Q. Could you provide us with a brief overview of your professional background and areas of expertise?

Throughout my 30-year journey in education, I've remained dedicated to fostering holistic development and instilling a strong sense of values in both faculty and students. From my roots as a teacher to my current role as Principal and Director of Education at Singhania Group of Schools, I've had the privilege of spearheading various initiatives aimed at innovation, inclusivity, and social outreach. Whether designing progressive curricula or facilitating international exchanges, my passion lies in making a meaningful impact on the lives of those within our educational community. With seven schools under my leadership, serving diverse populations across rural and urban landscapes, I'm committed to ensuring every student has the opportunity to soar to new heights while staying grounded in our shared values.

Q. Could you highlight some of your key accomplishments in the field of education?

I've been fortunate to achieve several milestones that have positively impacted the field and given me a sense of accomplishment. 

Developing a Student-Centric Curriculum and pioneering classroom dynamics has positively impacted student life—our innovative teaching methodology, SPICE, implemented at Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School has garnered attention for its effectiveness. It's even recognized as a case study at the esteemed institution IIM-A. I played a crucial role in crafting a contemporary curriculum aligned with CISCE guidelines. Emphasizing a "No-textbook" approach until Grade IV and introducing a single curriculum resource book for Grades V to VII has enhanced learning experiences.

Recognizing the importance of technology in education early on, I spearheaded the development of our in-house learning app, QUEST, back in 2017. This proactive approach proved invaluable, particularly during the pandemic when remote learning became essential.

Understanding the challenges faced by students with special needs and their families, I created a team of counselors and special education teachers within the school. Additionally, I founded Singhania Shaping Therapies Centre in June 2020 on the school premises, offering a wide range of therapies to support students' holistic development.

The most rewarding highlight of my career has been my commitment to providing quality education to underprivileged children. By mainstreaming over 8000 children, I've made a tangible difference in their lives and contributed to a more inclusive society. These accomplishments have been recognized through various prestigious awards, including the Educational Visionary Award at the 28th Elets World Education Summit 2024, recognition from the London Chamber of Commerce in acknowledgment of my groundbreaking contributions to the realm of education, the Global Icon Award for Leadership in Education by Baroness Susan Kramer, at the House of Lords, British Parliament and Mr. Sunil Chopra, Mayor of Southwark, UK, receiving “Leader with a heart in K-12 Education” by India Didactics Association, featuring in the Forbes India Leadership Awards March 2023 Edition (FILA). I have also been felicitated by HRH Prince Philip Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the Governor of Maharashtra, The Consul-General of Australia and France for my contribution to the field of Education. Our school was awarded the National Winner for Holistic Education at the first Sri Sri Ravishankar Award. Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School has also been ranked the top school in Maharashtra and Thane by esteemed publications like Education Today. 

It's been gratifying to see the impact of my work acknowledged on both a national and global scale.

Q. What impactful changes or innovations have you implemented in the education segment, and what further advancements would you like to see or implement in the field of education?

Over the years' we have witnessed the changes and shifts in education. I have always believed in holistic development and experiential learning rather than academics and rote learning formats. With my experience, expertise, and support from my talented, dedicated, and hardworking faculty, I have introduced several innovations in our daily classroom transactions. We have brought a culture of care, commitment, and well-being to the school. This culture has helped the school to ensure happy and purposeful learning.

Our students are meaningfully engaged through hands-on experiential learning techniques. We implement numerous methods like Integrated Curriculum, Project and Theme-based learning, and Creative assessment techniques. I introduced virtual teaching, flipped classrooms, open books, and online exams almost a decade ago.

I identified the need and potential of the same almost a decade ago, and being an early adopter, the most impactful innovation has been seamlessly integrating technology with our learning process.  We've prioritized inclusivity and diversity in our school community. By implementing inclusive practices and providing support for students with diverse learning needs, we ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed.

Looking ahead, there are further advancements I would like to see and implement in the field of education. I envision implementing personalized learning plans for each student, leveraging data analytics and AI to tailor instruction to individual learning styles, interests, and abilities. This approach will ensure that every student receives the support and challenge they need to thrive. Given the increasing importance of environmental sustainability, I aim to integrate environmental education into our curriculum. This includes teaching students about environmental stewardship, climate change, and conservation efforts to inspire them to become responsible global citizens.

Students must develop a global perspective and cultural competence in an increasingly interconnected world. I plan to expand our existing global citizenship education initiatives, such as international exchange programs and cross-cultural learning experiences, to foster understanding and empathy across borders. By continuing to innovate and adapt to the evolving needs of our students and society, we can create a learning environment that prepares students for academic success and lifelong learning, leadership, and citizenship in the 21st century.

Q. What advice can you give emerging education professionals/fellow educators regarding essential leadership qualities in this field?

To all the education professionals and fellow educators, passion and dedication are non-negotiable. One must be driven by a deep-seated desire to make a difference and positively impact society. Entering this arena demands a strong sense of purpose. We are the epicenter of societal change, shaping future generations. Embrace this responsibility wholeheartedly.

In education, adaptability is the key. Stay abreast of evolving trends and technologies. Acquiring new skill sets and methodologies is imperative to meet the needs of ever-changing times. Collaboration over competition should be the ethos. Educational spaces thrive on collective efforts. Foster an environment of cooperation and mutual support among peers.

Taking calculated risks and making swift decisions are part of effective leadership. For instance, I introduced online exams and open-textbook examinations years ago. Confidence in one's convictions and the ability to deliver results with innovative ideas are paramount. Embrace criticism as an opportunity for growth and refinement.

Innovation is the lifeblood of education. Encourage creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to foster an environment where new ideas can flourish. Never settle for the status quo. In essence, to excel in educational leadership, embody passion, purpose, adaptability, collaboration, risk-taking, conviction, and innovation. These qualities will elevate your practice and inspire those around you to strive for excellence.