Brief Governor’s Bio

Brief Governor’s Bios


Kartik Khandwala  (Chair of Board of Governors)

Has held Senior Management positions for over 15 years. He currently works at a Management Consulting firm. He has special interest in education and has held various trust level and governing body positions at Avanti House (all-through school) and Krishna Avanti Primary School. The Avanti House school was given an overall GOOD OFSTED rating when he was the Chair of Governors at Avanti House.

Kapila Monet (Vice Chair of Governors) was raised in the gurukul in Vancouver, Canada where his mother was a teacher (who also taught English in Africa). His stepfather was the head teacher and founded a charity to support Vedic education. Kapila has a BA in Political Science and helped create the KuliMela and assisted Sita Rama das in setting up the Ahimsa milk project on the data side of things. He is currently the Managing Director for a social network/finance company which comprises of 4000 investors. He has been in the finance industry for many years and wishes to bring his insight and skills to the group. His daughter currently attends the school.

Kana Butkovic (Chair of Finance and Premises Sub-Committee) used to live at the Manor where he held several management positions over the years. He has vast experience with fundraising for educational institutions, and education is his passion. Currently he works in the City as an IT Director in a global financial services firm. He also has children in the Manor School and is keen to contribute to the progression of the school.

Rupesh Hirani (Chair of Curriculum and Standards Sub-Committee) has been involved in Primary Education for 11 years. He holds a PGCE in Primary Education and a BSc in Mathematics with Computing. He was recently an Assistant Headteacher at a four-form entry primary school in Brent and has spent 9 years as a primary school classroom practitioner in Key Stage 1. Phonics is a passion of his and he is a certified Reading Recovery Teacher. As well as serving as a governor, working on the strategic aspects of the school, Rupesh hopes to be able to share his experience and expertise on an operational level, supporting staff in teaching and learning.

Vijay Persaud (Vice Chair Curriculum and Standards Sub-Committee) began teaching in 1979 and has been supporting the school as an academic advisor in various capacities. She has been in education for over 35 years and teaches a range of subjects from maths to art. She has been a governor for 25 years in a state school and also supports Krishna Avanti. She is currently supporting the formulation and delivery of an OFSTED action plan and teaches part time in OFSTED outstanding schools.

Gaurangi Somerville (Parent Governor). Her daughter attends the school and her husband has also been raised within ISKCON. She joined the movement when she was very young and is one of the original Indradyumna Swami festival members which inspires many young people in a Krishna Consciousness filled way. She works within ISKCON educational services and has a post graduate diploma in counselling. She enjoys working with children and is also a translator for social services. She also attends various meetings with school boards for special education needs.

Sejal Patel (Parent Governor) is currently working for UCL as a Systems Administrator. He has worked for over 15 years in numerous IT roles across various sectors. He has a BSc Honours degree in Business Information Systems. He would like to see the school prosper and has a son in the school currently, who loves attending and being part of the school.

Dravit Koorichh (Co-Opted Governor) has worked as a teacher for four years for the Avanti Schools Trust. He wishes to apply his skills to Srila Prabhupada’s schools and is extremely excited to be part of this body. He is currently a year two group leader and science lead for Avanti Court Primary School (4 form entry). In this role, his school has been able to put science on the map as a core subject. He is happy to manage the data aspects and support curriculum development for the Manor School.

Diptesh Patel (Co-Opted Governor) has been on the board for four years and served in various capacities. He has been involved in an array of working groups and sub committees. He has two children (eight and five respectively) who both attend the school. His aspiration is to see the school progress to the next stage in these challenging yet exciting times. Professional he holds Masters Degree in Computing and works as a Service Delivery Executive for a multinational company Cisco.

Dipali Bhatt (Co-Opted Governor) is a physicist from Mumbai who obtained her PhD from Sheffield before moving to Scotland, working in the semiconductor industry in Livingston. She then proceeded to Glasgow University to study nanotechnology and has worked at the Institute of Physics. She is currently on sabbatical as she has travelled extensively for the last 13 years, especially in Africa (training teachers). She has two children who attended the Swaminarayan School and has now taken out time to teach her children more. She helps the year sixes at the school once a week. In addition to this, she has been serving on this committee for four years.

Wendy Harrison (Primary School Headteacher) has held various positions at Bhaktivedanta Manor including training and education, outreach, sales and marketing.  She has been working in education for the past 25 years – teaching and managing and has been Headteacher of the school for the past 15 years.   She holds a BA (Hons) in Primary School Education Leadership and Management, a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies and EYPS (Early Years Professional Status).  Padma has seen the school through many transformations and improvements to be the school that it is today.   She wishes for the school to be a showcase of the values and ethos associated with our faith which are also linked to British Values.  She strives to preserve the unique character of the school aiming for the children to have a joyful spiritual experience, achieve academically, enabling them to make a contribution to society as they mature.   Padma wishes to see the school reach an outstanding level, not just from an OFSTED perspective but holistically.

Jagaddhatri Thomas (Pre School Headteacher) has been the Head teacher at The Manor Pre School for 29 years. Prior to that she served at Bhaktivedanta Manor Gurukula for 8 years at Chaitanya College and Bhaktivedanta Manor. She is a Level 2 Foster Carer for Hertfordshire Social Services and have been for 15+ years. She has attended Early Years Foundation Training, Behavior Management and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Management. She attends regular ongoing training to ensure she is able to offer children the best opportunities she can to develop to their full potential. She firmly believes that Education is not just about learning facts, but more so about learning how to think. She quotes “It is learning how to make good choices”.

Marri Soto (Assistant Head Teacher)  has been working for more than 30 years in the school and has been an active part of its development. In her earlier career she was employed by Wolverhampton council to develop children’s play facilities. This included not only summer play schemes but the establishment of  Adventure Playgrounds which, at that time, was a progressive concept in child play. This led to her involvement in National Committees set up to advance play facilities throughout the U.K. Within this school her focal interest has been to not only increase educational standards but to support the children in their development of Vaishnava qualities. This she has done through drama and creative arts alongside the study of the philosophy. She has experience of pastoral care having completed 216 hours of counselling training. She holds a B.A. hons in education.

Shanker Punn (Clerk to the Governors) wishes to give back to the Manor in a practical sense, having spent some time living in the temple and mostly focusing on outreach preaching thereafter. He is a project manager at the BBC and hopes to contribute to the administrative side of these meetings through capturing key points of discussion and actions.