Leadership

NCMC Board of Directors

Ib’nallah S. Kazi   Spiritual Director, Founding Board Member
Marcie Barth   Co-founder/Chairperson
Cornelia Santschi   Co-founder
Andrea Lee   Acting Treasurer
Keyana Jones  Interim Secretary
Ihsaan R. Muhammad   Founding Board Member, Web/IT Manager
Andrew Coombs   Board Member, Chair Finance Committee
J. Javier Cruz   Board Member, Security Manager

Volunteer Staff

Vijay Dharmapuri  Data Manager; Bookkeeper



Board Biographies

Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Kazi) Spiritual Director

Kazi is a Las Vegas-based spiritual wilderness guide, born in Panama and raised in New York. He graduated from Adelphi University, in 1981 with a BA in Psychology.  Following careers in human services, public education and public health in the New York City area, he then placed an emphasis on wellness and spiritual cultivation through his own program, presently known as Our Shaman Song. As a spiritual wilderness guide, he gently awakens the inner guidance of wellness seekers through the process of integrating the medicinal forces inherent in our Heavenly (spiritual), Human (social) and Earthly (natural) environments.

Kazi’s diverse education and training:

Kazi has been a meditator since the 1980s and applies many disciplines, including Taoist, Sufi and Ancestral Meditation Medicine, having become an Ancestral Meditation Medicine Initiate through the Center for Ancestral Meditation Medicine taught by Brother Ishma’el Jamal.

Kazi’s adolescent rites of passage began in 1974 when he became a Five Percent. A splinter group from the Nation of Islam. It was during this period of his life that he developed a deep interest in wholistic health, social justice and what came to be known as trans-personal psychology and its implications for the esoteric and mystical dimensions of religion-spirituality.

Along with his friend and hiking partner Sala Nolan, Kazi founded the Harriet Tubman Hiking Society in 1988 to expose the African-American community to the strengthening, healing and spiritually grounding benefits of immersion in nature. The society offered guided day hikes and weekend backpacking retreats in NY, NJ and PA forest and preserves.

Through the mid to late 1990s, he developed his internal martial arts skills, beginning with his training in Tai-Chi Chuan, in 1994 as a student of Master Yusef Bey. Concurrently he was trained in Yara Mba, a perpetual-motion form likened to a physical jazz that borrows from Aikido and African dance. He also studied herbal and meridian medicine with Yara’s creator, Professor Milford Graves of the International Center for Medicinal and Scientific Studies.

Then in the early to mid-2000’s he integrated fitness training and massage, becoming a Certified Health-Fitness Instructor in 2001 from the Academy of Applied Personal Training Education, Hofstra University and a Certified Massage Therapist in 2004 from the Institute of Therapeutic Massage, University of Medicine and Dentistry Newark. He also became certified in Royal Thai Medicinal Massage by Maria Pattane-Seidman in Punta Gorda,Florida.

Kazi became an Intrinsic Coach through Intrinsic Solutions, International, developers of a system of coaching through intrinsic, extrinsic and systematic valuing, which provided a dynamic framework for guiding clients through the process of self-healing via self-knowing.

He was until 2017 based in Newark NJ for 13 years where he remains on the Board of Directors of NCMC, serving as a Spiritual Director and Lead Teacher.

Marcie Barth Co-founder, Chairperson

Marcie began her inquiry into meditation in 1998 through tai-chi and qi-gong. In 2001 she began a committed practice of tranquility-insight (samatha-vipassana) meditation and the study of Buddhist theory. This then led her to engage in activism and social justice, serving for years as a board member of Buddhist Global Relief and as a mentor in a correspondence course for prisoners. She works remotely from Puerto Rico where she has resided since 2017. Prior to that she lived in New Jersey and was partner in Barth and Co. a graphic design company.

Cornelia Santschi Co-founder

Cornelia is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Program through Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society and is now an insight meditation teacher. She is co-founder and founding board member of NCMC where she teaches meditation. Cornelia is also a founding member and Vice President of Alegria Dharma Center in Playa Buenavista, Costa Rica. She has been a vipassana (insight) meditator and dedicated student of Buddhist psychology for over 15 years.

She is the director of Neuropsychology at the Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery in NJ, and founder/director of Anatta World Health & Education Outreach, a grassroots non-profit that creates and supports medical and educational programs in developing countries. Cornelia serves as the Lead Insight Meditation Teacher and MBSR Coordinator with NCMC.

Andrea Lee Acting Treasurer

Andrea is a Preschool Assistant Teacher at Montclair Cooperative School in her hometown of Montclair, NJ. She is an intern organic farmer at Rabbit Hole Farm in Newark where she resides. She is a senior disciple of Reverend Jaganath Carrera, Spiritual Head and Founder of Yoga Life Society. She recently completed seminary training and was ordained a Yoga Life Minister. She is a certified Yoga instructor and performs Kirtan with Mirabai Catherine Moon. She also is a meditation and mindfulness instructor and provides yoga and chanting sessions with NCMC.


Keyana Jones Interim Secretary

Keyana is a mother, natural born leader, writer, avid reader and life-long learner. She embodies the mantra of living, laughing and loving, every day of her life. Born in Hackensack, NJ, her family moved to East Orange, where she has continued to reside for over 30 years.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Montclair State University and a Masters in Corporate & Organizational Communication from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Although a NJ state employee by day, she considers herself to be a superhero by night, since it is her extracurricular activities that fuel her spirit, her passion and bring endless fulfillment to her life. Keyana began her soul searching journey in 2009 after going through a bout of depression. It was through meditation and learning to become “The Captain of Her Own Ship,” that Keyana changed her life for the better and never looked back.

Keyana easily champions causes near and dear to her heart and constantly seeks to forge new paths where there are none. She began leading group hikes in April 2015 as a new way to celebrate her birthday and from there, she launched her brainchild: HIKEOLUTION, a company geared towards bringing a lifestyle of hiking into practice for all.

Whether at work, volunteering, exploring the trails on a day hike, taking a yoga class or spending quality time with her family and friends, Keyana is all about letting her light shine. She is a board member of the Sisters Helping Sisters in Christ (SHSIC) Ministry and Carolyn Dorfman Dance. As well as serving on the NCMC board, she is a Hiking Mindfulness Leader and Grant Manager.

Ihsaan R. Muhammad Founding Board Member

Ihsaan graduated from Rutgers Law School and has been until recently a practicing lawyer. Still retaining his law certification, he is now a branding and marketing communications consultant at his own company IHSAAN Designs. Born and raised in Newark, he leads drum circles there and in the surrounding area. He is also active in a local yogic community. He also leads drum circles and makes community presentations on mindfulness with NCMC.

Andrew Coombs Board Member, Chair of Finance

Andrew at the age of 30 started his own CPA firm, Coombs CPA, PC, in Newark, NJ. Since the inception of his firm in 2017, he has more than quadrupled his revenue and clients year after year. Additionally, he purchased the building out of where his firm operates, where they provide forensic accounting, complex taxation issues, trust and estates, and a variety of other accounting/financial services. Andrew started his career at Deloitte and worked at other companies before starting his firm.

He completed his undergrad in accounting at Loyola University Chicago where he also walked on and played Division I basketball. He passed his CPA and received a Master’s Degree in Taxation from Bentley University. Andrew is also an adjunct accounting professor at Felician University.

In his spare time he does an incredible amount of giving back to the community, especially through providing mentoring opportunities to community youths. He is currently in the process of creating seminars to teach people in the urban community on financial literacy. As a board member of NCMC Andrew also serves as Chair of the Finance Committee.

J. Javier Cruz Board Member

Javier was born and raised in Florida, Puerto Rico, but has lived in the Greater Newark area for decades. He is bilingual, speaking his native Spanish and English. Currently residing in Harrison, NJ, he works full-time as a stationary engineer at a Newark plant.

He was introduced to meditation early in his 12-step recovery program. He is now in his 20th year of recovery, and he has had a committed meditation practice for over 10 years. As a result of his practice, Javier became a hospice volunteer in his spare time. He also became a mentor to prison inmates, through the Buddhist Correspondence Course (BCC) for the Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS).

He is a Buddhist practitioner with residential retreat experience, currently enrolled in the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certificate Program (MMTCP) with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. He continues to study with his main insight teacher, Dennis Maurer, of IMCNJ, under the guidance of Narayan Liebenson.

His main practice is loving-kindness (metta) which he develops as a formal discipline, and uses in his daily life. Having seen and experienced much suffering and troubles in his family, meditation, especially loving-kindness, has been key to his well-being and stability. Javier’s main priorities are his children, grandchildren, and girlfriend.

Javier is a bilingual meditation and dharma teacher with NCMC.