and reflection processes, immersing you into the experience that Calm Classroom will be providing to your students.
  • Online videos that integrate the audio Calm Classroom techniques with images of nature to enhance the calming and restorative effects for students who may not be closing their eyes during practice.
  • Learn to share the most important points with students from the research to help create deeper buy-in.
  • Learn how to most effectively teach and integrate the Student Ambassador campaign, Any time, Any Place campaign and the Student Leaders campaign to support full student engagement and personal responsibility.
  • Create and personalize the best daily implementation structure for your classroom.
  • Adapt and integrate your existing classroom management process to include Calm Classroom.
  • Access to worksheets, roll-out calendar, checklists and videos to share with students.
See Options / Purchase

Level 3

Starting at $115
Best Deal ($150 value)

✓ Manual & Audio Tracks
✓ Calm Classroom Academy
✓ Poster Sets
✓ Focusing Chime

Calm Classroom Manual & Audio Tracks

Academy Online Training Course

Student Ambassador Campaign Posters: This campaign is designed to empower students by giving them simple responsibilities that prepare the classroom to transition into and out of Calm Classroom.

Any Time, Any Place Campaign Posters: This campaign is designed to assist students in learning how to apply Calm Classroom to their everyday lives by introducing them to three techniques that they can practice at anytime, anywhere.

Focusing Chime: The Focusing Chime can be used for the “Bell Focus” technique as well as to begin or end any Calm Classroom technique.

See Options / Purchase