This page is under construction. Check back for updated descriptions of our leadership!


Joan Amaral -  Founder and Guiding Teacher
Rev. Myozen Joan Amaral is a dharma lineage holder in the Soto Zen tradition as passed down through Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and San Francisco Zen Center. Since establishing the Zen Center in 2012, she has been exploring the connection between zazen, social justice, self-care, and creativity as a path of true happiness.

Jikan Bevan - Ino

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Dave Buchanan - Meditation in Schools Committee Head
Dave Buchanan is the Meditation in Schools Committee Head. He coordinates outreach and planning for the program. Dave started Zen practice at ZCNS in 2017. He has a Masters in Education and taught history-social studies and literacy for many years in a variety of settings before serving in a number of roles at the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Currently, he works for a non-profit that provides curriculum, and advocates for improved policy, on civics education. Dave’s practice includes running, writing, and being a parent.

Clint Dalton - President

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Bob Dillon - Head Doan
Bob Dillon is the Head Doan, one of the people assigned to ring the bells for meditation and ceremonies. Bob first became interested in meditation while studying mindfulness in psychiatry training, but wanted to dig deeper into the ancient roots. He first took refuge/lay precepts in 2014 in the Karma Kagyu tradition, with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, then studied Mahamudra (Shamatha & Vipassana) with Lama Willa Miller. After reading “Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind”, by Suzuki Roshi, he began hunting for Zen teachings, and then the great fortune of finding Myozen Joan Amaral and ZCNS. That was a couple of years ago! Bob Practices psychiatry and psychotherapy as a Nurse Practitioner in Hampton NH, specializing in drug addiction treatment and general psychiatry. You can find him at insightmedicalgroup.com.

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Kate Farrington - Social Justice Group Co-Facilitator
Kate Farrington is Social Justice Group Co-Facilitator. Along with Esther Ngotho, her role is to implement a year-long curriculum that coordinates self-care, education, advocacy, community-building, and action on social justice topics such as racial discrimination, immigration, housing, the opioid crisis, the environment, among others.  She is an artist and professor of liberal arts at Montserrat College of Art. She first came to ZCNS in 2015 with her Eastern Philosophies class as a way to extend the class's study beyond theory. Since then, she continues to practice and learn from zazen meditation, and has embraced the many ways zen practice has impacted her life personally,

Lita Kelley - Jisha

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Nick Kranz - Resident Teacher
Shastri Nick Kranz is a Resident Teacher at ZCNS. His role is to offer classes and teachings in support of the Guiding Teacher. Nick has been a student of Sakyong Mipham in the Shambhala Tradition for over 20 years, and was appointed Shastri or Senior Teacher in 2013. He has developed a form of meditation called social mediation, practiced all over the world. He is very interested in Zen practice, and how the friendship and collaboration between the lineages of Suzuki Roshi and Trungpa Rinpoche, the founders of San Francisco Zen Center and Shambhala, can continue to blossom at ZCNS.

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Kathy Lique - Volunteer Coordinator
Kathy Lique is the Volunteer Coordinator, offering opportunities for people to become more actively involved in the sangha. She sends out monthly emails so that Zen Center members will know about volunteer needs. Kathy has practiced Buddhism for 14 years, starting with Shambhala and transitioning to Zen two years ago.  She feels that meditation practice has helped her to connect both with her own basic goodness and that of others. She values the center, with its deep commitment to social justice.

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Mike Magyar - Head Chiden
Michael Magyar is the Head Chiden. His role is to take care of the altars. The chiden cleans the incensors, makes sure that incense is available for service, and that the altar candles are in working order. Michael is an avid ice cream and chocolate fan. He enjoys trying to live each day with more love and less fear - beginning with the continuous practice of sitting meditation.

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Esther Ngotho - Social Justice Group Co-Facilitator
Esther Ngotho co-facilitates the Social Justice Group with Kate Farrington. She is a Kenyan native.  Her immigration story is an experience that makes her a tenacious advocate for vulnerable people and brings a unique perspective.  She is currently a Doctorate of Public Health student, and serves as a Board member for the Refugee Immigration Ministry, advisor to the Beverly Bootstraps Board, and Human Rights Committee member for the City of Beverly. She is an educator, a nurse, and a voracious health and anti-poverty advocate. Esther first came into contact with ZCNS in the summer of 2016 and became a friend of the Center. As a believer in multi-faith coalition, she continues to learn and embrace the Buddhist teachings about our minds, our suffering, and our humanity.

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Kevin Peng - Guiding Teacher Assist
Wushin Kevin Peng is the guiding teacher assist. His role is to help the guiding teacher directly in an administrative capacity. Kevin started Zen practice at ZCNS in 2015, was lay ordained in 2017, and spent two years training at San Francisco Zen Center. A pianist and a cook all his life, Kevin is now most interested in how Zen practice, music, and healthy eating can inform one's well-being in everyday life. 

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Lisa Ann Schraffa Santin - Advisor
I'm excited to join the Board of The Zen Center North Shore as and Member and Advisor.  My thought leadership specifically in Marketing will come to bear in the Center doing important work to support the community, and I hope that I'll be able to help increase the organization's visibility. I have had the opportunity to meditate and learn about Buddhism over the last 18 years. I look forward to an even richer understanding of the many benefits of the Center: meditation, social justice and to gain the benefit of learning from a variety of workshops being held in this sacred space. You can find me at lisaannschraffasantin.com.