Presenters, Workshop Leaders and Teacher Trainers
Bios are in alphabetical order.
Linda Baker has worked in schools in many capacities including several years as a preschool and kindergarten teacher. She has worked for the past 31 years in a Public Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut for grades prek-8. She helped expand the school to include up to grade 8. Linda worked in the upper grades as not only a classroom teacher but as a specialty teacher in science and social studies. She has been their school counselor for the past 17 years.
Linda has trained in numerous innovative curriculum and educational programs and has provided consulting in many areas. Highlights include: training and consulting for Neohumanist Education with teachers from several countries, writing a curriculum with the Yale New Haven Teacher’s Institute for teaching yoga and meditation in public schools, and working as a P.I.M.M.S. fellow consulting with schools on science curriculum.
Recently Linda completed three years of systemic constellation facilitator training in Connecticut in the United States. She most recently has become interested in how to bring family systemic constellation awareness to the students, staff and parents of her school. She is currently a catalyst for the ECL. She has been supporting the development of her school to become a model school for ECL in the United States.
Tom Barefoot has been studying and teaching the ideas of Shrii P. R. Sarkar for 45 years. In 1982, Tom began the development of the Electronic Edition of the Works of Shrii P. R. Sarkar in English. This reference tool now contains over 140 books with full text search and display. After Shrii P. R. Sarkar’s passing, Tom and others formed an Archive Team to collaborate on collecting and preserving everything from his life and work. This work is on-going and will eventually provide additional digital tools to study and expand upon Shrii P. R. Sarkar’s many great contributions.
Tom attended the Loomis Chaffee School, undergraduate work at Tufts University in Literature and Philosophy, and holds a Master’s in Human Services Administration from Antioch N.E. Graduate Center. Tom also studied Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science with Buckminster Fuller in the mid-1970s, taught leadership and management skills, was president of a computer company for 35 years and served on the Board for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group for 12 years, 5 years as president. Tom also served as a volunteer instructor for the American Red Cross Disaster Services for 20 years and more recently, Tom is a co-founder and co-coordinator of Gross National Happiness USA working to measure what matters –real sustainable wellbeing for people and the planet. Tom lives and works in Vermont, USA.
Roar Bjonnes studied agronomy at the Winter Academy in Oslo and was one of the founders of an organic farm school program in Norway in the 1970s, which gradually developed into a popular school for sustainable farming. He currently the Director of the Prama Wellness Center near Asheville, NC. He has studied Ayurveda at the California College of Ayurveda and is certified as a Naturopathic Detox Therapist. He is the author of two books on Yoga and Tantra, one book on the Fundamental Principles of Prout, and he is a columnist for a Norwegian newspaper and has written articles on Prout and the environment for various publications.
Marcus Bussey is a lecturer in Futures and History. He is interested in cultural processes that energise social transformation. His work focuses on futures thinking and anticipatory imagination in the context of the struggle to liberate our minds from the shackles of history and habit. His workshops, research and writing all focus on the quest for individual and collective empowerment and for creative and hopeful pathways to the future.
Marcus has a long term professional connection to schools of difference including Montessori schools, Democratic schools and yoga based schools. He has written over one hundred articles and book chapters on educational futures, cultural change and philosophy. He has co-authored with Richard Slaughter Futures Thinking For Social Foresight, Tamsui, Tamkang University Press, 2005; co-edited with Sohail Inayatullah and Ivana Milojević Alternative Educational Futures: Pedagogies for Emergent Worlds. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2008; and Neohumanist Educational Futures: Liberating the Pedagogical Intellect. Tamsui, Tamkang University Press, 2006. He has also written a book of poetry Clare and Francis: Conversations of Divine Love. Blue Dolphin Publishing, Nevada City, 2012. In addition he is co-editor with Jennifer Fitzgerald of Flowers in my Heart, Fire in My Eyes: Tantric Women tell Their Stories, Gurukula Press, Maleny, 2007. His website is www.futuresevocative.com
Didi Ananda Devapriya was ordained as a yogic nun of Ananda Marga in 2001, after 2 years of specialized training in Neohumanist philosophy, PROUT and Biopsychology as well as following an intensive practice of yoga and meditation at the “International School of Social Service Prashiksana Matha” in Yderfors, Sweden. The final stage of training as a personal instructor in yoga and meditation practices took place in Kolkata, India.
From 2001-2005, Didi managed “Asilo Nido Giardino Del Sole”, a nursery for 20 children from 0-3 in Verona Italy. Since then Didi Ananda Devapriya was a founding member and president of Asociatia Educatiei Neoumanista (AEN) as well as the overall coordinator for Asociatia de Ajutor AMURTEL in Romania, where she has supervised two Neohumanist kindergartens, an alternative family style children’s home, an after-school center, a community supported agriculture project and a social integration program for youth leaving care. AEN is currently in the process of authorizing Neohumanist Education as a nationally recognized educational alternative in Romania.
Didi has a broad experience as an international speaker throughout Europe and the USA on topics related to Neohumanist Education, spirituality, Biopsychology, PROUT and yoga. In 2015, in partnership with two other Romanian NGOs, CPE (Center for Equal Partnerships) and Romanobutiq, AMURTEL Romania has been offering trainings to encourage greater openness to diversity and to share best practices in inclusive education in kindergartens through the “We all have a story project.” One hundred kindergarten teachers in Bucharest are benefitting from the training in which Didi is one of the principle trainers, and the project will reach 20 kindergarten classrooms.
Peter Fleury, also known as Dada Dhyanesh, is a family Acharya of Ananda Marga. He has served on the committee planning the Anandanagar master unit and in addition has helped in the design of master units in India, Russia, Italy California, North Carolina, Brazil New York, Mexico Canada, Guatemala, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Illinois and Oregon. He has a BLA degree in Landscape Architecture, and is the owner and business operator of Oasis Garden Inc., a landscape architecture, construction and design company. http://oasisgardens.com/
MahaJyoti Glassman has been the Director of MorningStar Yoga Preschool since 1988 where she continues to supervise and develop neohumanist curricula in Denver Colorado USA. She has developed and facilitated yoga teacher training programs for adults who want to teach astaunga yoga to children (ages of 0-18) and has contributed to the development and implementation of the Ananda Marga Yoga Certification program internationally. MahaJyoti has written some early childhood materials for Gurukula Publications including the NHE Certificate Programme for Early Childhood which has been translated into four languages. She also serves as a global teacher trainer for NHE and continues to support individuals who choose to enroll in the NHE Introductory Certificate course.
Eric Jacobson founded the Progressive School of Long Island in 1985 and has been a head teacher and its Director for the past 30 years. The school now has 135 students K-8. His lifelong dedication to children and education includes 11 years previous work as a teacher and then a Director of a Montessori School. Eric has been recently recognized by Nassau County, the county in New York State where his school is situated, for 25 years of “selfless commitment to the community”. As a global trainer for Neohumanist Education, Eric has conducted Teacher Training workshops and programs in Sweden, Australia, Venezuela, Mexico, Portland and New York. In addition to his work with in Neohumanist Education, Eric is also a student of the songs of Prabhat Samgiita, having been personally chosen by Shrii P. R. Sarkar to teach them. Regarding his school, Shrii P. R. Sarkar once said, “What is accepted in New York today will be accepted in the world tomorrow.”
Sid Jordan, also known as Acarya Vishvamitra, has combined a career as a licensed clinical psychologist and meditation teacher since 1971. As a clinical psychologist, he taught individual, group and family psychotherapy, meditation, yoga and community psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of S. C. for 25 years. During this period he also served for five years as director of the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Services at the Franklin C. Fetter Neighborhood Health Care Center in Charleston S. C.
In 1994 he moved to Asheville NC to develop an eco-village to support the service community of Ananda Girisuta (Daughter of the Mountain) on the French Broad River near Marshall, NC. In 1997 he trained to be an Ananda Marga Family Acarya (Yoga Teacher) in India committed to giving personal instructions in meditation and yoga. He currently serves as president of the Ananda Marga Gurukula Inc. Board in the US, supporting Neohumanist (NH) education k-colleges worldwide and as a member of the NH College Board. He is Director of the Prama Institute on the Ananda Girisuta property where he helps direct programing and teaches yoga psychology and spiritual practices. At the Prama Wellness Center he teaches yoga therapy and stress management to individuals and groups. He continues to offer his 40 years of experience and teaching of yoga psychology, philosophy and practices to audiences worldwide
Kathleen Kesson is Professor of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership at Long Island University-Brooklyn, where she teaches graduate courses in the foundations of education and teacher research in the School of Education.
She is co-author, with James Henderson, of Curriculum Wisdom: Educational Decisions in Democratic Societies and Understanding Democratic Curriculum Leadership, and co-editor, with Wayne Ross, of Defending Public Schools: Teaching for a Democratic Society. She has recently completed a memoir titled Unschooling in Paradise, and also writes young adult fiction. She is the author of numerous book chapters, book reviews, and academic articles in such journals as Teachers College Record, Educational Researcher, Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice, Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies, English Education, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, Curriculum Inquiry, Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, and the Holistic Education Review.
Dr. Kesson is currently on a research sabbatical in Vermont studying the implementation of HR77, which mandates that all Vermont students will have a Personalized Learning Plan. She lives in Barre, VT.
Richard Maxwell, Ph.D. became interested in neuroscience as an undergraduate at Williams College and worked for three summers in research labs at Yale. After his graduation, he worked in Karl Pribram’s lab at Stanford examining characteristics of monkey brains. While there in 1974, he began practicing Ananda Marga meditation. This became sufficiently meaningful, that he left the lab and was trained as an Ananda Marga acarya. From 1976 to 1980, he was posted in the Middle East. He left that position to enter graduate school and completed a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1987 at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Once completing his clinical degree, he specialized in neuropsychology, assisting the recovery of patients who had various forms of compromised brain functioning. After working at rehabilitation facilities for 5 years, he has worked in a private clinical partnership (Affiliated Psychological Consultants, PC) in Ithaca and Elmira, NY. He has continued to be active in Ananda Marga throughout and his passion is working to integrate the growing knowledge of neuroscience with the esoteric tantric concepts of Ananda Marga.
Dr. Jareeporn Naksamrit holds a Master of Arts in Rural Study and Development and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. For the past three years she been a lecturer at the College of Bodhivijalaya, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand. She is also a Supervisor of Somdejya Demonstration school, (school for ethnic & indigenous children) and on the staff of NERI, Thailand. Previous work includes 6 year as the headmistress of the Baan Unrak NHE School in Thailand from 2005-2011. She has been attending AMGK/NHE Conferences since 2008.
Dr. Howard Nemon is the Director of the Center for Local Economies, an Asheville-based research and advocacy organization that promotes local economy solutions. The center focuses on strengthening community support for local economy, the development of local production hubs, and economic democratization through cooperatives. He has taught social policy, community economic development, and international sustainable development at the University of Pennsylvania, George Mason University, and Warren Wilson College.
Mirra Price, M.Ed., (Northern Arizona University) Ed. M. (Harvard) a retired English teacher is , currently a writer, editor, copyeditor and activist. She has worked in several cooperatives, promoted many social justice causes, and has advocated for women’s rights and gender equality since the 1960s.For several decades, she has given workshops and classes on social justice issues and neohumanist eucation. www.proutwomen.org
Dada Shambhúshivánanda is the Chancellor of Ánanda Márga Gurukula. Dadaji has been a yogic monk and teacher of meditation since 1979. Prior to his life as a monk, he was a gold medallist of Punjab University, and received Masters and PhD in Business and Applied Economics from the Wharton School, School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania. He has served on the faculties of several universities (University of Scranton, Rutgers, Drexel, PCTS (Philadelphia University), etc, in the Eastern United States before dedicating his life for the cause of building “One Human Society” based on spiritual lifestyle. In 1992, Dadaji was the honourable recipient of the International Mahatma Gandhi Award for his contribution towards building a global community based on ecological ethics and spiritual values. The Indian Research Association also awarded him the Karyalaya Shiromani Award the same year.
Since 1990 Dadaji has been the Chancellor of Ánanda Márga Gurukula (AMGK). Dadaji works to develop and coordinate all of the activities of the Gurukula international network, and has contributed greatly to the development of the Neohumanist Education system around the world. Dadaji is also the founding director of CNS-Sweden, NERI (Netherlands), Gurukul Teachers Training College (TTC) at Anandanagar, and NERI (Thailand).
Geoffrey Steen is the founder of Raven Ridge Farm. Geoffrey has been a keen observer and student of the natural landscape his entire adult life. Before going to college he worked 3 seasons as assistant manager of a 20 acre organic peach farm + 4 acres of vegetables. He graduated in 2008 from Warren Wilson College with a Bachelor of Science in forestry & agriculture and continues to be a guest instructor there from time to time. Catch him at the PROUT conference in Copenhagen this coming July.
Didi Ananda Uttama has worked with mothers and babies, mostly in Qahira sector, since the early 2000’s. Before becoming didi, she was a homebirth midwife in the US. Her work combines NeoHumanist philosophy and practices with pregnancy, birth and infancy. She is particularly interested in infant consciousness and its effect on the mother, the mother-infant dyad as a partnership of coordinated cooperation, the spiritualization of mother-infant attachment, the effects of meditative practices on infants, and mother-infant love as a gateway to Infinite Love.
Dada Vedaprajinananda has been a monk for Ananda Marga since 1977 and has served in Europe, The Far East, The Middle East and North America. He founded New Renaissance Magazine (www.ru.org) in 1989. While in Poland in 1991 he launched the NeoHumanist Ecology Festival, an annual event which has been held for the past 25 years. In Albania he founded and directed the Albanian Sunrise School, a kindergarten serving an impoverished district near Tirana. He is the author of The Wisdom of Yoga and numerous magazine articles. His essay “Neo-Humanism, Globalization, and World Futures” was published in UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) in 2002. His memoir From Brooklyn to Benares and Back was published in 2015. Dada is also a singer-songwriter and has released four CDs in the past ten years, including a CD of children’s music. His articles, podcasts and songs are available online at his website www.dadaveda.com.