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Founders: Shilpa and Amit Singhal

Our founders Shilpa and Amit have been passionate about education as far back as they can remember.

Both Shilpa and Amit have directly experienced the transformative effects of education. Their families’ lives have been changed over generations, all because of good education.

Shilpa is a Physicist and a Computer Scientist with degrees from State University of New York (Binghamton) and Cornell University. Her family’s known journey starts four generation back from humble beginnings. Her great-grandfather was a sweet (dessert) vendor with little education. Education pulled her family out of hardships, and her grandfather and father both became Engineers. She worked as a software engineer for many years, before deciding to devote her time to family and philanthropy.

Amit Singhal is known as the man behind Google search. Amit led Google search for over fifteen years (2000-2016). His family story is also that of education. Amit’s great grandfather, Mr. Shiv Gupta was a person of few means. He had very little education, and made his living by repairing bicycle punctures (flat tires) on a roadside in a temporary shop, which was all of four bamboo sticks and a tarp. Again, successive generations’ emphasis on education resulted in Amit’s father becoming an engineer, and Amit getting a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell. After fifteen years of leading Google search, Amit, with Shilpa, decided to give back to his community through the Sitare Foundation.

Vikram Ahuja: Founding Director

Vikram started building Sitare with Shilpa and Amit right at the founding of the foundation in 2016. Vikram is a lifelong educator. His passion for education shows in his sixteen years of leading Eurokids and EuroSchools institutions in the state of Rajasthan, India. Vikram is an education innovator at heart, from teacher training to out-of-classroom programs, he has built several innovative programs that have deeply impacted the quality of education in his schools. Vikram has tremendous knowledge of the school systems in India.

In addition, Vikram cares a lot about impacting the lives of numerous capable children through education and, therefore has devoted himself to the cause of Sitare Foundation. Vikram grew the Foundation from zero to five hundred children in a short span of four years, working with all our partner schools as well as numerous government agencies.


Akshat Tewari: Director of Academics

Akshat is an engineer turned educator. Early in his engineering career, Akshat started volunteering and taught basic literacy and numeracy to children from slums, orphanages and juvenile homes. His work with underprivileged children made him realize that the current schooling system fails to meet the overarching goals of “education.” So one day Akshat decided to quit his engineering job to teach underprivileged children. As an educator Akshat has designed curriculum plans, implemented innovative pedagogy techniques and reform assessments. He has lead outcome-based interventions aimed to improve the learning outcomes in government schools.

In his free time, he loves to trek, read, write, take pictures, listen to music, play instruments, sing, and long to be with the mountains.

Col Sarjeet Yadav (retd): Director of Operations

Sarjeet comes from a humble farmer turned educationist family. His father, his inspiration, moved to Delhi to become an educationist and provide a good quality education to their children. Sarjeet has witnessed first hand how education is empowering for the entire family.

Sarjeet retired from the Indian Army after twenty two years of distinguished service to the nation. He served in the most difficult environments in Kashmir (including Siachen). Col. Yadav also led India’s Counter Insurgency Operation in both Kashmir and in the north-eastern states. He experienced the Arab Spring first hand while serving in Egypt. In addition he was the Senior Trainer in Army War College and Army Air Defence College.

Sarjeet was awarded the Sena Medal in 2005 for his exceptional bravery while conducting operations against terrorists in Kashmir. Having served the country in the Army, Sarjeet has decided to dedicate his life to serving again, this time by educating its underprivileged youth through Sitare Foundation.

Advisers

We at Sitare Foundation are incredibly fortunate to have these amazing people to guide us in our journey.

Anabel Jensen

Dr. Anabel Jensen has taught, nurtured and advocated for the needs of gifted/talented children for over four decades. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in child development. Early in her profession she designed individualized programs for gifted minors.

Dr. Jensen is Co-Founder and CEO of Synapse School in Menlo Park. Synapse is an independent elementary and middle school for gifted, talented and creative children where an advanced academic curriculum is fully integrated with interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences.

Anabel also serves as President and Co-Founder of Six Seconds, The Emotional Intelligence Network, where she has co-authored social/emotional assessments, which support gifted youngsters in strengthening these skills. She is also a Full Professor at Notre Dame de Namur University, plus Department Chair of the College of Education at NDNU where she teaches graduate students who are completing either a master’s degree or a teacher’s credential.

Pranav Kothari

Pranav is Vice President – the Large-Scale Education Programmes division at
Educational Initiatives (EI), leading EI’s work in student assessments and implementation of their adaptive learning software (Mindspark) in vernacular languages in government and affordable private schools across India. Ever since Pranav graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS) in 2011, he has concentrated all his energy and time to work on one singular issue “how to bring technology to improve learning outcomes at scale for low-income children”.

Mindspark’s work has been featured in the Economist (twice) and was a shortlist for the Qatar Foundation’s WISE Awards and the UNESCO Global Top 10 in ICT Solutions. He has been invited by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to be part of the Joint Review Mission conducted by the World Bank. Pranav was nominated and awarded the Corporate Intrapreneur Award by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2019 – the only one from India that year.
 
Prior to EI and HBS, Pranav worked at Boston Consulting Group and GTI Capital in USA, Germany, Chile and Argentina. He studied B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology where he spent his summers interning at General Electric and Capital One.

Shivakumar Venkataraman

Dr. Shivakumar Venkataraman is Vice President of Engineering and GM  for Google Search Ads. Shiv received his BS in Computer Science from IIT, Madras in 1990 and received his MS and PhD in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1991 and 1996 respectively. From 1996 to 2000, he worked on the development of IBM’s federated query optimizers and associated technologies. He worked with Cohera Corporation, PeopleSoft, Required Technologies, and AdeSoft. He also served as a Visiting Faculty member at UC Berkeley in 2002. He has been with Google since 2003 and worked on the core advertiser infrastructure platforms and payments platforms prior to his current role as GM for Google Search Ads and O&O properties.

Shiv is passionate about computing education, diversity in the field of technology, and educating underprivileged women to build some of the best professionals this world has seen.