Whatever Happened To…
In their own words, former Brockwood students from around the world give written accounts of what the school meant to them and where their lives have taken them since leaving.
If you are an alumna/alumnus, please help us compile the largest snapshot of Brockwood alumni to date. For this purpose, we have created an online questionnaire through which we hope to gather as much information as you feel comfortable sharing. Please follow this link to complete the questionnaire.
OCCUPATION: Junior Programme Officer at the Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Demining
Ana Carlota R. C. de Moura
2009—2012 | Residing in GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
While at Brockwood, I learnt to unapologetically embrace a true passion for life and an accountability for our existence on this planet and to others around us. To me, being at Brockwood meant the freedom to explore my doubts and existential questions about life without fear and with understanding that these should/are the simplest questions of life. Leaving was easy, but remaining in that space of questioning and wondering about life, as well as learning responsibility, has not always been easy as we are quickly consumed by being someone and something.
Since I left Brockwood, I studied anthropology and was especially captivated by the potential to study something as broad as humanity itself. After that, I went on to work for two NGOs in Peru, in education and social economy initiatives. I then came back to Europe to study international development, and am now working in a humanitarian organization.
1984-1989 · Student, 1995-1989 · Staff | Residing in OJAI, CALIFORNIA, USA
I came to Brockwood for the first time in 1984 as a prospective student. This was the beginning of a journey beyond my imagination, the birthplace of some of my closest, lifelong friendships and the special bond to a person who was going to grow into a central pillar in my life: Maxi Kogoi. What followed were two cycles of student life at Brockwood, with an interlude at “Le Centre National Professionel de Danse” in France. These were the years during which in my head and heart I was trying to figure out how I could combine and create a life around what I was interested in: Dance (learnt, practiced and taught in a non-competitive way), the study of the human body, and health.
I was among those BP students who “migrated” to American colleges in the late 80s. My three years at Bennington College felt in many ways as the natural progression to my Brockwood education and a blessed opportunity to explore a unique blend of the artistic process and academics. Both Brockwood and Bennington were able to meet my non-traditional upbringing and allow me to trust what I was interested in pursuing. My personal journey with dance, choreography and improvisation was redefined in a formative way during my undergraduate years, as was interdisciplinary somatic studies.
Experiencing Brockwood as a staff member was so radically different and at times quite challenging. Those years of teaching and contributing to the community have left cherished memories and some unique experiences of teaching, co-teaching and collaborating which I still find myself missing at times.
Eventually life circumstances brought me back to Bennington College where I was invited to complete my MFA while continuing my teaching path. Graduate school was unparalleled in intensity, depth and commitment. In both of these unpredicted returns – to Brockwood first, and to Bennington second – I found the same physical places, some of the same key people, yet I was a different person. I learnt and contributed in different ways, not just because of the age and maturity, but because I was primarily in a position of giving rather than receiving. I had been moving at a regular pace of 2 to 4 years cycles for 15 years, when I moved to South Florida in 2001.
There has been such a degree of flexibility, adaptation and creativity needed to maneuver this less-than-linear life path thus far. Even though there were many returns, it never felt as a step backwards but always as the continuation of the journey, punctuated with new beginnings. This was true also when Maxi and I met again and decided to share this journey once more. I feel truly blessed with a partner who has shown through many life lessons that he stands by me, embracing all that I am and aspire to be. So I recreated my life in the “nest” of the Ojai Valley in Southern California. This allowed me to be close to my beloved sister Anne (Anne Loustaunou Greenberg, herself a student at Brockwood 1985-1989) and her family and to share the precious childhood years of her two daughters with her. Family once more became central, as my mother was able to come visit us for an extended period of time every year. We had many adventures, took to the road, explored, played, laughed a great deal all together…
I now find myself rebuilding once more: finding my way back to working and dancing, redefining the relationships with my nieces and brother-in-law, and most importantly, (re-)discovering who I am in this next cycle of life that is necessarily based on a very different foundation.
OCCUPATION: Pilates and Movement Instructor/Bodyworker
OCCUPATION: Head of a Day Hospital for Pain Medicine
1970—1972 | Residing in BERLIN, GERMANY
I left Brockwood Park in 1972 at the age of 16 having been there for two years. Looking back now at the age of 62 and asking myself what influenced me the most, I can honestly say that the biggest impact on me was made by my fellow students – mostly good, only occasionally not so good, but at least these were experiences in a safe environment. Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I now realize the importance of some of our staff members, and I was of course influenced by the whole atmosphere-or, why not say the spirit of Brockwood Park.
That spirit was based on Krishnamurti’s talks and presence and on the effort of all of us trying to put it into practice. I remember a number of controversial Sunday morning school meetings (and student meetings with a cry of “everything must change”) about such issues as long hair – remember the Sixties! – drugs, sex, general behavior i.e. bedtime, the level of noise after 10.30 p.m. and what is actually meant by being serious about living together in Brockwood Park. Only later did I realize how this spirit of enquiring, discussing and finding things out shaped me and how luxurious in comparison to the “outside world” such an environment is.
I have always felt that Brockwood has set the course of my interests in Psychology and the humanities. Also my approach to life remained one of questioning and finding out rather than accepting given authority. My attitude persisted to be cooperative rather than self-centered, ready to work in a team rather than on my own and I value deep and meaningful relationships. Brockwood also facilitated an already existing passion for music, literature and nature. These interests have never left me since, although at times professional and family life takes up all my energy. We are discussing the same questions as in the early seventies. I must admit that some of them have not been answered (especially the big ones, like death, meaning of life?) but I hope I have come to accept that.
Leaving Brockwood was sad. I went back to live with my family in Berlin going to State School- initially a rather shocking and bewildering experience. The atmosphere there, although not all bad, was very different from Brockwood with its morning and school meetings and the discussions with K.. I then studied, receiving an M.A. in Clinical Psychology. I am also a trained Psychotherapist (Client Centered & Cognitive Behavioral) licensed to Practice in Germany, Switzerland and the UK. I have special training in Pain Psychology and Biofeedback Therapy and I give lectures, supervise colleagues and train students. Most of all I accompany patients through the process of clarifying their problems and changing beliefs, thinking patterns and behaviour, often confronted with problems that we already discussed back then, and trying to initiate that spirit mentioned above.
My wife and I moved to Manchester in 1995 and I worked at the Manchester & Salford Pain Centre for several years. In 2004 we moved to Lucerne and in 2017 to Berlin. I hope Brockwood will always find the energy to keep going and be aware of the special and valuable opportunities it has. Something one doesn’t always realize in everyday school life.
Anna Prasad (Gueldenhaupt)
1996-2000 | Residing in SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Having grown up in the Black Forest in Germany until my mid-teens, my nomadic life started when at age 15 I moved to England to attend Brockwood Park. Four years at Brockwood shaped me immensely. It meant that my formative years were spent with people that taught me so much, in a place that will forever be in my heart as one of my true homes.
Finishing school and wanting to study costume design in Italy, I relocated there and took up an au-pair role looking after two wonderful children. I soon realised that the disorganised bureaucracy in Italy was too chaotic for me. So, I returned to England where I completed a degree in Journalism and English Literature, which then led me to Public Relations. I loved my role within an agency managing clients in the technology and medical fields. Yet, after the birth of my first son, I knew that I wanted to be home with him as long as I was able to. Which led me to retrain as a childminder/early years’ educator, looking after a group of children at my house.
In 2016 I relocated with my Australian husband and our boys (Luke – 7 and Max – 3) from England to Australia. What an adventure my life has been up to now! A year before our move to Australia we welcomed Max. I have loved being home with him ever since, knitting and crafting along the way. Earlier this year I was able to start spreading my professional wings and now work with an au-pair agency that sends professional au-pairs to Australia to help families with children with special needs.
OCCUPATION: Area Director, PROaupair
OCCUPATION: Pianist and composer; Chamber Music and Piano tutor, Royal College of Music, London; Doctoral Research Fellow, Orpheus Institut, Ghent; Artist-In-Residence, Trinity Laban Conservatoire
1988—1992 | Residing in LONDON, ENGLAND
Brockwood Park has been a continually important place for me. My student days there were richly formative, and the open ethos of the school allowed me to develop in a way that would have been difficult elsewhere. The spirit of the place also attracts such a vast variety of people from all over the world, who share a value of learning and self-discovery, who have become some of my most cherished and deep rooted friends and community.
Since I left Brockwood, I pursued the path of being a musician and went onto a specialist music school and subsequently to the Guildhall School in London. I now am very fortunate to be active as a musician, performing in various places mostly in Europe, but also regularly in the US and Asia. Alongside my work as a pianist and composer, I also teach at the Royal College of Music in London, and am a doctoral research fellow at the Orpheus Institute in Belgium, working on composing new music for historical keyboard instruments.
1971-1978 | Residing in SLOVENIA
It is fascinating that over 40 years have passed since I left Brockwood after staying there a marvellous 7 years in the ‘70s, but friends have stayed just as they were 40 years ago, as playful and devoted as they were in their youth. Time has only made a few minor physical improvements, such as brown hair to ‘blonde’, but otherwise there seems to be a timelessness to our friendships that chronological time just doesn’t seem to affect.
Whenever I return to what I consider my second home, which Brockwood will always be, memories of those wonderful 7 years return and also the amazement that I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to live there. Of course, the contrast with what a ‘regular’ school is like always strikes me. The way I see it, Brockwood is all about excellence: the excellence of its exceptional surroundings amid the rolling Hampshire hills, and the excellence of the people it has always attracted. There is also a peace to the place, and having known places not like this, I feel this peace creates space, which is a prerequisite for learning. One part of this is academic as in any school, and what a joy this was compared to the authoritarian atmosphere of a regular school, which is very successful in killing the desire to learn. It certainly did for me: to the amazement of my parents, I managed to have a marvellous collection of the lowest possible grades by sixth grade. Brockwood, in contrast, made it fun to learn again, as it is the natural state of the young to be curious, to want to learn.
Aside from academic learning, what really makes Brockwood a unique and very special place are Krishnamurti’s teachings. I was very fortunate to have been there when it was K’s home. I don’t think I was old enough as a teenager at the time to get the most of what he tried to convey, but hearing him talk about the meaning of life and whether it is at all possible to live without fear, sorrow, endless conflict and psychological time was fascinating. It was only later that I realized what he meant when he said, ‘Go into it now, you will be too caught up in life later’.
Now, many years later, after learning much about the ways of the real world, the immense disorder and violence everywhere, the World governed by the industrial, military and banking cartels and so seeing democracy swindled away from all of us, I see Brockwood as a crucial place where maybe a change in the conditioning of the human mind might come about. It is not an easy feat it seems, as the conditioning is so old, deep and all-pervading. It is clear that no outer revolution ever did change anything except the players in the game. I know this first-hand from having lived in a communist country.
I do feel very happy that Brockwood is in such good hands; the staff members and trustees seem to be doing a marvellous job. I also feel privileged that I can help to keep K’s vision alive by helping out with regular small gifts. As there are many of us alumni who feel responsible for the future of Brockwood, I am sure we will all make sure that our oasis of true education survives and flourishes. We owe this to K, to our children and to mankind.
OCCUPATION: Physician practicing homeopathy
OCCUPATION:Performer, choreographer, director, teacher; I am currently studying a Masters in Choreography which I will complete in Autumn 2019
1999—2000 | Residing in LONDON, ENGLAND
My time at Brockwood was brief, but again and again I am struck by how significant it was for me to have that experience, to place myself outside of the normative system and in a place of enquiry. Those perspectives are ones that I have always cultivated, and Brockwood, aged fifteen, must have contributed enormously to that intentional way of being.
From Brockwood I went on to sixth form college, studying art, performing arts, English literature and sociology. From there directly to circus school. I then began working as a performer and continued my performance training with the Lecoq pedagogy of theatre making at LISPA (London International School of Performing Arts). I continued making and performing circus and theatre, whilst also teaching both, complimenting my teaching and training by also becoming a Pilates teacher.
Still hungry for more refined movement technique and embodied knowledge, seeing the relationship between the art and study of movement and all creative arts, and dealing with years of injury and chronic back pain, I then studied the four and half year Feldenkrais practitioner training program. Feldenkrais, like Brockwood, has shown me how to think in alternative ways: gently using the process of inquiry to illuminate different perspectives and reveal infinite possibilities. These modes of inquiry facilitate us becoming aware of ourselves, habits, movement, patterns of behaviour, and enable us to reflect on them in a gentle, playful and curious way, so as to enable change and growth.
1972-1977 | Residing in KAMPEN/SYLT, GERMANY
I left Brockwood Park School in 1977, moved back to Germany and completed a three-year degree as a cabinet maker. In 1980, I moved to Munich to work at Ketterer’s auction house. As I had grown up surrounded by art, this was a natural step and it brought me closer to my parents. Consequently, I felt the need to cultivate a business background and studied business management in Hamburg. After four years in Hamburg, I had two options, of either becoming a financial controller for a construction plant (AEG) in South Africa or taking a leap of faith and moving to New York to explore the art world. Thankfully, I did move to New York, and joined the Reece Gallery as their manager. After a few years at Reece, I opened my own gallery, Falkenstern Fine Art, on Broadway in Soho.
In 1990, I moved to Madeira where I built a gallery-cum-home on a cliff edge 55 metres above the Atlantic Ocean. I got married in 1986; our daughter Katharina was born in Berlin in 1991 and our son Alexander was born in Hamburg in 1993. In 1994 my wife and I decided to separate, and I changed my home into a hotel, though the gallery continued. Currently I mange Gallery Falkenstern Fine Art and Gallery AKAS on Sylt in Germany. I collaborate with different galleries, dealers and museums internationally.
Travelling and working post BP, meeting people from different walks of life, overcoming problems, finding happiness, experiencing sorrow, moving on in life, I understand more and more the importance K’s teachings had and still have on my life. I had only recognized this partially while I was at Brockwood. Growing up has taught me to value the profound beauty and value of K’s teachings. It has made life so much more meaningful. I am grateful to have made lifelong friends at BP.
Since 2006, I live with the dancer and choreographer Aditi Mangaldas (who I met in 1976 at BP) in Germany and India. I am very grateful for all the inspiration and motivation that I have received from my friends and family. I end with a quote by Karl Foerster, a landscape gardener and a good friend of my father’s, “people who want to make dreams come true, have to dream deeper and be more alert than others”.
OCCUPATION: Art Dealer and Gallery Owner
1991-1992 · Student, 1996-1999 · Mature Student | Residing in PRINCIPALITY of ANDORRA
I felt very comfortable at Brockwood Park School. It was nice to be around friendly people, and also in a place that let curiosity be expressed to its full potential. It made me see that there are many possibilities in life, and anything is possible. It was difficult to go back into the society I did not feel very comfortable in before Brockwood Park School. I was a teacher of foreign languagues during the first 5 years and since then I have worked, for the last 15 years, in the education and training tourism sector. For the last years, I am in touch again with Brockwood Park School, and feel that this coming Reunion is an opportunity to be and feel in touch with this worldwide community.
1986-1991 | Residing in AUSTRIA
For more than a decade I have been working in international business for different industries. My open approach to business partners from around the world is firmly rooted in my BP experiences. From the tender age of 14, BP honed my communication skills in interacting with all of you from diverse cultural backgrounds. I truly believe that BP has shaped my personal “barrier-free” and unprejudiced approach to people regardless of where they come from.
Two key abilities, which I developed during my time at BP and again I truly believe that I could not have developed them anywhere else, are the ability to “listen” and to “question.” On a daily basis both in my professional career, when dealing with diverse clients, while leading a team or discussing business strategy as well as in my personal married life, they form the cornerstone of how I approach life. BP also opened the door for a continued “love” to be with and in nature. School trips to the Grand Canyon, hiking the Lake District, ski touring Switzerland, camping trips to the New Forest, “abseiling” the Cliffs of Dover and kayaking the English Channel are among the few activities, which we were privileged to experience.
So, whatever happened to me? I enjoy nature and take a stab at life equipped with the confidence of a “listening” and “questioning” attitude, which only Teachers at BP could have instilled in me. Thank You!
OCCUPATION: Public Affairs Consultant
2016—2018 | WORLD TRAVELER
I’m taking a gap year to travel, produce music and shoot short films. And generally gather life experience before deciding which degree course to apply to. I’m from a middle class all British background and I have worked in various jobs and while I travel I will also work, all to pay for my living or I could not go. My plan is to pay for my own degree out of a business I start in the next few years, so let’s see how that goes!
Manuel Mendez Huerta
2002—2004 | Residing in LONDON, ENGLAND
OCCUPATION: Investment Banker
OCCUPATION: Air-Conditioning Contractor
1983—1988 | Residing in JAKARTA, INDONESIA
Clara Bach (Czimmek)
2009-2011 | Residing in BAVARIA, GERMANY
After Brockwood I traveled and volunteered in a variety of projects and countries. I studied drama, dance and outdoor education. Then I came back to Brockwood as a Teacher Apprentice. It became clear that Brockwood opened doors for me as a student but was too small for me now. Therefore I left Brockwood again and started to work as a freelancer in outdoor education as well as growing vegetables on a large scale in a CSA project.
In August 2018, after two years of renovation and building, me and my husband started a school on a bio-dynamic farm in the north of Germany with 16 children, their parents and a very diverse team. We were trying to develop a totally new kind of a school that attempts to empower children to take on responsibility for their own lives, to discover honest and truthful relationships and spend as much time as possible outdoors to love and learn from nature and one another.
Whilst adapting as a new family, after our daughter was born, the school team decided to become a Steiner school and therefore changed the original approach and goals. My questions in education go elsewhere. Therefore we decided to leave the project.
We are now living in Bavaria, working at an alternative kindergarden, chewing on our questions. We are looking for a new project or place in which we can make use of our experiences, expertise and questions to bring about something healing and nourishing working in education with nature, art and looking at relationships.
OCCUPATION: School Founder and Teacher, Drama-Dance-Outdoor Education, Mother
OCCUPATION: Costume Supervisor
2009—2013 | Residing in LONDON, ENGLAND
I was at Brockwood for 4 years, from the ages of 14 to 18. I can’t think of anywhere better for a teenager to learn about themselves; Brockwood gave me a safe place to make mistakes, learn about what I love, and make some of the most intensely wonderful friendships. Leaving Brockwood was very emotional and I found it incredibly difficult to suddenly be away from the intense whirlwind that Brockwood is.
Looking back, I remember feeling everything so intensely, I often think being there was like being in a Hollywood golden age movie—it’s own dreamlike world that is impossible to recreate when you leave. Due to the fact I had decided to take a gap year as I was unsure what I wanted to pursue at university, I ended up feeling rather lost and, especially as most of my friends were living in other countries and we began to drift apart.
After a month of bumbling around feeling rather sorry for myself, I went to work in a theatre designer’s studio as a Model Maker (these are the miniature versions of set designs that are used to present the concept to the production team) and I stumbled into my dream world. I spent the rest of that year working on various productions and meeting people across the industry, and I decided to go to RADA to study Prop Making. It was in my first few months there that I realised I actually enjoyed Costume, and transferred onto the Costume Construction and Supervision course. Since graduating from the Academy I have worked on a wide variety of productions, in places such as Shakespeare’s Globe and The Old Vic Theatre.
2007-2010 | Residing in DONAUESCHINGEN, GERMANY
I was given responsibility and trust to learn how to manage my life within this amazing bubble not only on a theoretical base.
How did I manage when I left? In fact, I did quite poorly. I fell in a hole realizing life isn’t like this anywhere else. All my friends moved away, and I was told ‘to spread my wings and take off, leave the nest’. So, my feet led me to University where I studied mathematics and philosophy, being all in my head and not my heart. Life is full of challenges, but I really felt I wasn’t prepared for a number of things: How do you pay taxes? What is important about a contract? How do you get along with people who do not have that same mentality and sense for questioning?
Eventually I started my own business (a yoga school) when I was 21 years old. About two and a half years back I reconnected with another alumnus, Malena Halmer, and we fell in love. Next year my little sister is going to Brockwood, she is the 6th of the Schirmaier family to attend. Like this, my entire family is keeping the spirit around in my everyday life. Whenever I meet someone from BP I find this special, common base.
OCCUPATION: Managing a 5-star spa and running my own yoga school
OCCUPATION: Regional Managing Director Asian Art at Christie’s Auction House, London
Leila de Vos Van Steenwijk
1976—1978 | Residing in LONDON, ENGLAND
Growing up in many countries around the world, we were very close to our cousins and we loved to share stories about our nomadic lives and adventures. My cousin Nicolas van Pallandt had been at Brockwood since the age of 10 and his stories about what seemed to me a magical place had always intrigued me. Although I did not fully understand at the time what Krishnaji’s teachings were about, I was determined to go and am still grateful till this day that I had the opportunity to spend 2 of my most formative years there before spreading my wings in the big world. I loved the place instantly. It opened my eyes to the beauty of nature, to a completely different way of life, to an extraordinary group of passionate teachers and to wonderful students from all walks of life, some of whom I am still in touch with.
I was very lucky to have been at Brockwood when Krishnaji was alive. When he stayed at Brockwood a few months a year, he would give talks twice a week and join us for lunch most days. Although I did not have much personal interaction with him, one felt close and welcomed by his presence. The student talks were very special. He had a lot of patience with us but he could also be strict and would not let us get away with platitudes. He was determined to get his message through and one felt he really cared very deeply about this.
When I started my studies in Art History, I found it challenging during my first year to strike the balance between what I had taken from Brockwood and managing in the ‘outside’ world, but in the end I enjoyed playing and learning from this process. After university, I found a great place to work at Christie’s, the auction house. After 30 years, I am still here and have had an interesting professional journey. I started at the front counter and moved on to become a specialist in Asian art before heading the department in Amsterdam. Work entailed mostly travelling across Europe to appraise art works, writing catalogues and selling the pieces to new collectors. One of the most exciting moments during this period was being part of a team that offered hundreds of thousands of pieces of Chinese porcelain that had been salvaged from shipwrecks and made fascinating history.
The best kick in our job is to make discoveries. We once found a 14th Century blue and white jar that was used for keeping videos next to a tele- vision. It turned out to be a unique example and fetched a world record price at the time but small discoveries can be equally rewarding. Several years ago, I moved to a more managerial role and am now based in London from where I travel regularly to Paris, Hong Kong and New York as an auctioneer. My two children who are now at university, my partner and I are now dispersed over various places, but join up regularly to travel together or spend time at my parents in the countryside in Holland. When my cousin Nicolas fell seriously ill, he moved from New Zealand back to Holland with his wife and three daughters and we were able to spend much time together before he sadly died too young in 2006. We often spoke of our times at Brockwood and how Krishnaji’s teachings had been a compass in our lives irrespective of what we were going through.
1988-1990 | Residing in PEMBROKESHIRE, WALES
I came to Brockwood as a mature student at the age of 20. The two years that I spent there changed the course of my life. I didn’t always find it easy being around so many people but I felt held and cared for and met many inspiring people in a beautiful and nurturing environment. I met Iwan, the father of my children at Brockwood and we moved to Wales together and had 3 wonderful children. Maia, our eldest, studied at Brockwood for 3 years as a student and Osian is currently there as a mature student. Daniel, our youngest, is at the UEA in Norwich.
I spent 10 years at home with the children, dabbled in photography, trained in massage and then began a career in catering and later ran an organic cafe too. Recently I trained in Scaravelli inspired yoga and have been teaching for the last 2 years. I also re-started my massage business. My home is split into two flats and I rent the lower half out on Airbnb, this affords me to work part-time doing things I absolutely love and that are good for me—which feels essential now that I am in my 50’s!
OCCUPATION: Yoga Teacher
OCCUPATION: India Country Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
1978-1979 | Residing in NEW DELHI, INDIA
Brief though my sojourn there was, Brockwood had a definite role to play in developing that “strong centre”. Some aspects of that included: a constantly inquiring mind; a willingness to stand by (and for) my own choices; a strong ethical core; and a deep interest in getting to ‘the bottom of things’ whether they be in the subjects we studied or how we functioned as a little community. You will be surprised at how important these aspects were in helping me negotiate the world on my own terms and in finding happiness and satisfaction within it.
1985-1988 | Residing in LONDON, ENGLAND
After leaving Brockwood I went to study in the US where I ended up spending much longer than I could have anticipated. I went to a small, liberal arts college in Ohio – Oberlin College – which opened my eyes to a particular kind of progressive American culture that I had not encountered before, and which I liked enormously. I graduated with a BA in Politics and History. After my BA I travelled to New York City to join Columbia University for a Masters and PhD programme in Modern Indian History. Columbia showed me the enormous privilege of the Ivy League, private university and New York showed me its wonders. During that period, I travelled to India for archival research where I spent a total of eighteen months.
I lived in different cities and managed to travel a little bit. I learned an enormous amount about seeing the world through many different eyes. After completing my PhD, and after being in New York for the attack on the Twin Towers, the so-called ‘9/11’, I returned to London and began work at a small college in the University of London – the School of Oriental and African Studies – where I teach Modern South Asian History to undergraduates, postgraduates and doctoral students.
OCCUPATION: Senior Lecturer in Modern South Asian History, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
2007—2009 | Residing in BARCELONA, SPAIN
I think I had to be in the Brockwood bubble for a while to realise that (I believe Brockwood is a reproduction of the outside world just in a lower scale). It helped me to find myself, what I liked, how I am, what I wanted, in order to feel free out there, secure, strong, to maybe go ‘against the current flow’ but to live with it as well.
That’s how I wished to become an opera singer, and Brockwood gave me that opportunity. Long story short is that I decided at some point my other passion was education. So I studied two degrees on that, and became a school teacher of ages 0 – 12 years old, taught in different alternative schools, not-so alternative schools, and at the Inwoods Small School itself.
Nowadays I am earning my living as an external educational consultant. In the end, I dedicated all my life researching for the ‘type’ of education that resonate well on me, for myself, and in extension to children of all ages: how do people learn; what is the role of play, of the adult; how does the environment and available materials impact learning; how does the brain work… and so on. Obviously, J. Krishnamurti is one of the first inspirations for my work, and I quote him in every opportunity I can.
Maya Loon (Lipman)
2003-2010 | Residing in JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
I had the pleasure of being a mature student and then a staff member at Brockwood from 2003 – 2010. Having left in July 2010, I spent a year in London before deciding to return to South Africa in September 2011. I now live in Johannesburg and my path continues to be coloured by my Brockwood experience. Shortly after I returned from the UK, a friend told me about a small new school which they thought sounded similar to Brockwood. When I saw the name, ‘Kairos School of Inquiry’ I was immediately interested — inquiry: now, there was something I was familiar with!
A few years later, I became a founding teacher of what is a very special primary school: my Krishnamurti and Brockwood Park influences have been invited in and welcomed there. My years at Brockwood were some of the most consistently happy, challenging and rewarding of my life so far. Brockwood shaped me, and my life since leaving remains coloured by those experiences. Having two small children of my own now, I dream of a time when they may be able to be at Brockwood themselves.
Despite my theoretical and practical studies in Art History and Fine Art, I have always been drawn to teaching. I imagine that will always be the case — no matter where I go or where I work, somehow teaching always seems to find me. Maybe this is because I really love learning. My best teachers have been the children I’ve taught and the friends I’ve made along the way. I think I really found myself in Brockwood. The people I met there, of all ages and stages, have had a profound impact on how I relate to everyone I’ve met since.
Like many people who leave Brockwood after living there for some time, I found it very challenging to find my fit in the society I live in now. It made a world of difference to have one of my dearest friends from my Brockwood days come to South Africa for my wedding. She met her future husband, stayed here and joined us at our school! We even live on the same property, so I suppose we have created our own mini-Brockwood here in Jo’burg.
At the moment, I help to run the school with my husband. I am otherwise occupied full-time with the most profound learning experience of my life: being a parent.
OCCUPATION: Deputy Head / Mommy
OCCUPATION: Public Engagement Adviser
Coco Anna Tas
2010-2014 | Residing in LONDON, ENGLAND
I was at Brockwood for four years as a student. The community and space had a deeply profound impact on me, which shaped the individual that I am today. My self-confidence blossomed when I arrived as a 14 year old. I discovered my language in Dance Choreography when I was 16. The friendships which sparked during my time there have blossomed. Since leaving Brockwood, they have continued to grow, in their own beautiful ways.
In 2014, I took a gap year to spend time preparing for the next chapter of my story, whatever that may have meant. This gap year involved my first experience of working full-time for minimum wage, travelling to visit friends from Brockwood scattered across the globe, and spending time volunteering. I then decided to pursue academics and enrolled in a Liberal Arts and Science degree in The Hague, Netherlands. I declared my major in Earth Energy and Sustainability and completed my bachelor’s thesis on Energy Citizenship. I have since completed my master’s degree at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, in Environmental Engineering. I am now at the start of another new chapter in my life: a blank page promising adventures, lessons, and learning.
I am currently based in London, working in the environmental sector.
Dana Suzanne Cook (née Planchon)
1976-1979 | Residing in BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA, USA
My brother and I were both admitted at Brockwood Park in January 1976 and I immediately felt the relief of being among good people. I was quite shy—awkward even—but I wanted to belong and was happy to do my share of chores! I made friends, learned to write in English and tried not to make too many mistakes in the laundry room—which was my first responsibility. I loved being outdoors, in the kitchen garden, in the grove or just sitting under the majestic cedar tree on the lawn. I learned a great many things both in and out of the classroom. My relationships with staff and peers helped me develop confidence—and of course, it was at Brockwood that I first fell in love. He was a kind, artistic and mischievous boy with a gorgeous head of blond curls. Really I did, and I was happy.
Krishnamurti came to talk to us when he was in England, and when he was not we listened to clips during morning meeting. Although I was open to learning from Krishnamurti, what he said made sense but seemed impossible at the same time. I had just turned fifteen when I came to Brockwood. For my first few years, the community I had joined was the most important part of the experience. Later, Krishnamurti’s idea that changing ourselves was imperative for a life without pain, and that this change was instantaneous, really grabbed hold of me. I became very serious, and even a bit withdrawn, as I grappled with this concept. I desperately wanted to better myself and make this change, but truly could not find the way. This time at Brockwood was very hard for me. Luckily there were friends on staff and other students whose affection and concern helped me.
I made poor decisions because I was trying to be a good human being, but eventually I realized that I was just as important as other people. Odd that this should have taken me so long to learn. However, in the last thirty years, I’ve created a good life for myself: simple and happy.
OCCUPATION: I am very lucky to have discovered my passion for working with young children. I have a master’s in early childhood education and I have devoted my life to being a teacher/caregiver. I have worked in a variety of childcare settings, including my own little home day-care. Presently I work at one of the Indiana University childcare centres.
Ana Finney (Branescu)
1987-1990 | Residing in WEST VIRGINIA, USA
Being a student at Brockwood was one of the most peaceful and enjoyable times of my life. It set the stage for my future life. The amount of growth and introspection I went through during those years have helped me to help others find such bliss!
I studied music (piano) for most of my life. I had the privilege of learning with Alan Rowlands, a kind and very talented man. After leaving Brockwood, I pursued my Bachelor of Music. I performed and taught piano for 11 years. I had my first daughter when I was 22 and my second when I was 28. Their father and I got divorced in 2005, and I financially supported our daughters by myself. I had many different jobs, from mental health social worker to banker. In 2009, I met my current husband who helped us tremendously. He suggested I get my Masters in Social Work, as my dream had been to become a psychotherapist.
I graduated from West Virginia University in 2015 and, in May 2019, I established my own private practice. A lifelong dream had come true. I now have 60 patients in an area that is poverty stricken and drug infested. We are changing the world, one person at a time!
My eldest daughter, Maia, 26, lives in Winchester, VA and has a 3 month old son, Kai. My other daughter, Elie, 20, lives in Morgantown, WV. She attends West Virginia University and is studying Communications. My goal is to turn my business, Tri-State Psychotherapy, into a semi-large agency that I can someday leave my daughters.
I feel that Brockwood assisted me in maintaining a positive and purposeful attitude in trying times, and thus I was able to fulfil my dreams. I am forever grateful to the staff and trustees who did more for me than they ever imagined.
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