Sudha Seetharaman, Founder and Executive Director
While looking for a school for my second daughter, I found there was no suitable space in my neighborhood where she could truly flourish, expressing her creative side to the fullest extent. Being an artist and an educator, for me an environment that would foster my child’s inherent creativity was vital. Having grown up in India, Gandhian principles of non-violence, simple living, re-cycling and positive thinking, were also dear to me. Using science in a creative and hands on way to expand a child’s imagination was also dear to me and I hoped a school would embody all of the above.
In 1996 my husband and I had started a non-profit arts company called Trilok Fusion Arts. As an Indian Classical Dancer by training, I was frequently visiting schools in the tri-state area offering my services through workshops and performances. In 2007 when I saw there was a dire need for a school with a new vision and a new educational paradigm, I started Trilok School with arts and science as its core ingredient.
With over twenty years of experience working with children of all ages, exposing them to the world with my art, and teaching them early lessons of life through the essence of my being, starting a school was only the next logical step.
Having attended graduate school for dance and choreography, both in India and in the United States, and having interacted with educators and students in all settings, the creation of Trilok School has in many ways has been the culmination of my life’s work thus far. And I hope my vision and passion makes learning and growing a joyful enriching journey for both my children and their caregivers.
Audrey Kindred, Education Director and Cherries Head Teacher
I am passionate about the connection between the body and the mind. This passion manifests in my educational work, creativity, and meditation. Studies in Dance and Early Childhood at Bennington College have blossomed into decades of creativity, learning, teaching, community-building and… intentional breathing! Studies in Non-Violent Communication (Compassionate Communication) and certifications in yoga have led to years of cultivating peace in communities. My background includes dedicated work with many inspiring organizations such as BOL (Bent On Learning), BSEC &NYSEC (Ethical Culture), The Quad Center for 2-E Kids, ASAP (All Sports For All People), Education in Dance, BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) and MR (Movement Research). I have taught in myriad schools and community centers, with ages 2 through 80. Having travelled widely, I have culled a deep commitment to my educational role in the Human Family, and am inspired by the vision of Trilok School. Here at Trilok, I am an Educational Director and Teacher.
Mutsuki Gibo, Education Director and Grapes Head Teacher
With over twenty-five years of teaching experience, including my years at a Montessori School and at a Music and Arts program in Japan, I bring a diverse range of expertise to Trilok. I love nature, science and math, and even though I first came to Trilok as an art teacher, over the years I have gravitated towards teaching the subjects I most passionate about. I focus on using materials from nature, for I believe that nature is a gift and children need to explore it at an early stage. Giving children freedom in using those natural materials inspires creativity and keeps their curiosity alive and preserves and strengthens their appreciation for nature. This also relates to the way in which I teach science and math; I give the students enough room to find their own creative solutions. I am looking forward to another inspiring year with the children here at Trilok School.
Jane Bernard, Director of Education Support
Jane has a BA in Philosophy from The New School, an MA in Special Education from Bank Street College. She has worked with autistic and learning challenged students, taught elementary, junior and senior high and been a writing professor at various colleges and online. Additionally, Jane worked with Education Think Tanks as a project manager. She the author of 3 books and a regular blogger and guest speaker on Intuitive Thinking.
“No matter what you’re thinking, your intuition is another perspective. Intuitive thinking is an open mind. It’s the long-term reality check that keeps priorities and options clear. Like our 5 senses, we experience intuition, we don’t ’think’ it. Our 6th sense guides us to be our highest potential. Intuition is also called ‘common sense’ or the ‘survival instinct’ Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talent; I am only passionately curious.” Curiosity is powerful intuitive thinking that frees our mind to be creative. Intuitive thinking is the way we sense timing, purpose and place to actively make connections and create order.
For everyone, the 6th sense is a portal to creativity and conscience. Natural sensuality is inner freedom that brings excitement and understanding to life’s vivid journey. Intuitive tools like courage, curiosity, dignity and patience guide us to sense danger, timing, purpose and direction. Tuning to what we sense is the emotionally wholesome way of understanding ourselves and making connections. We ‘think’ with our senses to be aware of what’s happening and ‘feel’ with our minds for clarity, direction and purpose.”
Vicki Dookhoo, Tangerines Head Teacher
I was born in Trinidad and moved to America in 2002. I have been working with children for over 10 years. My first job was a nanny position, which I did for three years. Then, I moved to a private daycare in Park Slope where I was an assistant teacher for three and a half years. There, I worked with children three months old to four years old. I transferred to the Asian School as a head teacher where I had the opportunity to work with two, three, and four year olds. This was a great experience during which I had the opportunity to learn about Asian culture. I was there for three and a half years. Now, I am excited to be at Trilok School.
Cecelia Ortiz, Yellow Apples Assistant Teacher
I was born in Puerto Rico, and moved to Brooklyn in 1996. I am the mother of three beautiful children. I am grateful to have my son enrolled at Trilok School, and enjoy being a part of this school myself. I love being around kids, and I have a great connection with the kids and parents here. Every day, I feel happy to go to work and be a part of the team at Trilok.
Elizabeth Bajo, Assistant Teacher and Sports Coach
Elizabeth Bajo, an authentic Brooklyn-ite, is known at Trilok as Coach Liz since she often leads the children in sports. She’s a graduate of Long Island University with a Bachelors in Fine Arts, including supporting studies in Education and Special Education from Touro College. As an art lover and star athlete, she enjoys teaching both photography and physical education to the children at Trilok. She truly enjoys capturing the beauty of nature and sharing that gift with her students. Her favorite color is blue, in all shades, including that which resembles the sea especially near the Caribbean Islands. She loves to travel and take pictures wherever she goes. She enjoys reading and writing, especially poetry. She is inspired by authors such as Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelo, Walt Whitman, Shel Silverstein, and Dr. Seuss. One of her all time favorite children’s book is, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, the classic parable of selfless love and devotion through the nourishment of an aging tree. There is no question that she loves all genres of music as long as it has a good beat or rhythm and purposeful lyrics. Her goal is to share some of her hidden gifts universally as well as in the classroom. Beyond teaching, she pursues outside interests in photography, cat sitting, and abstract art. Her guiding vision in life, is to love and appreciate all learners of this world.
Mala Calero, Head teacher in Yellow Apples
Mala Calero is from the beautiful island of Trinidad and Tobago. She collaborates with her husband to raise two tween sons, who are exemplary students at Trilok School. Her hobbies are reading, dancing, swimming, painting, drawing and playing cricket. She loves taking long walks and smelling the flowers and trees all around her. Her favorite color is sky blue; flower, tulips; and animal, elephants. The one person she looks up to and loves listening to is her former professor Dr. Jessie Kindred, who has inspired her to open her heart toward wanting the freedom of greater knowledge, with the purpose of sharing more fully with the world, the love she has to offer. She has a Bachelors of Arts, in Liberal Arts, from the College of New Rochelle, where her primary area of focus was Psychology. Mala is aiming to pursue her Masters degree in early childhood. Teaching is her passion and she enjoys learning from her students each day. She augments the joy of learning through dance and rhymes. What makes Mala happy is hearing the parents reflect all the wonderful things the children have learned. When she sees that a student who has learned, teaches what they have learned –this is what brings joy to her heart.
Katie Donohue, Head teacher in Tangerines
Katie Donohue enjoys reading mysteries, self-help and inspirational books, psychological case studies, and true stories of triumph. Her favorite children’s books are: Where the Wild Things Are, Charlotte’s Web, and Aesop’s Fables. She loves koalas, pandas, and cheetahs. She brings to Trilok her strength in listening, empathizing, and problem solving. She loves the color green, as well as patterns of all kinds. Having grown up in Rockaway Park, Queens, she has a great love of the ocean and the peace it has brings her. The smell of honey suckle and lilac trees often remind her of her childhood. Some things Katie loves to do on her own include: dancing in the privacy of her home, redecorating, researching and visiting restaurants, listening to all kinds of music, and exploring craft and food projects on Pinterest and Etsy. Katie earned a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts from the College of New Rochelle, with a focus in Psychology, after experiencing many years of work in many diverse fields. She works with children now, inspired by three children of her own. She enjoys when the children she teaches reach new milestones, and exhibit a sense of pride and accomplishment, she finds priceless. She loves, above all, to lead her classes in the activities of reading, music & movement, and arts & crafts.
Tahmina Chowdhury, Assistant teacher in Oranges
Tahmina Chowdury loves to go near the ocean to see the views, take walks, garden, and read. Her favorite colors are red and blue, and she loves birds and roses. Raised in Bangladesh, she speaks Bengali, and has a knack fro Math and Chemistry. She has earned a Masters Degree in Chemistry from Bangladesh’s university, and holds great respect for heros such as Netwon and Thomas Alva Edison. She enjoys teaching Trilok’s youngest as well as tutoring the older children in AHA’s (Awesome Home Assignments). At Trilok, Tahmina enjoys morning circle most of all, and reading Dr. Seuss, as she nurtures the children in their independence.
Theresa Dolan, Lead Teacher for the Kiwis
Theresa is spearheading Trilok’s new science lab, with deep expertise in environmental science and curriculum design! She has 7 years of teaching experience, and have worked as an Elementary Grades Teacher at a Science Expedition-Based charter school, as the K-5 Science Teacher at a Green-Living charter school, as an Ecology-based curriculum coordinator for Dr. Oz’s non-profit, Health Corps, and as a Program Developer for The National Association of Multicultural Education. She has presented as a speaker on the topic of “Early Childhood Science as Learned through the Arts: How to create experiential understanding of advanced content through inquiry, art, music & play” and was a presenter on “Curriculum Design – Empowering Urban Youth through Ecology, Arts & an Exploration-Based Pedagogy” for the Green Schools National Conference. She has a bachelors or arts in biological anthropology from University of Maryland. Her Masters in Urban Education through American University is in progress. She is a certified yoga teacher and holistic nutritionist.
She sees each student as a dynamic expression of a bright young mind, and she is committed to building a caring and respectful learning setting with the objective of elevating their self-knowledge, integrity, community and academic participation. Her educational philosophy maintains that passionate teaching means looking beyond the classroom snapshot, and instead, painting an individual portrait of every student, celebrating their unique experiences as participants both within and outside of the classroom. SheShe understands that children come with their own unique personalities, preferences and learning needs, and she is committed to creating an environment that is both reflective and supportive of the growing stars. She teaches to deepen their sense of wonder, their knowledge of self, and to prepare them for the exciting years ahead as enthusiastic and confident young adults. She believes that learning should be an exciting and participatory process, one that taps into the student’s innate curiosity about their place in the classroom, community and world. She believes that communication is key to a child’s success and to a great parent/teacher relationship. She hopes to develop the kind of rapport with parents, in which all may contribute to a thriving and responsive classroom environment. She understands that knowledge takes root when it is planted in hands-on, engaging and relevant experiences.
Ching Yee-Wu, Lead Teacher for the Green Apples
Ching Yee-Wu is a graduate of Brooklyn College, where she majored in Early Childhood Studies. She loves colors like lavender, white and mint green. She loves bike riding, relaxing, reading and listening to music. Born in China, she speaks Cantonese and has lovely memories of her elementary school teachers. In nature, she loves dandelions, daisies, roses and sunflowers, as well as dogs and cats. She holds a Bachelors of Arts from Brooklyn College, with a major in Early Childhood Studies. Before coming to Trilok, she worked with the Happy Dragon Daycare.
Zaide De Los Santos, Assistant teacher for Green Apples
Zaida De Los Santos loves the smell of flowers and trees and she loves colors like pink and light blue. Originally from the Dominican Republic, she loves to dance Latin styles like the Bachata and the Merengue, and to speak to the Trilok children in her native tongue. Her favorite artist is Romeo Santos. When she isn’t reading about books on how to grow as a person, she loves to read to children. She appreciates the children’s classics like Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Carolyn Vilardi, Lead Teacher for the Berries
Carolyn Vilardi loves learning as much as she loves teaching. She enjoys being in nature, traveling, and having meaningful conversations that uncover the uniqueness and beauty of different people. Her background is in Cultural Geography and International Relations. She has a Master’s Degree from New York University in Global Affairs and Sustainable Development, and she has spent several years working in sustainable food security. She always loved working with children, and before coming to Trilok, she taught children’s yoga at studios and in after-school programs. She also worked with the YMCA creating an after school curriculum that promoted learning about healthy lifestyle habits in an under-privileged community. She incorporates sustainability and mindfulness into her life and teaching because she believes that if we make choices that reflect our true values and respect life, people and the planet, we can make a significant positive impact on those around us.
Evelyn Canales, Assistant Teacher in the Tangerines
Evelyn Canales anchors in the school with her many years of growth here. Some things she treasures include: observing the moon in the sky, dancing and listening to Spanish music, roses, dogs, and the color blue. She is deeply inspired by two magnificent women: her own mother and Michelle Obama. At Boricua College, she earned an Associates Degree, and she brings to Trilok her deep calm spirit and her strong Honduran culture. At Trilok she has enduring relationships with every child, and teaches Spanish to all ages. Her favorite children’s books are written by authors Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle.