about our founder
Children's books are magical.
They can ignite the soul.
I am the proud immigrant daughter of Konkani Indian parents, a career changer from medicine to education, a mummy, wife and educator committed to liberating education.
I take the time to pay respect and honor to those who came before me who have allowed me to fully embrace this work with unapologetic truth. My ancestors and family members who have been committed to the fair and equitable treatment of human beings. The historically marginalized communities who have been laying the groundwork for activism from the very beginning. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that the work that I am doing is not new, but instead built on the feeling of gratitude and inspiration from those who have had the courage to speak about all things social justice, especially when it pertains to children.
Over the years I've taught, led, worked with and founded a number of elementary school systems and programs, including Success Academy Charter Network (South Bronx and Harlem) and Impact Public Schools (Seattle-Tukwila). I've written identity- driven PreK curriculum for multiple schools networks, culturally responsive Social Emotional Learning curriculum, as well as community focused Project Based Learning curriculum based on the localities of my students' backgrounds- ensuring content was decolonized and representative of family input. I was a member of the Educators of Color Organization in Seattle and have completed DEIA training with educators over the years. In 2019, I created my own education consulting experience, divHERse, serving as the Founder and Educational Leader/Coach, focused on ensuring retention, voice and representation of women of Color in ed leadership.
Some of my projects include: serving as an Education and Training Specialist with Future Leaders Incubator, Pre-K Design Consultant with Zeta Charter Schools, SEL Curriculum Consultant with Inner City Innovators, Education Specialist with the MaySea Movement Education Project (Cangrejo, Nicaragua) and Curriculum Program Manager at Path to College. I am currently on the board of Florida ASCD, a member of Catalyst:Ed's Innovative Learning Expert hub, and a high school mentor for Path to College. Accolades and certifications include: two-time Teacher Excellence Award winner, Gates Foundation US K-12 Programs Panelist, and certification in PreK-4th teaching, SEL and Trauma-Informed Yoga, and Culturally Responsive Literature Instruction. My passion has always been focused on early childhood education and empowering spaces for learning through literacy from PreK-4th and beyond.
I attended the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and hold a Bachelors in Biology and a Masters in Medical Sciences. I also attended Ross University School of Medicine for a short period of time before transitioning to the field of education. I hold a Masters in Education and Special Education from Touro College in NY.
Indigenous author and activist Vine Deloria Jr. once stated,"Every society needs sacred places. A society that cannot remember its past and honor it, is in peril of losing its soul." My hope is that the work that continues to be done in the Readery and in collaboration with others will honor and acknowledge our powerful ancestral resistance and lead to more pathways of empowerment for our youngest ones.
@pranoo_k (Personal Education Instagram)
My classroom library has been the heart of our room.
DEIA practice has been the driving force of the content and actions of my work. Where books are sprawled across the floor with a good "lovie," perhaps an inflatable palm tree above, and eyes wide open with a sense of connection. Rigorous and engaging conversations happen about the deeper meaning of texts. I have take my passion from highlighting identity-driven children's books in the classroom to a new adventure of opening a truly inclusive bookstore.
I believe in the importance of an authentic liberating educational experience as my family experienced racial inequity and oppression during my schooling. It impacted my self-worth, my view of identity or lack thereof, and my perception of what
I could be.
As a Woman of the Global Majority, my dream is to provide an inclusive space where my daughter and ALL children can see themselves- their identity, culture, and future- in the pages of a book.
Who is Rohi?
Rohi’s Readery is named after my daughter Rohini AND someone who I have deep roots and ties to, my Annama (which means grandmother in Hindi). My Annama, Rohini, was a steadfast advocate for children's rights to education in India especially with the caste system, a fierce protector of her family, and in her youth advocated and looked up to mentor Freedom Fighter Sarojini Naidu. For those who don’t know Sarojini Naidu was an instrumental figure and activist in women’s emancipation in India and anti-colonial rule, and she was coined the “Nightingale of India” because of her contribution to poetry and active literary life. So when “Rohi” comes to mind, it speaks to this idea of activism in the context of critical literacy and equity in education. My Annama made it a point to ensure that children knew they were seen, loved, valued and belong.
Fast forward to now... 'Rohi's Corner' has so much meaning for me. It's the place where we read every day. It's the spot where my daughter has stared at covers of books that represent inclusivity and diversity. It's the place I never had in my own school growing up. "But what if this space could be bigger?" I thought. Thus Rohi's Readery.
What Rohi’s Readery is providing is nothing new. It is instead built on the gratitude and inspiration from those who have had the courage to speak about all things social justice, especially when it pertains to children. May we live in service of the bravery of our ancestors and descendants.
See you at the Readery!