Who Participates

Maverick-Teachers (India & Abroad)



Ajay Rastogi works in the area of sustainable development with a focus on re-establishing and improving the connection between human communities and nature, culture, and landscapes. His expertise encompasses traditional farming methods, fair-trade certification, applied ethics, and yoga practice. He has been a South Asia Youth Leader, Erasmus Mundus European Union Fellow, and a Fulbright Environment Leader.



Arvind Dhondphale from Pune works at The Peepal Grove School. He has a degree in art from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay, Pune and an art education diploma from Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai. He also worked as a freelance sculptor and painter in various places in India. In addition, he has been a faculty member at Dr. D. Y. Patil College of Applied Arts, Pune and Wigan & Leigh College of Design, Bangalore. Recently, he has become interested in the area of child art and sharing his experiences with children at the school he currently works at.


Chemistry and Robotics teacher


Cameron Jahn is a chemistry and robotics teacher at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York. He is also the coach of three teams that compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge international robotics competition. In his spare time he enjoys playing music and taking his daughter to the zoo.



Christopher Couch works in a large multicultural school in West London. He advises and guides students through their educational pathways with the intention of inspiring them into exciting and fulfilling careers. He works with local businesses and universities like Royal Holloway, University of London, British Airways, Cisco etc. to achieve this. He finds the role incredibly rewarding and enjoys helping others discover - and achieve - their potential. His educational background involves history and politics. He has also been a musician for about 30 years.



Claudia Barwell is the Director of Learning at Suklaa Media & Education, London. She is a creative consultant with a flair for presentation, humor, and organization. She is highly experienced working in education, facilitation, and event management. With a background in drama she knows how to hold a room and is an excellent motivator of adults and young people alike. Her work at Suklaa focuses on creativity, innovation, and change-making in education.



Dr. Cristobal Cobo is the Director of the Center for Research – Ceibal Foundation in Uruguay, and also an associate researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, where he coordinates research on innovation, open knowledge initiatives and future of learning research projects. Currently he works on different projects funded by the European Commission.



Mr. Dibyajyoti Mahanta is an Dean (Study Centers) Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University, Guwahati. He has written extensively on the challenges and successes of education environments in several publications, and has been committed to gender equality initiatives.



Ernest Jenavs is the CEO of Edurio, an organization that aims to give teachers and school leaders an easy way to collect and view feedback from students that leads to action and improvement in the quality of education.



Harish is a Program Coordinator at Poornima Vidya Samste,Arakere, Fecilitatior at Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement andTERITORY SALES INCHARGE at Pidilite Industries Limited. He participated in MTGS 2016



Jamila graduated from MIT in June 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. At Agastya, she has been working on developing/ teaching lesson plans in biology using the Investigative Based Learning (IBL) framework as well as optimizing the 8-day Innovation Hub curriculum to include both a 3-day program and an advanced program for students who have already been exposed to Innovation Hub.


Co-founder of Eduplus


Jere Linnanen co-founded the learning game company Eduplus to inspire learning. He also has tailored educational games and products with the University of Helsinki, various NGOs, and Finnish municipalities. He currently teaches history and civics in a Finnish comprehensive school (ages 13-16). He believes schools can be inefficient if they are merely storage places for young individuals and is committed to interactive teaching to inspire students.


Belgian educator


Koen Timmers is a Belgian educator & author who has been teaching for 16 years. 5 years ago, he conducted research on collaborative learning at Sheffield-Hallam University, UK. He is part of a distance learning project in which he teaches students using a web conferencing tool. Along with teaching, he creates digital textbooks and founded an online school (zelfstudie.be). In addition, he coordinates a project with 100 global teachers to educate refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya via Skype.


Comparativist, Anthropologist, and Author


Dr. Layla AbdelRahim is a comparativist, anthropologist, and author. Her books: Wild Children -- Domesticated Dreams: Civilization and the Birth of Education (Fernwood 2013) and Children’s Literature, Domestication, and Social Foundation: Narratives of Civilization and Wilderness (Routledge 2015) focus on education, epistemology, and critique of civilisation. Her website is: www.layla.miltsov.org.



After a 15 year career within the Travel and Tourism industry, Lisa came to education primarily to help young adults realise their dreams and achieve their full potential. She currently teaches Air Cabin Crew at MidKent College, in Kent. The challenge is to create a realistic, inspiring learning environment. From day one her students are treated like new airline recruits, empowered with self- belief and a competitive edge. She believes in a classroom that has no boundaries or limitations, and where an individual’s success is a joint endeavour.


Middle School Science Teacher


Loryn Windwehen is a middle school science teacher and coordinator in San Antonio, Texas. She has been teaching for 10 years and her passion and love for her career continue to grow. Creating engaging curriculum and meaningful relationships while being a leader to her peers are at the forefront of her priorities as an educator. She consistently strives to advocate for her profession through fellowships such as America Achieves. Her most recent work includes creating a website for all educators to use as a tool to build outdoor classrooms (www.thegardenclassroom.com). Windwehen was named the 2012 Overall Teacher of the Year for North East ISD in San Antonio, 2012 Region 20 Secondary Teacher of the Year in Texas, and received many more awards.


Second Grade Teacher


Luke Merchlewitz is a second grade teacher from Winona, Minnesota and a past adjunct faculty member at Winona State University. Serving in education for nearly 30 years, Merchlewitz was a top ten finalist for the MN Teacher of the Year and was Minnesota’s Teacher of Excellence in 2011. He is an NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow and NEA Foundation Senior Fellow Advisory Group member. He is also a recognized leader in public education for his commitment and teaching abilities.



Dr. Ravindranath is an environmental educationist who has worked with the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Ahmedabad, India, a National Centre of Excellence in Environmental Education established by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India. Prior to joining the Centre, he has served in reputed institutions such as the Institute for Social & Economic Change, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Education, Pune, and Christian Medical College & Hospital, Vellore in various capacities as a researcher and trainer. In particular, he has been concentrating on Curriculum Development, Teacher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). At CEE, he was responsible for designing a strategy for promoting Environmental Education in schools and NGOs. He was the National Coordinator for the International Project on “Attitudes and Values of Youth towards Environment in Asia-Pacific Region” a project of UNESCO. He has more than 110 publications to his credit and and is a member of many academic institutions.



M R Mamatha has over 22 years of education and advocacy experience and for 7 years and ran a residential tribal school in Hosahalli, Karnataka. Her focuses are in the realms of early childhood education, formal/ non-formal/ residential systems, tribal development, strengthening government systems, and water and sanitation programs. Since joining the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, she has extensively built programming for empowerment and community development.



Maria Preftitsi has an MA in composing for film and TV, a PGDip in Autism, and is currently completing an MA in special educational needs (SEN), a piano performance degree, as well as music degrees in high theory and composition. She has 15 years of teaching experience. For the last 7 years, she has taught almost all curriculum subjects, along with music and drama for autistic children, and runs various musical projects.


Principal of SD Public School, New Delhi


Dr. Meenakshi Gupta is the principal of SD Public School, New Delhi. She has a post-graduate degree in English literature and education and a PhD in education. She has been a teacher in various schools across India for 23 years. She also works as a resource person for teacher training. She has been involved in the improvement and innovation of teaching methodologies. To bring education beyond the boundaries of school, she worked alongside various organizations to make an inclusive school plan for the underprivileged children of society. For her contribution to the social cause, she was felicitated with the Vocational Service Award, Responsive Globalization Summit Award, Herbal Educational and Development Award, and Interactive Education Award.


Managing trustee of Puvidham Trust


Meenakshi Umesh is a managing trustee of Puvidham Trust. Her educational background involves architecture and applied psychology. She teaches the children of Puvidham Learning Center life skills such as organic farming and agricultural basics. She believes that learning is more accessible for practical use if it is experiential or has been acquired by doing. She started the learning center with her husband in 2000 to create a long lasting change on local underprivileged children, and to provide them with a basic foundation so that they could later pursue various career options. Above all, she believes that sustainability is a way of life - a culture that is handed down through generations.


Second Grade Teacher


Dr. Melissa Collins is a second grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School in Memphis, Tennessee and believes that it is imperative to expose students to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She is a 2013 NEA Foundation Pearson Global Learning Fellow and implements global awareness into her curriculum so her students can value and appreciate others. She also works to broaden educators’ perspectives about global competencies by speaking and presenting at various venues.



He is a student from Olin college of engineering. He interned at the Bio discovery center at Agastya creativity center at Kuppam and also was one of the participants at MTGS 2016



Nandini Talwar is a 16-year-old student from New Dehli, India.


Vice Principal of Viveka School of Excellence


Pavan Kumar has worked in the field of education for 7 years and has served in various capacities including teacher and academic coordinator. Presently, he works as the vice principal at Viveka School of Excellence, a CBSE affiliated school run by the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, a development organization in Saragur, Karnataka. He is also actively involved in policy decision making, teacher capacity development workshops involving community members in the school activities, and bringing about innovations in the learning process for students at the school.


Physics & Math teacher


Pekka Peura is a physics and math teacher from Finland. For the past 7 years, Peura has been developing a model for personalized learning that could be adapted in every school and in every subject. The work is still in progress, but it has already influenced hundreds of teachers. He also regularly travels all over Finland to educate other teachers about developing their own ways of teaching.


Director of Vidya Vanam School, Anaikatti


Prema Rangachary is the director of Vidya Vanam School, Anaikatti. She taught in Ethiraj College, Chennai, and ran a primary school Akshara Vidyapeeth in Chennai for 15 years. She played a key role in the development of the Balwadi programme in and around Anaikatti. She trained in Regent, Oxford, to teach English as a second language. She has devised tools to teach children from various cultural and economic backgrounds and continues to train teachers and challenge conventional methods of imparting knowledge.



Prithvi enjoys sketching ideas, prototyping, iterating and building products, whether they are interfaces, graphics, manufactured products or fine art. He uses his varied experience as a tool to navigate through each of these, bringing fresh ideas to the table. Having graduated from RISD’s Industrial Design department last year, he now consults at Agastya on their art and design programs and freelances as well. You can view his work on www.prithvidev.com


Anthropologist & Museum Professional


Priyanka is an anthropologist, museum professional, and recently appointed as Impact Assessment Consultant at Agastya Foundation. Her research examines gender, violence, and human rights through fieldwork in Mexico, Germany, Denmark, Egypt, and India. After completing her MPhil in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, she served as curatorial fellow at the Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Galleries and redesigned the permanent South Asian collections.


Head of Theme-based Learning and Science at Inventure Academy, Bangalore


Radhika Surendran is the head of theme-based learning and science at Inventure Academy, Bangalore, where she is also a founding faculty member. She has been an educator for almost 20 years and is passionate about education. She is also a keen learner who enjoys challenges. Her focus is on ensuring that classroom learning is child-centered, activity oriented, and coupled with traditional techniques that encourage inquiry, leading to the discovery of a concept. She has been working on pedagogy, planning, and assessments with a focus on Multiple Intelligences for over 11 years. She has also been involved in creating engaging thematic learning experiences for students.



Rajan Venkatesh ran the experimental school, Bodhshala, in Uttarakhand for four years, inspired by Gandhi’s ‘buniyadi shiksha’ (fundamental education). Along with the NGO Sidh, he writes a journal addressing the issues of modernity and an exploration of the Indian world-view. He lives in Sawantwadi, Maharashtra, and learns and practices natural farming.



Dr. N. Ram Kumar is interested in exploring links between teacher and student education. Along with his team, he is developing a community centered education model to enhance the learning among teachers and children. Currently, he is working as a team leader for the tribal and teacher education sector at Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement in Saragur, Karnataka (www.svym.org).



Rose Robb is a senior in mathematics at MIT. She is working on creating new immersive activities for mathematics classes at Agastya and developing new models to help explain more difficult concepts. Thus far, she has focused on coordinate geometry and fractions, and intends to create models for basic probability.



Rupesh Gesota is an engineer-turned-school-math-teacher. He loves to see the sparks of understanding in the eyes of his students. He finds it exciting to be part of the process of educational enlightenment because he feels both inspired as well as inspiring. He loves doing math with children and sharing his love of teaching math to children with parents and teachers.


Founding member of Vikasa Educational Trust (NGO)


S R Parimi is a founding member of Vikasa Educational Trust (NGO) and associated with Vikasa Vidya Vanam (VVV) School since 1983. VVV strives to pursue happiness of children in a holistic school curriculum. The Society Founded Living Vikasa Vidya Vanam (LVVV) in 2011 for classes VII to X, where ‘Wholesome Living’ and ‘Active Learning’ co-exist.



Shashi Nair is a professor at Azim Premji University, Bangalore and has over 36 years of experience covering areas such as design, R&D, product development, operations audit, instructional design, people development, institution building and developing partner networks. Since 2006, he has worked in the area of educational change in government school education systems. Prior to that he worked in Kenya as the CEO of IAT - an education and training institute, and was director of Quality and Information Systems at Symphony - a technology service provider. Nair is interested in exploring approaches to changing educational practices, school systems analysis and program design, and evaluation in education.


Musician and Educator


Shruthi Vishwanath is a musician and educator. She has an MSc in economics and a BE in chemical engineering, and now divides her time between performing as one of the foremost folk-classical musicians of her generation and working with organizations as an educator to bridge the gap between learning science, and the arts, taking a holistic approach to education. Shruthi has performed around the world, including the Kabir Festival, Indonesia Channel, and in venues across Europe. She works with Agastya International Foundation on their Innovation Hub project as a resource person.



Sujata Noronha teaches literacy through children’s literature at Bookworm Trust, Goa, which she co-founded in 2004. She seeks to bring books and literacy alive to as many children as her life energy permits. She also has diverse experience working in education and policy.


Principal of Anand Niketan school


Sushama Sharma currently works as a founder, member, and Principal of Anand Niketan school run by Nai Talim Samiti since 2005. Nai Talim aims for – 1. Holistic and integrated education of body, mind, and spirit and 2. The development of non-exploitative and sustainable society. She previously worked through a voluntary agency in rural areas of Maharashtra with a special emphasis on child development and education.



Tara Kini is an independent consultant in education and music and works with several reputed institutions across India by developing curriculum and training teachers. She has been a teacher and administrator in Mallya Aditi International School for twenty years. Kini has trained intensively in Hindustani classical music, composed music for theatre, and directed music shows. She has taught a course on the Music and Religion of South Asia at Stanford University and presented research papers on music and education in Sheffield and Helsinki. She is the founder and director of a music collective called Sunaad that has presented several shows that demystify classical music. She is currently an advisor on the boards of Shankar Mahadevan Music Academy, Akshara Foundation and DRRT (Dwarakanath Reddy Ramanarpanam Trust).



Tom Young is a teacher at Waitsfield Elementary School, Vermont. He was a 2011 recipient of the UVM Outstanding Teacher Award. In 2012, he received the Vermont NEA Excellence In Teaching Award. He is also a NEA Foundation Teaching Excellence Award Winner and a 2013 Pearson Global Learning Fellow. In January of 2014, he received the Sontag Prize in Urban Education. He is currently a finalist for the Presidential Math Award.


Founder of Beautiful Nation Project


Tonia Lovejoy is the founder of Beautiful Nation Project, an online social networking platform for educators designed to connect students with the Earth and each other. Lovejoy began her career as a global educator in the Peace Corps, Nepal in 2003. Since then she has sailed and taught around the world.



Tony Parkin has worked in education for the greater part of his career. Initially Perkin began as a secondary school teacher, then an education technologist, information technologist, and curriculum director. A brief stint working at the House of Commons preceded becoming SSAT’s Head of ICT Development in the Leadership and Innovation Networks, working with schools on education projects for NCSL, the DfE, and with several large IT companies. He now works independently as a freelance speaker, lecturer, writer, and consultant, using his extensive experience of educational technologies to help with futures thinking and startup mentoring. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Roehampton Education Department, engaged in initial teacher training in computing.


Math and Science Communicator, Painter, Cartoonist, Ornithologist, Fossil-Collector, Amateur Astronomer


V S S Sastry is one of the prominent leaders in popularizing mathematics in India through hands-on curriculum. His experimental and fun process of origami to teach maths has inspired hundreds of students. V S S Sastry has published a book titled Origami Fun and Mathematics inspired by “the art of paper folding… a part of folklore in our country” to inspire students to find math engaging and full of play.


Research and Development Officer


Veronica Retnam is a research and development officer at the Asian Institute for Early Childhood Education and Care, Malaysia. She teaches economics, English, and cognitive development.


HOD Physics at The Shri Ram School


Vinita is the head of the physics department at The Shri Ram School, Haryana. She is associated with the Anveshika group and is regularly trained by Dr. H C Verma, IIT Kanpur to spread leadership qualities to teachers and students. Recently in collaboration with Life Lab (NGO), she organized a physics conclave with scientists from CERN, BAARC and DU as panelists.


Assistant Professor at the Center for Educational Studies, Indian Institute of Education, Pune


Dr. Vrushali Dyahadroy is an assistant professor at the center for educational studies, Indian Institute of Education, Pune. She has played a leading role in various research projects pertaining to the areas of preschool education, education of special needs children, and textbook evaluation. She has 16 years of teaching experience in colleges from the undergraduate to post-graduate level. Dyahadroy has worked with different organizational set-ups including state-level government agencies as well as international institutions such as UNICEF. She has also organized training programs for college principals and preschool teachers.