leadership roles

Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan

Head of Practice (Tanto)

Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan received training in Soto Zen practice as a resident of San Francisco Zen Center for 12 years, was ordained as a priest in the Shunryu Suzuki lineage by Tenshin Reb Anderson in 2010, and was Shuso (head monk) with Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts in 2014 at San Francisco Zen Center/Green Gulch Farm. She has been teaching yoga in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988, as well as co-leading Zen and Yoga retreats at Tassajara and Green Gulch Farm since 2002.

“May all beings be happy. May they be joyous and live in safety. All living beings…” — The Dhammapada

Kristin Miscall

Head of the Kitchen (Tenzo)

Kristin is a yoga, Zen, food, and dog enthusiast. She works as a psychotherapist in New York City and has held the role of Tenzo at BZC since 2016. She takes her kitchen practice home, where she plays with inventing various forms of the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

“love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outter change; without collective change, no change matters.” — Rev. angel Kyodo Williams


Gayle Salamon

Assistant to the Tenzo (Fukuten)

Gayle Salamon began sitting in 2012 and received the precepts from Shohaku Okumura in 2017. She has practiced at Sanshin-ji, at Tassajara, and currently serves as fukuten at Brooklyn Zen Center.



Don Rider

Assistant to the Tenzo (Fukuten)

Don has been practicing at BZC since 2015. Working in the kitchen has taught him healthier ways to relate food and eating, and he’s honored to support others in discovering what kitchen practice has to offer. When he’s not in the kitchen, Don enjoys yoga and western partner dancing.

“You won’t exhaust desires by searching; you will exhaust them by experiencing that which underlies them.” — Charlotte Joko Beck

Tom Weinreich

Assistant to the Tenzo (Fukuten)

Tom Weinreich is trained and employed as a research scientist, his family’s traditional occupation. He is also a Zen student and an aspiring community organizer. Tom co-facilitates the Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine sangha at BZC.

“Not knowing is most intimate.” — The Book of Serenity

Ella Antell

Assistant to the Tenzo (Fukuten)

Ella was raised in Eastern Oregon and has been practicing at BZC since 2017. Trained as a historian, their work is dedicated to undoing oppression, transforming harm, and enacting justice in the service of collective healing. They are devoted to liberation through and within community.

“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interconnected structure of reality.” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

Maya Petrovic

Head of the Meditation Hall (Ino)

Maya began practicing Zen ten years ago—she was instructed to “just sit” by her teacher Byakuren Judith Ragir, who subsequently was instructed to “just sit” by her teacher, Katagiri Roshi. “Just sitting” led her to Brooklyn Zen Center where she now holds the role of Ino.

“Great is the matter of birth and death. Life is fleeting, gone, gone. Awake, awake, do not waste this life.” — Dogen

Erica Essner

Ino Assistant and Meditation Hall Staff (Co-Head Doan)

Erica Essner has been a Soto Zen Buddhist practitioner since 1985 and was lay ordained in 2015. Her work in dance education and dance performance is informed by her Zen practice as a tool for concentration and focus. Erica is currently pursuing her dance credential M.A. as a scholarship student at Hunter College.

“We simply cannot engage with either the ills or promises of society if we continue to turn a blind eye to the egregious and willful ignorance that enables us to still not ‘get it’ in so many ways.” — Rev. angel Kyodo Williams


Ino Assistant and Meditation Hall Staff (Co-Head Doan)

Camille is a member of the BZC People of Color sangha, and also practices with BZC-affiliated Love Circle Sangha. She received precepts in December 2017. She enjoys practicing on the doanryo and shikaryo, and making friends with the many delightful people touched by the BZC mahasangha.

“Whatever illumines your path I will consider as my friend. There are no enemies, no barriers in the heart. There is only wishing you well.” — song from Plum Village

Emily Mendelsohn

Ceremonial Attendant (Jiko)

Emily is a theater director exploring intersections of contemplative practice, aesthetic experiment, and social transformation. She has been a member of BZC since 2017.

“However enlightened you get, it really isn’t that much.” – Sawaki Kodo Roshi

Byron Wollen

Guest Manager (Co-Shika)

Byron Woollen has practiced as a Zen student with BZC since 2013 and was lay ordained in 2017. Byron is a clinical psychologist currently in training at the NYU postdoctoral program in psychoanalysis.

“If you ask me where I come from, I have to converse with broken things.” — Pablo Neruda

Ryan Wong

Guest Manager (Co-Shika)

Ryan is a writer and arts organizer focusing on Asian American politics and history. He began practicing at Brooklyn Zen Center in 2015, where he also co-facilitates the Undoing Patriarchy group.

“Buddhas and ancestors of old were as we; we in the future shall be buddhas and ancestors. Revering buddhas and ancestors, we are one buddha and one ancestor.” — Dogen, Eihei Koso Hotsuganmon

Michael Blong

Work Co-Leader (Co-Shissui)

Michael has been a part of the BZC mahasangha since 2016 and finds himself continuously awed by the vast depth and connection of practice and community. He enjoys serving in various roles around the center and the endless effort to bring that practice to his life at home and to his work in academic publishing.

“To carry the self forward and illuminate myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and illuminate the self is awakening.” — Dogen, Genjokoan

Kristen Davis

Attendant to BZC dharma teacher Laura O’Loughlin (Jisha)

Kristen Davis has been teaching yoga and Alexander Technique for over twenty years, and is the owner of Yogasana Center. Her Zen practice inspires her to use yoga and Alexander as a framework to challenge perceptions and conditioning, and become more awake and embodied. Kristen’s best mirrors and loves are her partner, David, their son, Arlo, and the family dog, Puck.

“When you do something just through your skill or just by your mind, you will not be supported by people and so you will not help others. Only when you do it with zazen mind can you help others, and you will naturally be supported by people.” — Shunryu Suzuki

Victory Matsui

Attendant to BZC dharma teacher Kosen Greg Snyder (Jisha)

Victory was raised in Brooklyn and has been practicing at Brooklyn Zen Center since 2015, where they have been a co-facilitator of the People of Color Sangha and the Accessibility Committee. They have worked as a book seller, a proofreader, and a book editor. Victory now lives and works at Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery.

“We cannot meet with the same person twice. . . . Since everything is changing, since nothing stays forever, this is the only time we can meet.” — Shōhaku Okumura, Living by Vow

For learn more about leadership roles please visit our Wholehearted Activity page.