The Living Wisdom High School Approach to Joyful Learning
The fundamental characteristic of the LWHS program is that each student is appreciated as a unique individual on a life-long journey of learning and development. School staff and peers, family and friends, are all a part of this journey, along with the individual’s own set of strengths, challenges, interests, goals, and inspirations.
Every student, in partnership with a mentor and faculty, designs a personalized, balanced program with experiences in self-discovery, academic excellence, creativity, connections with others, and service-learning adventure. In this way, young people take charge of their education, engage deeply in personal development, and experience the joy of learning.
An Education at Living Wisdom Includes:
Avenues of Learning
Avenues of Learning
Body and energy strengthening exercises, positive habits and skills for healthy-living, hygiene, sports, physical education, diet, etc.
Mental Engineering Through...
Concentration, positive attitudes, solution-consciousness, will power, positive thinking, development of memory, creativity, even-mindedness, learning from challenges and failures, self-reliance skills, time management, public speaking, etc.
Community Development Through...
The art of friendship, social-learning projects, non-violent communication, respectful dialogue, and maturity through empathy.
Inner Strength Through...
Balanced living, centeredness, joyful self-discipline, positive habits of mind, yoga, meditation, expanded awareness, and development of intuition, etc.
Personal Passions Project
Personal Development Courses
Students engage in meaningful discussions, self-reflective writing, creative projects, and service-learning in the local community. They also develop skills such as non-violent communication, emotional intelligence, self-compassion, and practical life skills (finances, resumes, cooking, etc). Overall, it is a place to build community, have fun together, and realize one's highest potential.
Meet the Team
Living abroad as a child, and then attending our sister school in Nevada City, Kshama’s early life sparked in her a passion for travel and cross-cultural connection. It also inspired a commitment to holding service as a guiding principle in her life.
Kshama’s educational background is in Spanish, Latin American Literature, Sociology, and Education. She completed her specialization training through Education for Life International on site at Living Wisdom School of Palo Alto.
Kshama is passionate about offering young people an educational experience that activates their enthusiasm for life, nurtures their unique interests and abilities, and deepens their sense of self-understanding and connection with the world.
I studied photography for my B.A and videography and video editing in community college. I had a passion for photographing people’s natural emotions. Later on, I realized that I was more interested in people’s stories than in capturing them visually. So, I went back to school and got a masters in mass communication journalism. There, I learned about people’s stories and the pain in the world, realizing that as a human, I was able to make a change.
As I was studying, I started working as a research assistant in social studies as well as tutoring K- 12th grade students. After graduation I worked in an after school/college prep program, teaching social science, English, writing and other courses. My goal in life is to help people know and understand themselves and find what their path is to reach happiness as opposed to what society forces on them.
Shanti spent her first year of college doing a program through Naropa University called Leap-year: a year of traveling, service projects, hands-on learning, retreats, and the opportunity to follow one's inspiration. She is also a trained yoga teacher, Sharing Nature facilitator, and enjoys backpacking in nature, playing music, engaging conversations, meditation and yoga, reading, karate, dance, and adventures of all kinds.
Shanti's dream is to support youth, and especially teens, with self-discovery and empowerment — overall, helping them to become their highest potential. Her enthusiasm for this dream has manifested as an annual summer camp for teens called Inner Adventure Camp– focused on self-discovery, empowerment, community, creativity, adventure, and coming of age. Beginning her fourth year working at LWHS, Shanti is very inspired, excited, and grateful to be a part of the amazing school community and to give back to an education system that left an indelible mark on her life.
Mr. Panunzio is also a recipient of awards and scholarships including the Santa Barbara Musicians Union Award 2006, Santa Barbara's La Fair/Rokoff/Gilbert Fund Scholarship 2007, and most recently the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Scholarship where he attended 2014-2016. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 2014 with a B.M. in music performance studying under Lawrence Ferrara, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2016 where he received his M.M. in music performance studying with world-renowned composer and performer Sergio Assad. A dedicated educator, Bruno enjoys working with students of all levels and backgrounds.
Devyani is a linguist and, in addition to French, she is also well-versed in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, and Bengali. Spanish and German have also been a focus of her studies. In addition to her love of language, Devyani is also a trained musician. Since she was a child she has played the sitar, a stringed instrument, and has performed at innumerable concerts and stage shows. She is a trained singer and holds diplomas in sitar and Indian classical vocal from Pracheen Kala Kendra, India. Finally, Devyani is a student of meditation and yoga. She and her husband are also budding entrepreneurs and are parents to two amazing kids.
Dejana Becker, Ph.D.
Nirmal Vadgama, Ph.D.
In 2012, Nirmal received problem-based learning (PBL) tutor training from St. George’s University of London, where he served as a tutor for medical students for 7 years. Nirmal’s training there involved engaging students in solving clinical-based problems and using self-directed research to make a diagnosis. He was also a laboratory demonstrator, marked BSc dissertations and summative MCQs/SAQs, and contributed to standard-setting for medical degree assessments using the Angoff method.
Prior to that, Nirmal was a science and maths classroom teacher at Oxford International College in China. While there, he also offered extracurricular guitar lessons and served as a teacher-in-residence to manage boarding house duties.
There is total transparency with the steps, essays and applications. Priya goes out of her way to get to know the student so she can research colleges that are best fit for the student’s goals and needs. Additionally, knowing that the essays provide the foundation of a strong application, Priya spends time brainstorming ideas for the personal statement and supplemental essays. Her editing skills encourage students to keep enhancing each draft with the suggested changes, and these subtle nuances help in making a good essay great. Priya feels truly privileged to support the students at Living Wisdom to maximize their potential in fulfilling their dreams and aspirations.
Lakshmi (Katelyn) LaPine
Lakshmi (Katelyn) LaPine received her undergraduate degree (English Literature) and teaching credential (Single-subject, English) from University of Redlands. She holds a masters degree in Educational Leadership and Social Justice, as well as an administrative credential, from CSUEB.
See what our
Students & Parents Say
I certainly attribute my love of learning and confidence in myself towards my foundation in Living Wisdom. I was also taught that as people, we really do have the autonomy to choose our own happiness, and I try to remind myself of this every day. However, it is curious how many students I see in college refusing to do this.”
- Hadley, alumnus