Middle School Empty Bowls Project

Empty Bowls

The core purpose of the Empty Bowl project, was for the students to raise money for local food banks as well as food for the bowls international community, while working on project management skills. While our 8th graders worked on various layers of the project to ensure its financial success—it was more than tallying up checks, counting dollars, and change—the event strengthened our community, celebrated the preparation of a variety of delicious soups in beautiful pottery made by the students, and raised community awareness about hunger and poverty, both locally and internationally.

The students set an ambitious financial goal of raising $5000 for the Empty Bowl Project but missed the goal by only $687.19! The students were able to inspire donations and ticket sales to raise $4312.81. This is the most significant amount raised since the Maharishi School began hosting this event.

After the expenses ($154.54) were subtracted, the total being donated to Golden Magnolia Sanctuary Fairfield and World Central Kitchen for Ukraine is $4158.27—51.5% and 48.5% respectively.


Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to create and set goals for a planned project.
  • Project Planning and Management Interpersonal skills.
  • Communication skills:  sending emails, add input to newspaper articles, outreach to potential guests.
  • Learn how to make ceramic bowls.
  • Experience one of their 16 Principles in real time: “Thought Leads to Action, Action Leads to Achievement, Achievement Leads to Fulfillment.”


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Message From Co-Head of School

School News from Dr. Richard Beall

news about maharishi school fairfield iowaDear Maharishi School Community,

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

With our hearts full of love for and from our students after this special day, I’m pleased to share some good news about Maharishi

School developments. Henry Ogden Clark Auditorium, our assembly hall, has two new additions to nourish our bodies and souls.

Fairfield resident Charlie Viola donated a beautiful grand piano, recently delivered all the way from Arizona. If ever there was a gift that will keep on giving, it is this asset to our music program. Here’s look at the instrument under the talented hands of music teacher Doug Daller. Just Imagine the possibilities (click to enjoy).

Second, many were excited by the unveiling of a new vending machine in the dining hall, a response long requested by students and staff alike. It’s stocked with healthy snacks and drinks, including some items for those who are not vegetarians. It’s available for middle and upper school students and our staff members. We’ll monitor its use in the next few weeks to ensure that it’s not disruptive to the school environment or to our students’ lunch nutrition, and to see which items are most popular.

Third, our Upper School Choral Reading group earned the honor of performing at this Saturday’s All-State event with the Iowa High School Speech Association. Only 5% of the students who enter the IHSSA’s Large Group competition get to perform at All-State, so we’re thrilled for these first-time participants.

Lastly, within a week, new Promethean boards will be installed in all of our classrooms! These touch-screen projection systems allow teachers and students to create and manipulate images and make learning even more interactive and engaging. We’ll soon share video of our teachers’ use of this new technology. They were obtained from federal Emergency Assistance for Nonpublic Schools (EANS) funds. 

I hope you all enjoy the warming weather and the upcoming Presidents Day three-day weekend. 

Best wishes for your health and happiness, 



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Service and Restorative Justice

Letter from the Middle & Upper School Director, Kaye Jacob maharishi school teacher restorative justice

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’”

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Greetings on this week that we commemorate the exemplary life of dedicated public service of Dr. Martin Luther King. I am pleased that one of our core values is Service, in conjunction with Respect, Responsibility, Solutions and, of course, Transcendence.

I had the privilege of chaperoning the Upper School winter formal Saturday night—and I was reminded once again about how amazing our students are: inclusive, friendly, fun-loving and so well-behaved! I do believe that nearly all of the upper school students attended, which is huge validation for their student council representatives who put hours into organizing and decorating for this event.  It is delightful to see how these students shine when they step into fancy gear!

Camaraderie and good will were equally apparent last week during our Founder’s Day festivities. Following an assembly celebrating the life of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, students were organized by “vertical pairs,” with an older student assigned to a younger one, for some creative collaboration—bridge building (literal and figurative) followed by a paper airplane contest.  Once again, the finest of our core values were on display, authentically and thoroughly, in this event.

This is a time (so the news tells us hourly) of unprecedented stress and anxiety for young people, who mirror what is projected by the adult community.   Sometimes anxiety is directed inward, in the form of depression—and sometimes it is literally “acted out” in the form of conflict with parents, teachers and classmates.

It is absolutely imperative that we remember the ultimate goal of all interventions to address or correct misbehavior or misdirected anxiety.

Always and forever, our efforts are intended to help children and adolescents learn and grow. We are committed to the process of Restorative Justice https://www.mindfulschools.org/inspiration/restorative-justice-in-schools-sel-in-action/, a practice that recognizes harm “as a fracturing of relationships, rather than something that demands punishment. A restorative justice process is a way to uncover true needs and heal relationships via meaningful accountability” (David Yusem, Mindful Schools, May 31, 2019).

When new teachers join our staff, we try to be sure they get a copy of Brand Weinstein’s book Hacking School Discipline, which provides practical examples of restorative practices in action. This is what he most recently posted on his Facebook wall:

“Discipline isn’t about making the kid feel bad…it is about helping build empathy and responsibility in the student so that they grow from it. Yes, I said GROW from it.”

Ironically, it is equally likely that good behavior can also come from a place of anxiety and depression, as students struggle to cope by ensuring that they never displease anyone, particularly the adults they love and respect the most.  It is good to keep in mind that these “GOOD BEHAVIORS” can also be signs of anxiety and depression:


restorative justice


Because we inadvertently reward “perfection” and achievement in this culture rather than genuine effort, we need to help students develop a “growth mindset,” as Carol Dweck has defined it, applied not only to academic achievement but to behavior and social-emotional learning:

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” ( Dweck, 2015).

This is especially relevant as we are approaching the end of the first semester—which means report cards and, for seniors especially, transcripts will be issued soon. Assignments are due for the first semester by tomorrow (Tuesday, January 18) since the new semester begins on Thursday this week. Teachers have been busy contacting students with reminders and updates—and of course special provisions are being made for students who missed school last week due to illness or quarantine.

Balance is warranted for all of us, as we recognize the strains under which students have been working this semester as well as the privileges of being able to attend school in person, with their real teachers (for the most part) throughout most of these past two years.  This is a great time to thank our amazing teachers for all they do on a daily basis to make sure that school is a safe haven, academically, socially and emotionally. 

Kaye Jacob

Academic Director / Head of Middle and Upper Schools


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Meet Our New Teachers: Avani Bhakta

Interviewing Avani

After my graduation from the University of South Dakota, I started out my career working with adolescents as a counselor, helping them to rebuildavani teaching math self-confidence, develop character traits, and learn basic life skills through various activities. I also volunteered at an NGO in India that runs before and after-school programs in the slums. I went on to become an entrepreneur (the last 10 years of my career before teaching). I most recently served as a VP of Financial Management and Business Growth for an emerging company that I also co-owned.

Teaching Middle School Math

The pandemic provided an opportunity for me to explore new horizons and to fulfill a purpose. Teaching Mathematics to middle schoolers seemed like a perfect fit for me as I enjoy working with both numbers and kids. I am grateful to be at Maharishi School during this challenging time.

Recently, we finished a project on Entrepreneurship with 7th and 8th graders, where students brainstormed business ideas that solved common problems. Later, students developed these ideas into business plans and presented them in “shark tank” style pitches and presentations.

Here are some business ideas that students developed during this project:

  • “Text Touch” a smart whiteboard that is a tailored learning platform, designed to also monitor learning in real-time.
  • “Earth Beauty” a skincare/makeup brand that is eco-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free.
  • “Smellaz” a non-profit company that aims to create jobs by creating eco-friendly, custom-made stuffed animals for kids, especially with sensitive skins.
  • “Sheen and Clean” a shoe cleaning machine to keep the floors clean in schools, offices, and homes.
  • “Cloud” an innovative accessory to help move large furniture single-handedly.
  • “Workivate” and “Remind Me” are apps that would be developed to help motivate and remind them to do the required tasks.

middle school teacherCurrently, I am working with the 6th graders on a kite-making project, where we plan to explore different kitemiddle school teacher designs, materials, and also kite-flying festivals/cultures around the world. At the end of it, we plan on having a kite show with our hand-made kites.

middle school teacher

My teaching experience so far has been a huge learning experience. I am learning and evolving as a teacher each day. Maharishi School is fun and resourceful, for both the teachers and the students. Finding the right balance between fun and learning is the key for me. Teaching requires one to be flexible and adaptable, and even more now with the current challenges. It is a new era, with the pandemic and the hybrid model. I like to be challenged and so there couldn’t have been a better year for me to start teaching. Overall, I am relishing my time here at Maharishi School, while also sharpening the saw.


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Maharishi School Teachers Then and Now

Blast from the past

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we thought it might be fun to highlight our teachers who have been with us since the beginning. Here are some of our current teachers, then and now!

To me, teachers are the heart of a school. Just as the heart takes in blood, oxygenates it and sends it out to sustain and build our bodies, teachers take in students, inform and inspire them, and send them out to sustain and build our society.
Their attention, energy, commitment, and intelligence is at the core of education, and they deserve our deepest appreciation this week–and always.
-Cohead of School Dr. Richard Beall

Dr. Richard Beall

       cohead richard beall


Lynn Shirai

      maharishi school teacher lynn

Anne Balf

   maharishi school teacher anne

Charlotte Zmachinsky

      teacher charlotte

Katherine Walmsley

     elementary teacher katherine

Jason Walls

teacher and alumni jason

Camille Morehead & Sheila Higgins

maharishi school alumni

science teacher                   art teacher camille

Lawrence Eyre

      maharishi school teacher lawrence

Laurie Eyre

      maharishi school teacher laurie

Diane James

diane james teacher


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What’s Working At Maharishi School Like?


Hearing from the teachers who work with the students, and from the staff who make it all possible, is a unique window into the life of Maharishi School. Their words will resonate in your heart as they express their genuine thoughts for the work they do.

Being a Maharishi School teacher has allowed me to combine my love of children, my love of teaching and my commitment to Maharishi’s Vedic Science into one very fulfilling profession. Throughout my many years of teaching here, I could not imagine doing anything else.
Teaching in this uniquely supportive and nourishing environment has made it possible for me to grow both as a teacher and as a person in the quickest and happiest way possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Maharishi School!
—Charlotte Zmachinsky, Lower School Teacher
One of the reasons I most like working at Maharishi School is due to the amount of respect I have for my bosses. I fully appreciate how dedicated they are to the students and faculty, and how much compassion and care they give every day on the job and during their personal time. One of the best things about being a smaller school is how much individual attention each student receives, and on a daily basis, I see my colleagues invested in the success of every single one of their students. As a parent, I feel the school is a safe, and loving environment for my daughter to flourish, learn, and grow.
—Emmy Auge, Registrar & Administrative Assistant
I love working with my students because they each have such an enlivened consciousness. I am finding the teacher learns much more than the students. It also allows me to experience how Consciousness-Based Education is practically applied to this age group.
It is the school with the most experience of Consciousness-Based Education in the world.  I really appreciate the diverse cultures and ethnicities.  Also, I enjoy the flexibility, innovation, and resourcefulness of the staff.
—Josephine Ruffin, Middle School Consciousness, Connections, and Life Skills (CCLS) Teacher
My time at Maharishi School has become my favorite teaching experience. I especially enjoy the freedom to design my curriculum in creative ways and integrate Social and Emotional Learning into every lesson.
Add to this my daily happy experiences with colleagues who offer constant support and inspiration, and I feel that I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing– for my own growth and the growth of others.
—David Pohlman, Upper School CCLS Teacher, Head of Residence Life
I like that my individuality is appreciated here at Maharishi School. I not only get to just be, but also get to work on my being. The same is true for my children and my students.
—Avani Bhakti, Middle School Math Teacher
I love the diversity of the school. There are students from all over the world. I am so grateful that Lily gets to experience people from different cultures. I believe this will be a great asset when she goes off to college or in the workplace.
—Trish Fenton, Purchaser
I enjoy working at Maharishi School because the school encourages holistic living and learning. Moreover, the students here seem to be naturally thoughtful, empathetic, and driven, and the staff and faculty are a tight-knit, caring community. It’s as if everyone is more in tune with the root of everyone and everything else.
—Jason Walls, College Counselor and
Upper School Language Arts Teacher
We love teaching and coaching here–sharing deep silence and dynamic learning with our students every day is an educator’s dream.
—Mr. Lawrence Eyre, Upper School
Social Studies Teacher
—Mrs. Laurie Eyre, Head of Math Department
I have the unique position of being a parent to a kindergartner at Maharishi School and working as the Upper School art teacher. Being a part of the faculty dialogue has allowed me to see firsthand the care and consideration for the students and the Maharishi School community. I find great reassurance in knowing that her teachers are supported in their work, as I have been.
The opportunity for our daughter to attend Maharishi School was one of the main factors in our decision to relocate from Boston two years ago. We took a leap toward a new life that we hoped would provide more time and space for friends, family, and art making. It was important that each member of our family could thrive here, and seeing our daughter make friends and grow into herself has been incredible. Maharishi School is right at the center of our family’s shared experience and confirms that our big leap was worth it.
—Susan Metrican, Upper School Art Teacher
My son Eliot has been attending Maharishi School since 1st grade.
I love the smaller classes, the cultural diversity (more than 30 countries represented), and the focus on self development that goes side by side with the academics.
The school has given my son the tools to mature into a self introspecting, kind, open minded young man. I am grateful for the strong foundation it has given him for the future.
—Valerie Gamble, Preschool Teacher

Interviewing Science Teacher Asha Sharma

asha sharma

Asha demonstrating a lab to her students.

Learning about Asha

Growing up in a rural town in Rajasthan, India, I was a typical small-town girl. I cared for my family’s cattle and did many household chores, including making dung cakes for fuel. But I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to become more than a housewife. I wanted to learn about and explore the world of science. Even though girls were not encouraged to pursue education, I worked diligently to become the first girl in my large extended family of over 165 people to pursue a career in STEM and to attend a co-ed college. I graduated first division in my undergrad degree and was the only student selected from my state for the prestigious honor of working at AIIMS with one of India’s three electron microscopes.

Teaching science

asha teaching

Asha teaching.

When I worked at the Children’s House at Maharishi School, I loved watching the preschoolers explore the world around them with awe in their faces. They reminded me of my younger self and I felt elated to be able to feed their curiosity. As time went on, my role at Maharishi School changed, and now I’m teaching those same toddlers much more advanced topics in their high school science classes!

This year, I plan to focus on hands-on projects and labs rather than working through a textbook, because I know from my personal experience that exciting, tactile learning helps students retain the knowledge they’re learning for longer. They also enjoy seeing what they learned be put into action, allowing for a better understanding of the material.

maharishi school students wearing mask

Asha’s Science students working.

My long-term goals for teaching are to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic with new skills and to give my students a memorable experience which will bring them joy, not sadness. Like everyone else, the biggest challenge I am currently facing is managing technology and tri-brid teaching (in-person, online, and remote). Because I teach 4 different classes and 3 different subjects where I keep switching between different classes and labs, I need multiple sets of technology (computers, webcams, microphones, etc.) for each period. I knew this would be a hassle both practically and monetarily, so I worked with our wonderful custodian to create a portable cart that transports all the necessary equipment between my classes. It’s like science on wheels!

Covid-19’s impact on her classroom

asha sharma science

Asha and her science cart, it says “Science is everywhere for everyone.”

As a teacher, when I think of school, I think of the joy of seeing students’ bright faces as they walk into my classroom, of watching the kids as they plan something mischievous (and maybe even joining in), and their excited faces as they work in the lab. When the Coronavirus hit, my lesson plans were thrown out the window and I was forced to find something fun and engaging that would prompt my students to hit the unmute button. Online, there were a limited number of projects and labs we could do, and I struggled to find the right balance between work and leniency in my lessons to fit everyone’s different workloads at home. So, it was a relief when we started hybrid learning, but in-person learning came with another set of problems.

Now, I had to figure out how to keep both students in person and online engaged all while dealing with new technology. I tackled the first challenge by joining many online webinars and finding many free online resources, like virtual labs. The second problem was a bit harder to fix due to the fact that I had four different rooms that had to be visually accessible to students, but with a little inspiration I came up with the solution of my science cart. Now, this cart is like my super handy tool and making my life way more easy and manageable.

To watch Asha in action, click here.

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Meet Our New Teachers: Michael Fitzgerald

Meet our new teacher

micehal fitzgerald computer teacherMichael Fitzgerald came to Fairfield in 2012 to attend MIU for his Bachelors in math with a computer science track and finished in 2016. Over the next several years he worked for a digital marketing company and went back to school to get a masters degree in software development. Michael saw that Maharishi School was looking for someone in tech support, however as soon as his skills became evident to the administration, we realized he was overly competent for the job. He was asked to teach a computer course, which he has now introduced to the middle school students as Technological and Digital Literacy 101.


What is Technological and Digital Literacy?

This is not your traditional computer science course. Technological and Digital Literacy focuses less on why computers do what they do but how to computer lab at schooluse and manipulate what’s in them for efficacy in learning. TDL is a class that teaches students how to interact in the tech world and use what’s already available in order to become fluent in technology. This is so important as we go further into schooling entirely online. Michael explains, “this course will prepare you for life. I look at this course as a woodworking, or home economics class, because once you learn that skill you will have it for the rest of your life. The more tech literate you become, the more you will understand new technologies with ease.”


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Meet Our New Teachers: Amie Saine

Meet Alumni Amie Saine!

new teacher alumni amie saine

Amie leading a  yoga to class.

Amie was born in Gambia and moved to the United States when she was 14 years old to attend Maharishi School. After Amie graduated, becoming an alumni in 2015, she enrolled at Maharishi International Univeristy. There she completed her schooling in 2019 with a degree in business. Amie says,  “After graduating, I had a modeling contract with BMG model and talent agency in New York City. I moved to NYC for almost a year, but then I ended up getting very sick in January 2020. I decided to move back to Fairfield in February in order to focus on my health and live with my parents. Here, I am now teaching kids and having a lot of fun.”

Amie was also a teachers assistant for the fitness and health class at MIU where shea learned how important it is to have fun while doing physical activity. She explains “having fun motivates students that don’t feel comfortable to feel comfortable. In my P.E class I try to make sure my students are happy and excited while doing an activity because having total wellness is the main purpose of my classes.”

alumni teaching yoga

Teaching our students to do tree pose. 

Teaching with covid

While teaching during covid can be difficult, I imagine teaching a physical education class would pose many obstacles to overcome. Amie says, “To be honest, it is very challenging sometimes because most students forget that we are in the middle of a pandemic. Sometimes, when they are having a lot of fun, the students just want to touch and connect with their friends, but we can’t do that in these difficult times. We play sports that involve touching, so sometimes we have to get really creative with activities just to make it more 2020 friendly without physical contact.” Teaching the kids at Maharishi School brings Amie so much joy and we are so lucky to have an alumni like her to focus on the health and well being of our students!

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Meet Our New Teachers: Madeline Starling

Meet Mrs. Starling! 

meet madeline our new teacherThe school would like to welcome our new 3rd grade teacher Madeline Starling! Madeline has been a member of the Fairfield and MIU community since August 2012 when she enrolled at the university to complete her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. By the time she’s graduated and completed her Initial Teaching License in 2015, she’d become a wife and a mother.

She believes in the whole-child approach to learning and her teaching style is reflective of the many experiences she has had: classical musical training, gymnastics, deep love for language and thought, poetry, theater, working with the land,
body and spirit. She considers the role of the teacher to be an anchor, to tie together and unite the students, facilitating an experience where every moment is an opportunity to breathe in the madeline new teacherfuture vision of humanity.

“As a first year teacher, I feel blessed to have a
class as amazing as this. Walking in, I was
immediately welcomed by all. I know many of you
already and I look forward to knowing all of you

 As I begin, I hope to inspire each student from within
to do their very best, take responsibility and care
with their environment and each other, and to
find their true voice and learn to use it.”

You might find Madeline jogging on the trails with her twins, riding a bike with her eldest daughter, dancing in a studio, singing with the Chamber Singers, making a mural with her husband, Chad, or just enjoying some coffee in the park. If serendipity’s not working for you and you need to get in touch, you can email her at mstarling@maharishischool.org or text/call at (641) 451-0913.


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