Board Members

Mandala Children’s House Inc. is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation. Our Board of Directors is composed of a group of parents who dedicate themselves to helping Mandala live out its mission to “nurture children, support families, and nourish staff.”

The purpose of the Board is to set goals and policies that follow the philosophy of our school and reflect the diverse needs of our children and families. The Board acts as a “compass,” guiding our future while holding us accountable to our original vision. Board members are elected for two-year periods. Board meetings are held monthly at the school. Each spring, we recruit new Board members. We encourage interested parents to apply.  


HEMA NATARAJU
Board Member – Communications
Email: hemz22@gmail.com

Hema is a new addition to the Board this year (2016-17). She and her husband, Sriram Iyer are the proud parents of Meera who is really excited to be starting Ladybugs this year. The Nataraju-Iyer family came to Mandala on a friend’s recommendation. They were very impressed with the patience and care shown by the teachers when Meera had a hard time adjusting to school. Mandala’s philosophy and values resonate with Hema’s beliefs, and she is honored to have a chance to give back. Before she made Mommyhood her full-time job, Hema used to work as a Human Resources Professional in India and London. She has since shifted gears and she is now a fiction writer who was published recently. Hema’s family, Meera included, are foodies who love traveling, reading together and catching up with the rest of the family who live in India.


Events_ShannaSHANNA BREWER
Board Member Fundraising
Email: eventscoordinator@mandalachildrenshouse.com

shannambrewer@gmail.com

Shanna courageously stepped forward as our first Mandala Events Coordinator for the year 2014-2015. In this volunteer role, she helped us plan the “all-school” events, such as the Harvest Festival and the Walk-a-thon. She also coordinated and offered new community-building events, such as summer play-dates and family dinners out. She has been an invaluable resource to Mandala. Shanna joined the Board in 2016 when we decided to incorporate her role into the Fundraising arm of the board of directors. Shanna brings a wealth of resources with her to support the school, particularly her professional background in management and organizational psychology. Shanna is mom to Emmy (now a kindergartner) and Madelyn, an Early Preschooler. Shanna lives in San Jose and works from her home office as a Strategic Change Consultant, when she not commuting to Texas periodically for time on location with her current job. Shanna helps organizations implement new technologies, processes, and structures when she isn’t being a Mom.


JULIA KONYE NOCON
Board Member- Events & Activities
Email: jkonye@gmail.com

Julia Konye Nocon joined the Mandala school board in 2016 and is eager and ecstatic to contribute and be a part of a Montessori school that has created a safe and caring environment for her daughter to flourish. If you ask her daughter, she would say that she would never attend another school other than Mandala…ever! Julia is a native of Los Altos and recently moved to the San Jose region where she got connected with Mandala from a friend’s recommendation. Currently her daughter Sophia (age 5) attends Mandala and soon her son Leonidas (age 21 mo.) will be attending. Before motherhood, Julia studied and received her AS in Ornamental Horticulture and Design along with a BS in Environmental Studies. She has always been passionate about the environment and continues that though her work as a Landscape Contractor and owner of a fine gardening company with her husband Carlo. On the side she does events and florals and enjoys doing yoga, crafting and baking with her children.


FATEMA NADEEM
Board Member – Events & Activities
Email: fatema.abizar7@gmail.com

Fatema joined the board at Mandala for the academic year 2016-2017. She is a mother of a 3 year old son, Taher, who recently graduated to a Ladybug class at Mandala. Fatema and her husband hail from India originally and have made South Bay Area their home since their marriage 6 years ago. Fatema is a home maker and is currently studying for certification in teaching and Child Development. Fatema was born in India and spent a considerable amount of time before marriage in Dubai, UAE. One of the things that really attracted her to Mandala early on was its diversity and harmony among people from different walks of life. She read a lot about the school both online and in Bay Area Parents Magazine but it just took her a few personal visits to the school with her  son to know she had found the perfect place for them. Fatema feels lucky to be invited to join the board and get an opportunity to work along side a great group of teachers, administrators, staff and parents. Coming from a family of teachers (both her mother and mother-in-law have been teachers), it has been a really good learning experience for her and she expects to continue to contribute to a cause that is very near and dear to her heart.


AMBER BILAK
Board Member – Events & Activities
Email: ambereyip@gmail.com

Amber Bilak learned about Mandala through friends, and she joined the Board in October 2016. Her daughter, Juniper Yip, had her first school experience in the Cocoon class last year, and now is thriving with the “big kid” Ladybugs. Amber most appreciates Mandala’s thoughtful, kind and nurturing approach to the family and community, and feels like the whole world could do with a little bit more Mandala. Amber has worn many hats in her life, from teaching high school math and science to working with homeless populations to academic research and teaching. She holds a PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado. Her latest project is being a mommy and teaching yoga, albeit with a focus on the science of yoga. Born in Walnut Creek, CA, she has lived in Salt Lake City, UT, Gobabis, Namibia, and Boulder, CO, as well as several nomadic stints, before returning to the Bay Area. She is excited for the opportunity to better know and contribute to the Mandala community.



DIANA EFTHYNOPOULOS
Board Member – Fundraising
Email: diana.efti@gmail.com

Diana joined the board in October 2016 after an endless search for the right preschool for her two boys. Her heritage and values make it easy to fully and strongly support Mandala’s philosophy, and she is a big believer and supporter of educating the whole child. So when she is not entertaining her children or cooking German meals for her family, she keeps taking childcare education classes – because that’s just her passion. She moved from Germany to the US about 8 years ago and held various jobs including editorial assistant for a Hollywood based magazine and executive assistant working in a German preschool. She is truly looking forward to bringing her passion to Mandala Children’s House while maintaining the Mandala spirit. Diana and her husband are proud parents of Georgios, who is in the Grasshopper class, and Leonidas who is in the Cocoon class.


TANJA FABEL
Board Member – Fundraising
Email: tanja.fabel@gmail.com
Tanja Fabel is one of the newest members of the Board, as she also joined in October 2016. Tanja believes children can thrive best in environments designed to nurture and support wholesome learning and creative play to instill a positive sense of self. Mandala’s philosophy of learning through one’s senses while supporting imagination and creative play is the perfect approach to encourage emotional and social growth, while providing the right foundation for the educational challenges ahead. Tanja grew up in Germany, but she moved to Honolulu, HI 10 years ago with her husband. She worked as a Registered Nurse in Hawaii and is licensed to work in California as well. This background adds a valuable contribution to the overall make up of the Board. Her work stretched across many cultural, socio-economic and age boundaries, while at the same time instilling that sense of “Aloha” into her daily routine. Tanja’s younger son Noah is attending Mandala’s Ladybug class, and her older son attended Mandala for a short time before entering.


Mandala Mission: “Nurture the child. Support the family. Nourish the staff.”