Monday, October 21, 2013

Meet your SILC teachers and board (2013-14)

Abhi Nayar:

Abhi a junior at Edina High School. He joined SILC four years ago as a student of Malayalm, and co-taught cricket. He has since then become the main teacher for cricket from the past two years. Abhi is also a substitute for Malayalam level 1 once in a while.

He loves playing and watching cricket and hopes to pass on his passion for this amazing sport to the kids at SILC. 

·       Aditi Jariwala - Dance Teacher (6-7 years)

Aditi Jariwala is currently a senior at Woodbury High School. She has been learning Bharatanatyam under Neelam Malhotra (SILC’s Dance Teacher) for almost 12 years and performed her Arangetram during the summer of 2012. A few years ago Aditi and a group of friends choreographed a dance together and performed it at a Gujarati Samaj event. Music is a big part of her life and she has been learning the piano for about 10 years. Aside from music and dance, she loves volunteering through the school and the community.

She is looking forward to co-teaching the littlest kids’ dance class with her friend Divya PIllai and is excited to see what the year brings them.

 Anand Iyer – Chess Teacher 

Anand grew up in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and has lived in Nagpur, Chennai, Alabama, South Carolina and MN. Actively involved in sports for most of his life, he now relives his life through the eyes of his two boys, Nikhil and Rohan.
He came to the US in 1997 for his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he met his lovely wife Tila. He works for a major Medical Device Company in the Twin Cities in the Clinicals arena. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, reading, and Taekwondo with his older son

Anil Kumar: Tabla Teacher -

Anil has been teaching tabla at SILC for 7 years now. He has breathed life into the tabla program and now SILC has approximately 20 adults and kids studying tabla at multiple levels. Anil is doctor by profession. His wife Kartika teaches Hindi at SILC. Anil and Karitka's two sons Jyotirmya and Anjaneya are students at SILC.

Aparna Bhave: Marathi Teacher

This is Aparna's first year teaching Marathi at SILC.  

Ari S Anand : Hindi Adults Teacher

Originally from Mumbai, Ari Singh Anand has also lived in Chandigarh, Delhi and Shimla, as well as the midwestern, northwestern, and southwestern United States. While he was once a fluent child-speaker of Panjabi, and his Panjabi-Gujarati ancestry along with his Maharashtrian birth have left him incompetent at several languages simultaneously.

 After a childhood of reluctant school attendance, he came to the USA to attend college about 20 years ago, and, in an unimaginable irony, has never left the world of education since.

He completed a PhD in anthropology from the University of Arizona, and currently teaches courses in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. This is Ari’s second year volunteering at SILC, where his wife Rachel and their daughter Gita are also now attending classes.

Deepa Namboodiripad: Dance (Level 2) :

Deepa was born in Kerala and brought up mostly in Delhi. She completed high school and college in India. She completed training in Secretarial Practice from YWCA. She worked in a private company for 5 years before getting married and moving to USA in 2006.

She is married to Krishnan Nambudiripad and has a son, Godhun and a daughter, Soorya. She enjoys cooking, dancing, singing among other things. She is currently a homemaker. She is considering taking up a course to better her job prospects. She has been associated with SILC for almost 5 years now. She started attending SILC regularly from 2007 and has taught Hindi and Malayalam.

Devi Prasanna Patnayak: Hindi 1 Teacher

Devi is originally from state of Odisha in India. He moved to the United States in year 2000. He completed his Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine (virology) in 2005 and is currently working as Assistant Clinical Professor at University of Minnesota.

He lives in Shoreview with his wife, Kasturee and two daughters Shriparna and Sejal. He loves to be involved in social activities and that is what prompted him to volunteer to teach at SILC. This is his second year of teaching and third year at SILC with his elder daughter attending classes. He loves to spend time with his family and friends.


Although Dinesh belongs to Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, a southern state in India, he was born and bought up in Delhi - the capital of India. A Post graduate in Business with working experience in multiple industries, migrated to USA after working over 11 years in India. Presently working with a Health & Insurance Co. in Plymouth, MN.

Dinesh lives with his wife - Jeyanthi and two sons – Vasisht & Jaiesh in Shoreview, MN. Dinesh is an outdoor person who prefers pictures over words.  Being a foodie, he enjoys spending time with his family and socializing with friends. 

Though Dinesh is new to the teaching community, but not new to SILC. His association with SILC family runs over 3 years. The motivation to join SILC as teacher is his love for kids and getting involved with them as their age group. A promoter of self-discipline along with bringing fun to learning is his motto to join SILC.

·       Divya Pillai – Dance Teacher (6-7 years)

Divya is currently a senior at East Ridge High School. She has been learning Bharatanatyam under Neelam Malhotra for 10 years, and completed her Arangetram last summer.

Along with Bharatanatyam, Divya enjoys choreographing bollywood dance. Outside from dance, Divya enjoys playing the piano and plays on her school's Varsity tennis team.

Divya co-teaches the littlest kids’ dance class along with Aditi Jariwala. 

Erin OberdorFer: Former President, SILC Board

Erin has MLS in Library Science from the University of Maryland College Park and MM in Music History and Criticism from Peabody Conservatory of Music.

She currently works as Research Director at GovDocs, Inc.  She has 3 daughters, the middle one whom is adopted from Hyderabad. She has been involved with SILC for about 8 years and helps out with the younger children's dance. She has served as Principal  and President of SILC and has been an active volunteer  thereafter.

Jean Dominguez – Art & Craft Teacher (AWAITED)
·       Joyce Slaughter – Art & Craft Teacher

Although Joyce is not of Indian origin she has harbored an interest in Indian culture for many years. Her ways to stay connected with the Indian culture have been many. As a young girl of about 12 years old Joyce added an Indian bride and groom to her doll collection while on a visit to the United Nations.  She also had the pleasure of attending a sitar concert by maestro Ravi Shankar at an exhibit on Chicago’s Navy Pier.   She complemented it all by reading what books she could find about India.  These were limited as she lived in a rural community. 
As an adult Joyce made many Indian friends, learned how to cook Indian food, and has visited India twice. She feels that SILC is a perfect place for her to learn more about what she considers as her adopted homeland. With the help of her daughter and gifted students she teaches the SILC art class.
J   Julia Thompson – Cooking Coordinator (AWAITED) 
·        Jyotirmoy Kumar – Tabla Teacher



Kartika Kumar Bhardwaj - Hindi Level 4 teacher

Born and raised in the North Indian town of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Kartika moved to MN about 12 years ago. She lives here with her husband Anil (SILC Tabla teacher) and two sons, who are full time SILC students for the past many years.

Kartika is a Physician and is well versed in Hindi, Punjabi and Marwari. She enjoys traveling and sight- seeing with her family.

Krishnan Nambudiripad: Tabla Teacher

Krishnan Nambudiripad has been involved with SILC as a student, teacher and board member for about 15 years. He grew up in Burnsville, MN and completed the Masters in Elementary Education program at the University of Minnesota.

Currently he works as a mortgage consultant for Wells Fargo. As a student at SILC in the 80's he participated in dance, tabla, yoga, and language and social studies classes. Currently at SILC he enjoys teaching Tabla . At home he loves biking, playing guitar, and spending time with his family. He has served as Principal and President of SILC and has been an active volunteer

Lakshmi Buddhavarapu: Pre-School Teacher, Secretary, SILC Board

Lakshmi Buddhavarapu is an Information Technology professional currently working for Medtronic. She taught and is teaching Preschool/Kindergarten at SILC and is the secretary on the SILC Board. She has a Master's in Biochemistry and Engineering, both from the University of Minnesota.

She lives in Vadnais Heights with her husband Jagadish and their son Teja (9). She enjoys biking, traveling and spending time with family & friends.

Mangala Achar: SILC Board (Treasurer)

Mangala is from a small village, Kadatoka in North Kanara district in coastal Karnataka. She completed her Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Karntaka REC, Surathkal. She worked in Electrical industry for 3 years in India before coming to USA. In USA she worked in software field for 10+ years. At present she is a seasonal part Tax professional at H&R Block, and a home maker.

She is married to Krishnananda Achar and has two sons, Manu (15 years) & Vishnu (11 years). She enjoys doing tax returns, Having light conversations with friends& family, reading, cooking, beading, sewing, walking, biking & learning new things.

She has been involved with SILC from 2002 and has been teaching Kannada from 2004 till 2010-11 school year. She has also been principal and currently the SILC treasurer and SILC Board member. She was also an active Board member of IAM(Indian Association of Minnesota) helped with cultural coordination for IAM’s IndiaFest for last 3 years..

Manju Nayar - Director Outreach & Coordination, SILC Board

Manju has been a SILC parent since 2009. Born and brought up in Trivandrum, Manju currently resides in Edina with her husband Rajeev and two boys Abhishek  and Adarsh, both of whom are SILC students.  Manju is a physician by profession and  enjoys reading,  dabbing in some poetry and story writing, theater, listening to music, playing the veena in any spare time if at all !  Manju substitutes as Malayalam teacher at SILC and is currently serving on the SILC Board. Manju thinks SILC has been a tremendously positive influence on her children and is a passionate advocate for SILC in the community. 

Nataraj Raman – SILC Board (Volunteer coordinator) 

Natarajan Raman is a Radiation Oncologist at Hennepin County Medical Center Minneapolis MN. He has three children who are enrolled in SILC and he is actively involved in the Local community with several socially important causes. He is actively involved in volunteering at SILC and is keen to recruit more volunteers. He also serves on the board of SILC.

Neelam Malhotra:  Dance Teacher and Director Cultural Activities and SILC Board  

After completing her M.Phil in Economics from Gokhle Institute in Pune, India, Neelam worked as a Lecturer of Economics in Pune (of-course that was in the ancient times). During her School and college years, she also pursued training in Bharatnatyum from age 11 to 24.

Neelam is now a stay-at-home Mom and Home-maker (not that her home reflects that fact!). And in her free time (all of 2 minutes a day), she teaches Bharatnatyum. Neelam and her family, husband Raj, daughter Meera and son Sesh, have been involved with SILC since 2001 and thoroughly enjoy it. She currently teaches Dance classes at SILC and is also SILC Board member.

·       Nirav Vora – Gujarati Teacher 

Nirav calls himself an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) with a twist, since he was born in Gujarat, India and thus defines himself as an IBCD. He came to the US (St Louis, MO) when he was 18 months old.

He came to the frozen tundra of Minnesota at age 18 to the U of M and pursued his ‘Bachelors’ in Finance & Economics. During this period he met his future wife and left Minnesota a ‘non-bachelor’. During his initial stay in MN, he also volunteered time for SILC. Fast forward 11 years later, Nirav moved back to MN, with his wife and 2 beautiful kids. He has been a SILC parent since 2012 and now teaches Gujarati. Kem Cho!

Punjabhai Patel: Yoga Teacher -

Punjabhai Patel is teaching Yoga at SILC for the past 30 years (since 1984-85 school year). He came to United States of America as an undergraduate student in 1965 and did his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. He is grandfather of four beautiful children and is enjoying his retirement.

·       Rachel Christiansen – Literature Teacher

This is Rachel's first year as a volunteer, and she is co-teaching the Literature elective.  Rachel grew up (mainly) in the Twin Cities and received her B.A. from the University of Arizona where she majored in Literature and Composition.  She later received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law.  She works for a Minneapolis law firm and lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Rachel is a student in the SILC Hindi Adults class which is taught by her husband, Ari Anand.  Their daughter, Gita (2nd grade), is attending SILC for the second year.  Rachel enjoys reading, cooking and taking long road trips.

Raj Menon: SILC Board

Raj is an Information Technology professional, currently working at Boston Scientific. He is a graduate of Delhi University. He lives in Burnsville with his wife Lata and two children Aishwarya and Aradhana. Raj loves to play Table Tennis, though he cannot find partners, when he finds the time!

His association with SILC spans over many years and he served SILC donning different roles as Principal, President, Social Studies teacher.

Rajeev Nayar – Social Studies 2 Teacher and Cricket Teacher

 Rajeev Nayar has been a SILC parent for last 5 years and used to be the Assistant teacher for Cricket till last year, working with his older son Abhishek Nayar. Currently he teaches level 2 Social Studies and is also the main teacher for Cricket. He is an IT Consultant by profession, working with Infosys Technologies. Born and brought up in Hyderabad, Rajeev received his Bachelors in Electronics and Communication from OSU, Hyderabad and then took Masters in Electrical Engineering as well as Computer Engineering from LSU. He resides in Edina with his wife Manju Nayar and two boys, Abhishek & Aadarsh. Rajeev likes to read in his spare time and tries to fulfill his passion for teaching through volunteering at SILC. 

Rajesh Gupta: SILC Board (Director - Registrations)

Rajesh Gupta is an IT professional currently working for Siemens PLM. This is his second year at SILC and 1st year on the SILC Board - looking after the registrations. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife Namrata and 2 beautiful kids, daughter Ishita (8) and son Aditya (2). He enjoys watching and participating in sports, traveling, outdoor activities and spending time with family & friends. His daughter's participation in SILC has definitely motivated him in volunteering and giving back to the community.

·       Sailaja Nambury – Malayalam 2

Born and raised in a remote village Mundela in the state of Kerala, Sailaja is a Physics graduate with additional diplomas in Journalism & Public Relations and Computer Science. 20 years in banking industry.

She works for Wells Fargo Bank as a Relationship Manager in Private Banking. 

Shiv Bhatia: Hindi-1 Teacher, President. SILC Board

A former military officer, Shiv served in the Indian Army for many years on a variety of assignments, most of them in counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism roles. After hanging his uniform, he has been learning the art of Corporate “Warfare”, in the Healthcare Services industry. Currently, he works for iHealth Technologies, Inc, as VP of Business Operations.

A die-hard outdoors person, he will do anything not to stay indoors. An avid griller who also enjoys cooking on the stove top, Shiv lives in Woodbury with his wife, Varsha and two lovely daughters, Suparna and Sahana.

Siva Jasthi: Telugu Teacher, SAP Teacher, Web Master, Director-Instructional Design,  SILC Board

With Ph.D from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, Dr. Jasthi has about 23 years of experience in research, software development and teaching in India and United States. He currently works at Siemens PLM Software as Program Manager. He also teaches at Information and Computer Sciences department, Metropolitan State University as community faculty.

He also volunteers for "Chetana Foundation" – a charity organization supporting an orphan school in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India.  He also started  "vunnava dot com" ( to facilitate networking of the community from his village to give back to village. He lives with his wife, Bhas and two children (Tapan – 17, Deepta –11), enjoys spending time with his family, blogging, teaching, telugu music, movies, travel, ethnic foods, and volunteering. Jasthi has served SILC as Principal, President, Director of Communications in the past and he is currently serving as Director of Instructional Design focusing on designing and developing the tools, means, games to teach Indic languages at SILC. This is Jasthi's seventh year teaching Telugu at SILC.

Sonja Agarwal: Arts Teacher and Social Studies-3 Teacher

Sonja grew up in Northfield, MN. She attended Luther College in Decorah, IA and received a major in Social Work. Sonja worked at Microsoft for 3 years in Seattle. Sonja decided to be a stay at home mom after the birth of their first child.

This is Sonja's third year volunteering with SILC. She has 2 sons in the program: Rohan (6th grade) and Nikhil (4th grade). Her husband is Mukesh Agarwal and they live in Lakeville

·       Sonja Kroell – Literature (AWAITED)

Subodh Kulkarni and Aparna Bhave: Marathi Teachers

Natives of Mumbai, India, Subodh and Aparna have been residents of Minnesota since 1992. Subodh is self-employed and Aparna works with the R&D organization in Boston Scientific. Subodh and Aparna have two daughters, Aditi (who is a SILC volunteer as well)  and Neeti. Subodh enjoys cricket, racquetball and all other sports. Aparna enjoys painting and quilting. When time and weather permit, both enjoy gardening.

Sunita Mannamkunnath: Principal, SILC Board, Hindi Teacher

Sunita has been a SILC Volunteer for over 10 years and has represented SIIC in various events in the Twin Cities. With a full time job in a Healthcare organization and family to keep her busy during the week, Saturdays are a day of volunteering to give back to the community. Her daughters are enrolled in SILC and look forward to SILC Saturdays! She enjoys gardening, reading and traveling

Surya Iyer: Asst. Principal, SILC Board Member, SS Level 3 Teacher

Surya Iyer was born in Erode (TN) and grew up in Kanpur (UP), where he got his engineering degree as well, and moved to the US for grad school in St Louis and the bay area. Surya is an operations manager at a semiconductor manufacturing factory in Bloomington and teaches part-time as an adjunct engineering professor at UST.

Outside of work Surya volunteers as a commissioner in the Edina Transportation Commission, and loves to run and work out at the Y. He lives in Edina with his wife Leslie and two SILC student daughters, Zoe and Macy. Surya co-teaches Social Studies 3.

Varsha Bhatia: Hindi Level 3 Teacher

Originally from Maharashtra, India, Varsha has been in the US for over 15 years. She has an undergrad in Mathematics, graduate degrees in Computer Science from UMass and  Teaching from U of M. She has been a Kumon instructor in CO and has now donned the cap of Math educator. She lives in Woodbury with her husband Shiv and two beautiful daughters, Suparna and Sahana.

Varsha likes to be involved in the community, and loves spending time with her family. In her spare time, she likes listening to music, solving Sudoku and crossword puzzles. 2012 is her third year of volunteering at SILC.

Vidya Suresh: SS Level 1 teacher

This is Vidya’s second year with SILC as a teacher. She grew up in India, Fiji Is., Australia, later moved to Canada and then USA.

Vidya taught Literature last year and moved on to teach Social Studies level 1 this year. She feels that it is a joy teaching and learning along with the little ones. 

Vishnu Namboodiripad: Malayalam 1 Teacher

Vishnu is 16 years youngest teacher at SILC. He is in 10th grade. He knows how to speak Malayalam and was brought to SILC to learn how to read and write it. He is with SILC for 10 years, and started teaching 4 years ago as a Teachers Assistant for the previous Malayalam teacher. Starting 2008-09 year, he started teaching Malayalam on his own.

He is also a Student at SILC. He is currently in Literature Class and in electives. His hobbies include video games (no wonder – kids connect with him), computer, reading, writing, tennis, and biking.