Paul Herder was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1958. He holds degrees from Connecticut College (BA, philosophy) and The School for International Training (MA, Inter-cultural Administration & Education). Since first being introduced to progressive educational practices in graduate school, Herder has tried to unlock the deeper potential of collaborative, inquiry-based approaches to learning. In his first book, Revolutionary Minds, he tackles the iconoclastic educational philosophy of J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986). Mr. Herder has taught at Brockwood Park School in England and the Oak Grove School in America both founded by Krishnamurti. He currently lives in Ojai, California.
Mary Kelley: I was born on an island in the Nile River and the first words I learned to speak were Arabic. As both of my parents are educators and students of Krishnamurti’s teachings, growing up in Connecticut I was always exposed to challenging study at home and fun, weekend enrichment classroom-activities with my mother. But it was the unmistakably clear message of Krishnamurti’s example of free inquiry and learning that really awakened me to the possibility—or to the necessity—of dedicating my whole life to the vocation of teaching children at the elementary-school level. The inevitable deficiencies of my regular college-training in education were very thankfully ameliorated by an excellent graduate program at the University of New Haven and by the enriching experience of two different “Teachers’ Academy” programs I attended at Oak Grove School and the Pepper Tree Retreat in 2007 and 2013, and also the wonderful experience of participating as a volunteer Art & Literacy teacher at The Valley School in Bangalore, India, for a year in 2009. After working for four years in a public school in Connecticut I am most fortunate to be in my second year as the fifth-grade teacher at Oak Grove School, which is the fulfillment of my dream: to teach and learn in an exceptional place where education is understood as the blossoming of life!
R.E.Mark Lee is a trustee of the KFA and the KFI and has had a fifty year association with the Krishnamurti teachings and the Foundations. He was principal of the Rishi Valley Junior School from 1965 to 1972 and founding director of the Oak Grove School in Ojai, California, from 1975 to 1985. He served as executive director of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America for twenty years and was director of Krishnamurti Publications for five years.
Siddhartha Menon is an English literature postgrad of Delhi University, Siddhartha Menon has served with several Krishnamurti Foundation schools for over two decades and is currently principal of the co-ed Rishi Valley School (RVS), in India.
When asked what the purpose of school education was he answered: School education should help students become responsible global citizens in a world beset with problems, including the hold on us of conflicting group identities, the earth’s dwindling resources, hunger, inequality, and environmental degradation. But it should also nurture the sense of wonder that all children are born with, and make learning a joyful experience.
Rishi Valley is committed to educating students to grow into good human beings responsible for themselves and all other life forms who share their world.
At Rishi Valley, the principal is one of a team with long-term commitment to developing the vision of the institution. Key decisions are taken collectively. As such, individual leadership style is less important than the give and take of evolving consensus and building relationships.
David E. Moody, Ph.D., was the first teacher hired at Oak Grove School when it opened its doors in 1975. In 1980, Krishnamurti appointed him Educational Director and subsequently Director of the school, the position he held at the time of Krishnamurti’s death. His years at the school are described in his book, The Unconditioned Mind: J. Krishnamurti and the Oak Grove School. After he left Oak Grove, Moody took his Ph.D. in Education at UCLA, where his doctoral research focused on the role of insight in overcoming student misconceptions in the sciences. He is the author of numerous articles in popular and professional journals on topics in science and education, and he is a contributor to Huffington Post. While he was at Oak Grove, Moody worked closely with both Krishnamurti and theoretical physicist David Bohm. His observations of both men form the background for his new book, An Uncommon Collaboration: David Bohm and J. Krishnamurti.
Mary Black Verschuur was born and educated in Scotland and trained as a Montessori Guide (teacher) in Ireland and came to the USA in 1962 to teach in a Montessori School. She moved to Omaha, NE. in 1966 and with Larry Verschuur opened and managed two Montessori Schools in Omaha, and one each in Bellevue and Lincoln NE. After retiring she stayed engaged by continuing to supervise and substitute in the classrooms and to conduct workshops for parents, staff and in the local community.
A personal interest in Scottish History led her to pursue a Ph.D. in that field and although she continued to work in Montessori she also managed to find time to teach history as an adjunct at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for almost two decades.
She has authored two books on sixteenth century Scottish History, contributed chapters to various collections of essays in that field and have had articles appear in several Scottish Historical Journals. Her work has also appeared in Montessori Educational Journals.
Her current attention to the philosophy of J. Krishnamurti is more recent and became more specifically directed towards education when she visited the Oak Grove School. Research revealed to her some intriguing parallels amongst the qualities of “new” or “right” education as defined by both Krishnamurti and Montessori.
Pathik Wadhwa is a Professor of Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, where he directs the UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program. He received his medical degree from the University of Pune in India, and his doctorate from the University of California, Irvine.