Meet our Educators

Meet Our Educators

Nimrod Evron

Lead Teacher & Group Leader of the 11-14 yrs Group

Nimrod graduated with a Bachelor of Education and teaching qualifications in 2010 from a program specializing in Critical Pedagogy. He obtained an MA in Psychosocial Studies from Birkbeck University of London in 2015. Born in Israel, Nimrod has been involved in peace and social justice activism from a young age. Nimrod lived and volunteered on an ecological farm before deciding to pursue a career in education.

Nimrod taught for seven years at a democratic school in Israel. During this time, he trained in Project-Based Learning at the Institute for Democratic Education. He taught classes from primary to sixth form and, together with his students, built and created his own classes such as Detectives in History, Myth-Breaking, and Kids’ Philosophy.

Before leaving for London, he was Head of Middle School and the Mentoring Program. In London, he taught in a primary school and continued to focus on theme-based learning and project-based learning.

In addition to being a teacher, he has volunteered for ten years at a hotline for distressed youths, helped run a collective infoshop and community center, been a part of a creative writing group, and has gotten involved in various campaigns for social justice. He has initiated and facilitated youth groups that encourage critical thought, helped organize an annual summer camp for youth activism for eight years, and has been a guest speaker at universities on topics such as education, media, gender, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Gemma graduated from Bretton Hall with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies in 2003. She went on to work in Theatre for several years. Always having a desire to teach, she worked as a Teaching Assistant and Special Needs Support Assistant. Additionally, she taught Art before gaining a place on the Graduate Teacher Programme. In 2011, she graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Manchester Metropolitan University. She gained employment at the same school where she was trained. She taught KS2 before leaving to become a mum. Instead of returning to teaching, she chose to home-educate her children, which revealed a passion for self-directed learning. Over the last few years, Gemma has been researching autonomous, democratic education.

Gemma Phelan

Lead Teacher, SENCO and Group Leader for the 7-10 yrs and 10-12 yrs groups.

Emma Dennis

Teacher and Group Leader for the 5-7 yrs group.

Emma graduated in 2005 with a BA Hons Degree in Acting and Performance from Salford University. She moved swiftly into teaching Performing Arts and qualified as a teacher in 2007. Emma spent the next 12 years within secondary education in both Leeds and Doncaster before leaving teaching to home educate her daughter. More recently she worked as a part time primary teacher in a Montessori Elementary School before joining us here!

Emma is passionate about life long learning and is committed to exploring and learning about different approaches to education. She is committed to facilitating personal and inspiring learning experiences for her daughter and the children she works with.

Emma recently completed a child and family yoga course with Rainbow Yoga and in October she started training to become a Play Therapist with PTUK

Liva is a teacher of Maths and Science with a PGCE in Secondary Science.  She completed her teaching degree in 2007 at Canterbury Christ Church University.  Originally from Denmark, Liva moved to the UK from the United States 13 years ago for an MSc in Primate Conservation.  Before teaching, she worked as a monkey veterinary technician in the US, conducted her Masters research on crop-raiding macaques in Indonesia, and helped to run a volunteer expedition conducting wildlife surveys in the Ecuadorian Amazon.  After a couple of years of teaching in secondary school as a Science and Spanish teacher, she heard the call of the wild again and travelled for a year through Mexico and Central America and volunteered in a secondary school in Mexico.  She has worked for an independent school in the Rochdale area for over 5 years now and teaches Maths and Science, among other subjects, to a wide range of ages and abilities.

Liva has practiced ashtanga yoga for over 16 years, and originally began her meditation practice through yoga and hypnobirthing.  She is now particularly interested in the use of mindfulness and meditation in education and how it can foster confidence and positive thinking as well as aid learning.  She has two daughters and a dog named Patch.

Liva Hansen

Science and Maths Teacher

Anisha Mistry

Art Teacher

After completing a PGCE in Secondary Art & Design from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2012, Anisha has been teaching Art & Design in secondary schools in Folkestone and Bradford. Anisha’s skills and knowledge in Art & Design practice range from drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, and ceramics. She has taught all year groups including A-Level. Anisha draws influence and experience from a wide range of sources to aid her teaching practice, and in particular, likes to visit galleries and museums. Her favorite place to visit is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Anisha studied a BA Hons in Ceramics at Cardiff School of Art & Design where she became a natural at slipcasting tableware and decorative ceramic surface design. Before beginning the PGCE, Anisha took a few months out to volunteer for the Kamla Foundation, a charity that helps disadvantaged women and children in Tamil Nadu, India. During her time in India, Anisha worked on programs to empower women of all ages as well as teaching creative English lessons in schools to young children.

 Anisha’s main creative role models as a child were her grandfathers, one a carpenter the other a tailor. She firmly believes these early influences shaped her ability to learn a diverse set of skills that continue to aid her teaching practice to this day. In her spare time Anisha enjoys sewing and cooking, she is a huge fan Lego and loves to go to the theatre and cinema.

As a forest school practitioner and qualified primary school teacher and support worker for over 15 years, Laura has a wealth of experience working in many learning environments, with young people throughout the key stages and across a wide variety of alternative educational and outdoor settings. She has facilitated and supported both groups and individuals to access and experience nature through forest school and a person-centred approach of exploration through ideas.

Laura has also facilitated community projects and gardening workshops as a means to build confidence and self-esteem in those who take part.


Laura has a deep-rooted passion for plants, nature and the preservation of wildlife and our natural countryside. She spends much time foraging and preserving herbs and wild foods for use in herbal teas, ointments and tinctures.


Laura feels passionately that people need to be in contact with the natural world in order to feel connected, in tune with the seasons and to value the earth’s abundance. Through this belief, she works to share her love of nature and celebrate the land with those who surround her.

Laura Skyner

Teacher

Megan earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in 2012. Originally from the US, she moved to the UK six years ago to continue her education. In 2015, she obtained a PgDip in Outdoor Education from the University of Edinburgh. Since then, she has worked at various outdoor and environmental education centres throughout England and Wales.

Aside from her main work over the past few years, Megan has also assisted on an archaeological project in Peru, helped lead a team of international volunteers undertaking practical conservation work in Iceland, and had her nature and travel writing featured in several online and print publications. In addition to experiential learning, she is passionate about supporting and empowering others as they learn and grow.

Megan Ramirez

Teaching Assistant

Toria Garbutt

English Teacher

Toria is a writer and performer from Knottingley, West Yorkshire. She regularly supports Dr John Cooper Clarke on tours and has performed in some of the largest and most prestigious theaters in the UK. In 2016, she released a poetry album with the record label Nymphs and Thugs, and her first poetry collection was published by Wrecking Ball Press in 2018. Toria writes for the award-winning theater company Not Too Tame and has showcased her work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Toria holds an Advanced PGCE (with English specialism) in Lifelong Learning from the Northern College. She is interested in the transformative power of words and their ability to turn pain into purpose through self-expression. Toria teaches English and Creative Writing in community groups, schools, and prisons. She has been involved as a writer, performer, and facilitator with several Arts Council-funded projects.

Toria graduated from Bretton Hall with a BA Honors degree in Arts Education and is passionate about the importance of the Arts within education. She has been home-educating her two children since 2012.

Krista entered into Secondary maths teaching utilising the arts and pupil centred investigative tasks.

Her classroom featured ‘Welcome to the exciting world of Maths’ Graffiti style on the back wall, hanging origami 3-D sculptures and showcased a range of artists and industries.

To further Krista’s interest in supporting her students emotionally she embarked on a three year course studying Child Counselling using multi arts (Puppetry, story telling, drama, music, sand tray, mark making) at the Institute for Art Therapy and Education. During this time Krista worked as a Play therapist with Kids company and as a specialist maths teacher across three primary schools.

Krista now offers individually tailored maths tuition and sacred geometry sessions and loves being a mother to her vibrant six year old daughter.

Krista is passionate about encouraging imaginative free play, creative exploration, appreciation and respect for nature, whilst continuing to explore child development theory, attachment theory and increasing awareness of the body and mind; exploring dance, meditation, yoga and breath work and utilising Environmental Arts Therapy and natural cycles.

Krista is thrilled to be part of the Hebden Bridge Learning Community, with an ethos that feels fully aligned with her passions, belief system and heart. She is a local lass who has returned to the valley after living and volunteering in diverse cities and rural communities around the world.

 

Krista Hanson

Teaching Assistant

Meet Our Founder and Director

Anil Sarna

Learning Community Founder

Anil Sarna founded our learning community in 2016  He’s a Spanish and Italian teacher, who has taught up to A level and the IB diploma.  He is also a yoga and meditation instructor and shiatsu therapist. He has been involved in international educational projects for more than 20 years. He lived in Spain for 16 years and Italy for 3 years where he experimented with integrating yoga and meditation into the classroom to create optimal conditions for learning. 

In 2005 he set up a language school in the UK  for international students called Playing to Learn ,where children learnt English through sports and play. In 2012 he started up a school from scratch in a deprived part of India near Rishikesh, in association with the Doon School and Oakham School raising £50,000. Also, at Oakham he led a school project to support a school in Morocco, where students would raise funds then trek across the desert for 3-4 days to volunteer at a Nomad school. 

He founded Hebden Bridge Learning Community in September 2016 with considerable help from friends. 

In 2017 he organised the Alternative Education Festival in Hebden Bridge, which was the first conference for democratic schools and educators based in the UK. From this came the Freedom to Learn Festival which is now held on an annual basis.

In 2020 he co-founded The Learning Circle, an online sister school to Hebden Bridge, with Zoe Holden. 

He speaks five languages, has three children and loves walking, cooking and reading. If he could have his life all over again he would do exactly the same as well as playing football for Coventry City. 

Place of Birth: Coventry, Warwickshire.