Srinagar: Anu was born and raised in Srinagar; her father was a known photographer who ran a photo studio. Even today one can find his portraits spread across the valley. The love her parents had for Kashmir, their home, gave them immense strength during the period of militancy. Anu has no memories of her parents ever complaining.
New Delhi: Anu's professional journey began in New Delhi where she started as an early years teacher. Her career took further shape in the mid 80's when she became Vice Chair of the School Board and Chair of the Parent-Teacher Association at the British School in New Delhi. She was instrumental in policy development and worked closely with teachers and administrators in strengthening and developing the overall school culture. During her time at the British School, she also worked closely with the New Delhi government and led the negotiation in acquiring an extended piece of land which the school sits on today. She simultaneously took charge of the Delhi International Football League (DIFL), which initially only included a handful of schools. She transformed the League, expanded its membership and created a thriving football culture in schools across Delhi.
Kodaikanal: In the early 90's, her children went to study at the Kodaikanal International School, the first IB school in India. She moved there initially to be close to one of her children who had to undergo a surgery, but before she knew it, she had her hands full with school work. She started as a dorm parent, being responsible for student life, and helped build an active student culture. She was also a part of the counseling program, became the middle school principal, and eventually became the director of development and advancement where she was responsible for institutional growth through public relations and marketing. For the school's 100th anniversary, she was instrumental in getting the school national recognition by arranging with the government a postal stamp bearing the school's name. She worked hard on developing a student culture by introducing new and alternative student curricular and extra-curricular programs that are still a vital tenet of student life at the school.
Her children recall: “One would imagine it to be difficult for teenagers to have your parent working in your school. We, however, never felt this because Mom was absolutely loved by the students. Her office, as well as our house, was always filled with students and teachers.”
Bangalore: In 2002, Anu received the challenging task of transforming the Bangalore International School. She significantly developed the school's infrastructure, curriculum, operations, human resources, admissions and put the school on the map, allying it with accreditation associations and many educational programs in and outside India. She avidly supported sports, arts, sciences, and used her network to expose her teachers and students to the best of international education. She developed a Learning Center that looked at bringing in students with diverse learning needs in the regular learning environment. Not only did it change the landscape of the school making it more dynamic, it allowed for rich peer-learning to take place. Today the school boasts of a robust Learning Center with highly trained special educators, which has become a model to many schools around the world. Anu recalls her own school days when her teachers treated her different merely because she was left-handed. They tied her left hand, forcing her to write with her right hand. This may sound absurd today, and she hopes that one day we will think the same about children who we presently perceive 'different'.
Anu continued studying further and attended several summer leadership programs in Boston at Harvard University. She was the first Indian to be offered a place in the program at the Klingenstein Centre Teachers College Colombia University, and the first Indian to be induced into the International Education Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
She serves in an extensive list of Boards of national and international educational institutes, and works closely with governments around the world to create educational partnerships. On a national level, Anu has worked closely with the government to officially and effectively recognise students who have studied the IB program. As a consequence, she has extended the result of her efforts for the benefit of all IB schools in the country.
In 2005, while she was at Bangalore International School, she founded TAISI - The Association of International Schools of India, a platform for training and networking purposes, an idea she got while waiting for a connecting flight in Singapore, realising that she was the only Indian leader present at high-level educational conferences. At the time there was no professional development culture in international education in India. Together with her colleagues, she has been able to build a vibrant professional development community in the region, bringing in experts from around the world.
Individual Achievement Award at the International School Awards 2019 by ISC Research, London (2019)
Education Icon of the Year Award by Education Today, India (2018)
Prof. Indira Parikh 50 Women in Education Leaders Award by World Education Congress in India (2017)
Lifetime Achievement Award by Education Today (2017)
Progressive Principals of India Award by the National Convention of EduLeaders (2017)
Hall of Fame Award for promoting international education by the Association of Advancement in International Education (AAIE), Atlanta, US (2016)