A school principal’s job hangs in balance between rewarding and challenging. It is a difficult job and like most other jobs, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There are certain characteristics that define an effective principal which only a few people possess. These characteristics manifest themselves in the daily duties of a principal. These characteristics include – but are not limited to – leadership, austerity, adept at building relationships with people, balancing tough love with earned praise, fair and consistent, organised, and prepared, conscientious, excellent listener, and many other qualities. Fortunately, our next pick for ‘The 10 Most Effective Principals to Watch in 2021’ is a delightful mix of all these aforementioned features and more – Dr. Reshma Ganesh.
Dr Reshma Ganesh is the Founder Principal and Campus Director of Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir (SSRVM), Bangalore East, and has been with this institution right from its inception in 2001. Previously, she was part of the core committee when the SSRVM Trust was established in the year 1999. She was a part of the team hunting for places and locations to set up a school under the trust. Dr. Reshma Ganesh has played a witness as well as an instrumental role in the growth of this institution right from the initial stage of acquiring the required documents, permissions, legal procedures, etc. as well as communicating and convincing parents about the methodology being implemented in the school as per the guidance of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar.
Dr. Reshma Ganesh has also ensured that education be imparted in the right direction keeping at par with the government norms and without any deviation. “I have completely involved myself in assuring that the school is progressing and growing in the right direction,” she added.
Inspirations for this Inspiring Personality
Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. For Dr. Reshma Ganesh, the best source of inspiration was none other than her own father who was a doctor by profession.
He was keen that she learned to grow individually as well as contributed to the society all along. He ensured that his children choose a profession where they can not only fulfil their goals but at the same time have a broader vision where they give back to the society.
Once Dr. Reshma Ganesh moved to Bangalore after her marriage, she got associated with ‘The Art of Living’ foundation. With the blessings of Guruji (Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar), she further blossomed her vision. Guruji gave her ample opportunities to implement all that she could dream of, and that became instrumental in her growth. Dr. Reshma Ganesh further appraised about Guruji saying: “As a leader, he gave me full freedom to execute my ideas. I could not have aspired for a better leader or a role model like him. He inspired me to deal with people irrespective of their backgrounds without being prejudiced and biased. I learnt to interact with people, be it a gardener or security or a teacher, with the same respect in school.”
The Illustrious School
Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir (Bangalore East) is an initiative by The Art of Living Foundation. It is a renowned educational institution with the mission to Broaden the vision, Deepen the roots.
Today’s education system is focussed entirely on child’s academic scores/performance on report card rather than their overall development, which in return has provided a generation with a lack of knowledge and values. Keeping this scenario in mind, Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar (Guruji) initiated a channelized educational platform- SSRVM to bridge the gap between modern education and the traditional, cultural values. A proper learning experience is to discover, create, solve, and apply through experiential learning as this describes the application of learned concepts into real-life keeping our values in mind.
For SSRVM, the spine of this institution is its methodology which is designed keeping the five aspects which are as follows:
- Concepts as solid as the earth.
- Information like the air everywhere.
- Attitude like water, which is formless and takes the shape of the container.
- Imagination like the spark of fire that ignites.
- Freedom is like an all-pervading space.
This methodology helps to strengthen the body, mind, emotions and create a sense of belonging with the world. The lessons and activities are planned in a way such that children can co-relate the concepts easily with their daily life. To meet each child’s basic requirement of learning, staff members are trained to be compassionate and child-friendly which is essential in an education system where basic human values are being taught.
Education is the Key
Education is the first step towards empowerment and the most crucial factor in overall development of the individuals, as well as a nation’s. As per Sri Sri Ravishankar Guruji, education is not simply imparting information, but it is also a tool to develop one’s virtues and skills. I completely absorbed this principle and ensured that children are not restricted to only seeking knowledge but also are made emotionally strong to face any challenges thrown at them. To make this possible, children are taught to practice breathing techniques and meditation so that they remain calm and composed while encountering any untoward situation.
They are made aware that life is not a smooth journey and every hump can be overcome with a poised composure. To empower them, to accept situations as they are instead of simply cribbing and blaming one’s fate regular counselling and mentoring sessions were arranged by the school during this unforeseen pandemic. Children were made to understand that problems are not to be considered as the end of the road but as a hump that can be crossed. At the end of every long tunnel, there is a ray of light awaiting them. Every cloud has a silver lining!
Word to the Wise
When one thinks of shaping their career in the field of education, most consider teacher as the obvious choice however there are lot many roles in the field of education which require different skills, said Dr. Reshma Ganesh. Let us try to elucidate on the different roles that we come across in the education field.
Someone interested to make his/her career as a teacher, then the foremost skill that they should possess is that he/she should be an ardent learner. Need not be a bookworm, but only a person who is ready to gain knowledge at every opportunity is surely going to become a successful teacher. Moreover, a teacher needs to have flexibility, compassion, be approachable, organised, etc. In addition to these they should also possess conflict resolution skills specifically for secondary and higher secondary teachers.
Since technology and social media have taken a prominent place, it’s very important that a teacher should be well versed with the latest developments. He/she should always keep himself upgraded with the changing trends.
Other roles which are available in the education sector are related to leadership and education administration – for example admission officer, HR administrator, admin and training manager, content writer, academic heads/institutional heads, etc.
For positions like admissions officer, HR manager, a person needs to have formal degree along with organisational and excellent communication skills. For content writing jobs, an individual needs to have strong expertise in their own subjects along with content writing tools. Every teacher who has the passion to pursue the leadership skills get the chance of becoming an eminent leader.
Contributions of Dr Reshma Ganesh to the student and teacher community and as a whole to the society are countless:
- Honoured with appreciation letter from Smriti Irani- HRD
- Awarded with Vishalakshi Award for 2007, for rendering valiant service to society in the field of value-based education.
- Awarded with ‘100 highly effective principal 2016’ by Alert Knowledge Services
- Awarded with a certificate of Excellence for Inspiring Best Educationist Award 2017 by Global Leaders Foundation
- Awarded with ‘Woman of Excellence Award’ 2017 by Indian Achievers Forum
- Awarded with ‘Best District Principal Award’ by SOF.
- Awarded and Recognized as a ‘Progressive Principal of India’ by Rethink India.
- The SSRVM school received ‘Parent of Innovation Award 2017’ for the category of value education and received it from the Governor of Karnataka his excellency Sri Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala
- Awarded with ‘Leadership in Action’ award by Spelling Bee International – 2017-18.
- Awarded with honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) by the Senate of The University of South America and by Dr S Radhakrishnan Research and development Centre.
- Awarded with ‘Visionary School Leader of India 2018’ by Rethink India.
- Awarded with ‘Iconic School Leader’ award by Alert Knowledge Service
- Awarded with ‘Excellence in School Education CBSE’ – for the contribution and achievement as the principal of institution” by Venus International Foundation (2019)
- Awarded with ‘Accomplished Educationist of the Year’