SONALI GUPTA (HINDI/SANSKRIT & INDIAN CULTURE) — Sonali began volunteering at Living Wisdom School in 2003 and joined the staff in 2006. She has been a co-teacher in the primary classroom, and the main teacher in the intermediate class. Sonali is a graduate of Gujarat University. She is tri-lingual and enjoys sharing her Indian heritage with her students and the rest of the school through language, the arts, cultural celebrations and her cooking skills. She and her husband, Vivek, have two children who attended LWS. Prior to her Education for Life training, Sonali had experience as a systems analyst and IT professional and with the development of adult training programs.
“At Living Wisdom school, where most emphasis is on direct experience, not only as regards the investigations of science, but even as it applies to the humanities, lie the seeds of a new and revolutionary system. The children are divine and the teachers are family. The divine presence here and the approach to education and life has forever changed me. I love the children and love the opportunity I am granted to be a simple channel of Divine Love!”
MEGAN BARELLA (ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT) — Megan is new to the LWS community, joining the staff this year to support the new building project, as well as the preschool & kindergarten program. With a BS in education, Megan is thankful her journey in teaching has brought her to Education for Life (EFL). In addition to her work at the school, Megan works with families in private practice and is a graduate student in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University.
“It is a true gift to be a part of the LWS and EFL communities. To be part of a community dedicated to learning rooted in inner peace and compassion for others is a blessing.”
PAVANI JOHNSON (THEATER/DANCE & SUPPORT STAFF) —Pavani has been involved in Living Wisdom Schools for over 20 years. She helped to create the theater program at LWS in Palo Alto, and was also a full-time classroom teacher for 5 years. Her early training and passion was classical ballet, which she studied seriously for over 10 years at schools in the Bay Area including San Francisco Ballet. Her experience with modern dance began while a dance major at Santa Clara University where she received her B.A. in Theater Arts/Dance. Pavani went on to dance professionally with New Dance Company San Jose and the acclaimed avant-garde Joe Goode Performance Group in San Francisco. Utilizing her broad range of dance experience and drawing on Education for Life principles, Pavani provides her students an opportunity to discover their own unique expression beyond any particular dance style.
“It is extraordinary to teach at a school where the inner qualities the children develop are as important as the outer knowledge they learn.”
DAVID EBY (MUSIC) — David Eby, cellist, director, teacher and writer, has been exploring the connections between performance and meditation for the past 20 years. He embarked on a career as a cellist, earning performance degrees and honors from Eastman and Indiana University under Paul Katz and Janos Starker. After serving as principal cellist for numerous orchestras, he became the founding cellist for Pink Martini. He then became Music Director for the Ananda Village and Living Wisdom School in Nevada City, CA. He currently performs with the Oregon Symphony, is a Teaching Artist for the BRAVO Youth Orchestra, and presents Symphonic Meditation workshops. Bi-weekly articles appear on his website, DavidEbyMusic.com.
“I love teaching at the Living Wisdom School because every week I get to see inspiration come alive within the children as they touch the magic of uplifting music.”
HEATHER SOLANO (CULINARY ARTS) —Heather Solano is a natural optimist and has always had a love for children and education. She graduated Portland State University with her BA in Spanish with goals to become a teacher. Her life took a very meaningful detour when she had her first child. She found Living Wisdom School when her daughter began preschool and felt an immediate and spiritual connection. Education For Life has changed Heather’s educational philosophy and holds a deep and meaningful place in her heart. She appreciates that each child’s unique talents, interests and different learning styles are valued and nurtured while the focus remains on overall wellness and joy. Heather feels very blessed to have found Living Wisdom School not only as a place to teach but also as a school for her two children.
“Living Wisdom holds a very treasured space in my heart. It is the one place that I’ve discovered where children are allowed, supported and compassionately guided to be their authentic selves. When children are given this space to really shine within their uniqueness, the possibilities in life are infinite. I am proud to be part of such an expansive culture that is Living Wisdom School.”
BOB AUSBECK (MANAGERIAL ADVISOR) —Bob has been an integral part of the school for the last 18 years assisting with decision-making, finances, technical support, videography and property management. He is also an essential part of the school’s expansion project.
“It warms my heart to see children influenced by not just material things but rather by energy that helps them to see the value of developing consideration for others.”