Meet Our Faculty
Welcome to Ira Institution for Learning, a centre for holistic teacher education based on the philosophy of Dr. Rudolf Steiner - a scientist and philosopher who worked extensively in the fields of education, medicine, special education, the arts, architecture, banking, agriculture and founded the spiritual science called Anthroposophy. Our comprehensive training programme brings Steiner’s Waldorf Education to you in India.
Dr. Lakshmi Prasanna
Founder of Anthroposophical Medical Society of India, Dr. Lakshmi Prasanna is a trained paediatrician. With Neonatology as her speciality. In 1997, she opened Little Hearts Children’s Hospital, a private neonatal intensive unit, in Hyderabad. During this period, she encountered Waldorf Education and the work of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. She developed an interest in helping children with Autism from a metabolic and sensory perspective based on Dr. Steiner’s indications and in 2004, Little Hearts Hospital extended to include Saandeepani, a curative centre for children with special needs. She was also one of the pioneer parents and Founder Member for the Abhaya Waldorf School in Hyderabad.
She has worked for many years as a school physician in India and Australia. Since 2007, Lakshmi travelled extensively as an education consultant and lecturer for child development and health promotion within school communities, particularly in Australia, New Zealand, USA and India. She is the Director and Education Consultant for Blue Sky Children’s Services, based in Australia.
A qualified Eurythmist from the Netherlands, Patricia wears many hats. She is an internationally practising Eurythmy Therapist, teacher trainer and teacher in the UK, New Zealand, USA, China and Australia.
In the UK, she worked in an Anthroposophical Medical Clinic for 18 years and has also been actively involved in many medically oriented training programmes and seminars. She moved to Australia in 2007. Patricia is unique in her deep understanding of Anthroposophy and in her extraordinary creative capacity. She is known for her spontaneous, dynamic energy with which she moves people into picture building faculties.
BA; BA(VA); Dip. Ed.; Dip. Steiner Ed.; Grad. Cert. in Professional Development (Steiner Perspectives).
Sophia Montefiore has been a Waldorf teacher for over 20 years. Her mother was a founding teacher of the Newcastle Waldorf School. Sophia is currently the Senior High School Coordinator and Year 11 & 12 Class Guardian at the Newcastle Waldorf School, Australia. She has taught a range of High School subjects including English, History, Mathematics, Projective Geometry, Art and Philosophy. In 2008 she visited a number of Steiner schools in England and Ireland and attended evening lectures at Emerson College and the Peredur Centre. She also spent time visiting ancient sacred sites. Exceptionally gifted in the field of visual arts, Sophia is an exhibiting artist, published illustrator (Rime of the Ancient Mariner with Wynstones Press) and an award winning theatre set and costume designer.
Katherine Gaffey Lehman
Katherine is a Waldorf Educator with extensive teaching experience in kindergarten through seventh grade. After 30 years of teaching in Waldorf schools and the Rudolf Steiner College, she in now working full time in teacher education and educational consulting. She has a Master’s Degree in Waldorf Education specialising in literacy development from Rudolf Steiner College and a Master’s in Arts in the Curriculum from California State University, Sacramento.
Katherine is dedicated to the effective implementation of Waldorf Education for all children and has mentored teachers and schools in the USA, India, Singapore, and Nepal for the last eleven years.
BA(FA); BA(FA Honors) - Ceramic Sculpture; MA (Teaching Visual Arts).
Gareth Graham attended the Newcastle Waldorf School, Australia, co-founded by his father, until completing high school in 1999. He works there currently as a high school art teacher, brass band ensemble teacher, PDHPE (Personal Development, Health and Physical Education) coordinator and a class guardian for a cohort through their high school years. He was awarded First Class Honours and Faculty medal in Fine Art in 2006. In 2006 he also won the Jennie Thomas Travelling Art Scholarship as an honours student in fine art, and has travelled extensively since. Gareth is also an exhibiting artist, working in timber and marble sculpture, having exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in Newcastle and Sydney since 2005.
Michael has specialist knowledge in the use of rhythm and movement for child development and health promotion. Rhythm research is a key background to Rudolf Steiner's indications on curriculum and informs the meditations for teachers and practical aspects of managing for healthy school communities. Michael grew up Greek dancing with his mum in the kitchen, trained as a physiotherapist and holds a masters degree in health management. He is the director of Blue Sky Therapies. Michael is using the TaKeTiNa rhythm process with Waldorf teachers worldwide as a way giving of teachers a direct and powerful bodily experience of the forces of rhythmic order and chaos. TaKeTiNa has been described as 'morning circle for adults'. The learning happens somatically, while moving in a joyful circle of music. This leads to a 'rhythmic competence' which the teacher then offers to classroom children as a gift.
Gregorio Noakes has been a class teacher since the 1980’s and has taken 4 cycles of students through the primary journey in Steiner Schools in Australia. He now is an Education Consultant giving education/philosophical workshops, supporting teachers, mentoring and appraising staff in many schools. He has been particularly interested and passionate about how we can attempt to carry the ‘spirit’ of mathematics to our children. Over the last ten years Gregorio has studied a wide range of contemporary research and brought it into the classroom of the 21st Century. During his last class cycle he transformed the way he had previously brought maths to the students in his care. In a number of ways this topic can be fundamentally the most important of all to bring in an enthusiastic and loving manner (in his unbiased opinion of course!).