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.


To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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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.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, 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.”


To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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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!

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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 or text/call at (641) 451-0913.


To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Meet Our New Teachers: Camille Morehead

new teacher alumni camille morehead

Camille Morehead with artwork that’s been here since she was a student!

The school would like to welcome our new art teacher Camille Morehead! Camille is a Maharishi School Alumni (she graduated in 2008) and was voted by her fellow classmates with the Art and Creativity award which recognizes her outstanding artistic abilities. She graduated with a BFA in graphic design from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She’s also currently a practicing artist in the Fairfield community. She has experience as a teaching assistant at Montessori school for Preschool and Kindergarten as well.

I asked Camille how she feels about returning to Maharishi School and she said,

 “Coming back to the school where I’m an alumni is certainly an interesting experience for me. Many things have changed in the school and it gives me an interesting perspective of being “on the other side” of the classroom experience.”


“I really appreciate how friendly and warm everybody is during these unprecedented times when teaching hybrid could be really stressful. However everyone is really onboard with everything and they’re taking it all head on which makes it more enjoyable for me.”

new teacher alumni camille morehead

Camille teaching art to the 1st and 2nd grades.

Camille has customized different materials for the hybrid learning conditions. For example students that are in person will be working with clay while students at home will be focusing more on conceptual ideas. Each grade will start with the foundations of art making; line, shape, form, space, texture and color. In the Middle School the focus will be on drawing, painting, color theory, mixed media and sculpture.

cal martin doing art project with mask

Cal Martin (1st grade) making art.

Camille will also be teaching a Digital Photography course of the project period in the Upper School.They will begin with everyone going out and taking photos, then coming together to do group critique. The content of these photos will then be created into a photo-book, which includes   an understanding and usage of Photoshop and other editing techniques.

Camille concludes, “I’m really excited to see how the kids grow and develop in the way they think about art. It’s fun for me to see the different stages of development expressed through their ability to work with the materials and mark making. I feel very fulfilled to be a teacher at Maharishi School!”


To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

Find out about our school events and student life, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

8 Businesses to Work at in Fairfield

fairfield iowa town squareInterested in relocating to Fairfield?

We understand that when it comes to your family, that safety and a good education are the most important things you will be looking for when you are ready to move. Sometimes city life just isn’t suiting the needs of your family anymore. That’s why we’ve put together some information here so you can picture your life in Fairfield, Iowa.

fairfield iowa local resturants

This blog can help you picture your new location, and give an idea of where important facilities

such as work, school, grocery stores and other important places are situated. You can also find a relocation packet on the chamber of commerce website.

Top 8 businesses you can apply to today!

  1. Cambridge Investment Group- Privately controlled financial solutions firm focused on serving independent financial advisors and their investing clients with a broad range of choices regarding financial Solutions. Click here to find out more!
  2. Food Chain ID Group– For more than two decades, FoodChain ID has been at the vanguard of the New Food industry, providing expertise worldwide to navigate the requirements of an increasingly regulated food economy and technical services to support the demand for clean label standards. Click here to find out more!
  3. TENCO-For more than 30 years, the Tenco Foundation, Inc. has focused on one purpose, to enrich the lives of people with disabilities. How do they accomplish such a lofty goal? In two primary ways—providing a sound financial base for Tenco Industries, Inc. and by investing directly in the people it serves. Click here to find out more!
  4. Premier Housing Management– An innovative, full-service real estate company that is focused on personal service and the business results you need and deserve. Click here to apply!
  5. Green Building Supply– Green Building Supply (GBS) is the Midwest’s oldest and largest eco-building supply retailer. Now in its 20th year, GBS has more than 30,000 satisfied customers who continue to be our best customers. They gained their reputation by sourcing the best products and providing excellent customer service. This resulted from extensive research and monthly hands-on training of their staff. Click here to find out how you can be part of the team!
  6. Creative Edge Mastershop- Operating from its headquarters in Fairfield, Iowa, Creative Edge is known as the pioneering firm that first harnessed the capabilities of high pressure waterjet technology to design, fabricate and deliver unique architectural projects. Click here to learn more!
  7. First National Bank- First National Bank in Fairfield is proud to offer personal banking, business banking agricultural banking and lending opportunities. Click here to see what employment opportunities there are!
  8. Shaus Vorhies Companies- General & Sub Contractor, Metal Building Erector, Industrial Contractor, Wood Timber Construction, Span Buildings and a lot more. Click here for more information about the company!

What people are saying about Fairfield

  • The Smithsonian: “One of the top ten small towns to visit.”
  • National Center for Small Communities: “Top entrepreneurial small city in America.”
  • Buzzfeed: ” One of the eleven coolest small cities.

fairfield iowa sunsetIf you need further convincing then check out our blog about the, “Top 10 Benefits of Living in a Small Town.”

To learn more about why Maharishi School would be good for your kids, click here.

Want to know how Maharishi School responded to the coronavirus, click here.

Top 10 Tips for Creating a Balanced Teenager, click here.

Banner Art created by the Artist Everett Day click here to see his work.


Middle School Science with Sheila: Hands-on Learning

What is the hands-on learning approach?

Hands-on learning is about creating an experience where the students feel empowered to try new things and work through failure. Maharishi School alumni Sheila Higgins explains, “when the students come up with something that’s Sheila alumni and middle school science teacher at maharishi school talks about hands on learningfrustrating them, they need to have a dialogue about why that happened, and what they could do to experience a different result. Especially with science it’s not a matter of right and wrong, it’s always a process of discovery.”

Sheila guides her students through the process of proving that something is “wrong” or doesn’t work, which she says is just as significant as proving that something is right. There are a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning in science, it has to be something that provides them with enough structure that they understand what the objectives are. While maintaining enough freedom to think creatively, and experiment with their own ideas.

What are the Middle School kids doing in Science?

Right now the students in Sheila’s Science class are working on a solar-powered model car. The students are familiarizing with concepts of renewable energy, solar technologies, basics of what a photomotaic cell is, and basics of circuitry. Having the hands-on experience of building something from scratch gives them ownership of the whole process of learning. Sheila says, “the students interact with success and failure in an important way and persevere through challenging concepts.”

Sheila found the kits on amazon that had basic components for the cars; tiny solar hands on learning middle school students build a solar powered carpanels, little engines and circuitry. The kids have to connect the positive to the negative leads and make sure everything is in place so that as soon as it gets enough sunlight, it takes off.

Sheila explains,”science is about maintaining that sense of curiosity, especially for middle school age kids. You have to get them excited about a subject. Then make them wonder how the world works and what their place is in it. As well as come up with new ideas.”

Click here to watch the solar car in action.

Click here to see Uma Wegman show the car up close.

What is the future of hands on learning in Sheila’s Science class?

hands on learning middle school students build a solar powered car

I asked Sheila how she plans on applying hands-on learning to her Science classes in the future.

Sheila wants her class to be as “hands-on and as student lead as possible. That means getting

the students comfortable working collaboratively with one another.” Sheila sets up groups

of students to coherently solve problems that use scientific principles. If you were to spy on Sheila’s classroom you would see kids building, experimenting, and putting learning in the context of reality rather than textbooks.


To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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