Founder Headmaster and Executive Director of Pinegrove School, Capt. AJ Singh is an the alumnus of The Lawrence School, Sanawar, the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, the Indian Military Academy ( IMA), Dehradun, Jawahar Lal Nehru (JNU) University, Punjab University (PU) Chandigarh, MDU Rohtak and The College of Material Management, Jabalpur.

He was commissioned into the Army Ordnance Corps but resigned prematurely in 1987, and since then he has been working for the noble cause of education.

Entrepreneur, educationist and philanthropist, former IPSC chairman and member Board of Governor CBSE Capt. AJ Singh is a recipient of the prestigious IPSC Gaur Hari Singhania Lifetime Achievement Award.

Capt. AJ Singh has been felicitated with a "National Award for Excellence in the Field of Education" by the Parent Teacher Association of India and a Certificate of Excellence for being one of the "Top 30 principals" by Education World.

Pinegrove School, a CBSE-affiliated, co-educational, fully residential, English-medium school nestled amidst the forest and woodlands in the verdant foothills of the Shivalik hills with snow-capped Himalayas to the north and rolling plains to the south, is situated in two locations: Dharampur (est. 1991) and Subathu (est. 1998), both in District Solan, in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India.

PGS embarked on its glorious and eventful journey over three decades ago with 6 classrooms, 18 students, and a strong team of 11 staff members. As the years have rolled over, our growth in terms of new admissions, coupled with retention of old students and an increase in manpower, has been exponential. The present strength of students is almost 55 times the initial figures and is supported by a well-qualified and experienced team. The school has a multicultural student body from 11 countries and 17 states, representing diversity in cultural practices, which empowers them with a broader vision and true secular values.

One unique feature about your educational institution that makes it different from the other institutions in the country

Keeping in tandem with the National Education Policy 2020, Pinegrove has redesigned the curriculum and introduced a five-day teaching model with an activity-based curriculum for Saturdays and Sundays for children up to Class 10.

These activities concern the prime objectives of conceptual learning through the latest pedagogy and to provide improved participation in public speaking, sports, activities, the visual and performing arts, social service, experiential learning, knowledge development, dual-language proficiency, and problem solving, as these play an integral part in building one's personality.

As an educator, how have you influenced your fellow educators and the education fraternity?

Capt. Aj Singh has been the Chairman of the IPSC and also been on the Board of Governors of the CBSE, and he has played a vital role in influencing change.

The school is a pioneer in taking the initiative of enrolling two bright girls from the government schools of Solan District, Himachal Pradesh, on a 100% scholarship every year since 2016.

The school has also volunteered as a "Shrestha Scheme" school and enrolled Central Government Scholarship students as well.

If as an education influencer given a chance to be the change & see the change in the field of education what would you like the change to be and how?

We have to teach the children time and again the difference of right from wrong, to be with good, set examples for them to follow and by doing so we would have done far more than our duty. There can be no school without a society, and no society without a school. Schools and parents together have to join hands in imparting good "Sanskar" to their children. This is possible only when we implement strong Value Education based programmers like awarding 'Diamond Star' for exemplary behaviors' along with Personality Development Programme.

As an influential educator, how would you encourage the development of leadership capacity amongst your fellow colleagues?

Giving responsibility and opportunity, along with continuous teacher training, is the key to developing leadership. Strong foundational work must first be laid down to ensure that multiple levels of leadership are able to emerge in a school that is both authentic and diverse. The staff members are assigned the responsibilities of organising inter-school and inter-house competitions, cultural shows, symposiums, hubs of learning workshops, round-square conferences, cultural exchange programmes (for staff and students), career counselling sessions for students, adventure camps, etc.

As an educator, how have you influenced society?

The thousands of students and parents and their families who have benefitted from the school's programme is in itself a huge influence in society. Pinegrove School has championed multiple sustainable initiatives by becoming a zero-waste school and not sending any garbage to the municipal dumps.

What is your take on the present-day educational system in our country?

As educators, we need to keep pace with the shifting dynamics of learning because today's learners are evolving faster and seeking a change from traditional teaching methodologies. We need to encourage and implement NEP 2020 in letter and spirit.

A message you'd like to give to the upcoming professionals in the field of education with regard to the leadership qualities they must possess

Sharing advice for budding entrepreneurs, Capt. A. J. Singh said, "If you want to venture into the field of education, your aim should not be concerning money or having a business point of view." We need to understand that school education is a socially charitable service. All excess income over expenditure is incidental and must be used for the further development of the institution so that the students benefit from the management's policies. Schools need to be fair in dealing with parents, students, and employees by being honest, transparent, and democratic in their approach.

How does it feel when your team looks up to you as an influencer, and what message would you like to give them?

Happiness and satisfaction of all stakeholders are the keys to a successful school, and respect for the human resource that is running the establishment cannot be undermined. We all leaders need to set examples for them to follow and thus have created a "culture" from which all are universally benefitted.