Faculty & Staff


Nitai Deranja

Nitai Deranja, MA

Executive Director; Yoga Studies & Yoga Teacher Training, Director

Nitai received his Bachelor of Arts in Humanistic Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of California at Berkeley, and an education credential and Master of Arts in education from the University of California at Davis. He was founding director of the first Education for Life elementary school in Nevada City, California, and established the first Education for Life high school in 1997. He has taught parenting and teacher training workshops for over 30 years and is the author of The Art of Joyful Education, For Goodness’ Sake: Helping Children and Teens Discover Life’s Higher Values, and co-author of Journey to the Heart of Nature.

Carol Anandi Gray

Carol Anandi Gray, MTh, MS, LPCC

Associate Dean; Holistic Psychology & Health, Director; Yoga Studies & Yoga Teacher Training, Faculty

Anandi received her Master of Science in Counseling from Southern Oregon University, a Master of Theology from Graduate Theological Foundation with an emphasis in Raja Yoga, and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Simmons College. Anandi is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a private practice in mental health counseling. She is a certified yoga instructor and registered E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance. Before joining Ananda College, Anandi taught for 20 years at Southern Oregon University.

Susan Usha Dermond

Susan Usha Dermond, MA, MLS

Associate Dean; Education for Life, Director

In 1997, Susan founded the Portland, OR, Living Wisdom School and served as director there until joining the college faculty in 2012. She also teaches the international online Education for Life courses for teachers and parents, having created the program in 2009. Susan’s first 12 years of professional experience included teaching public high school and college freshman English, and as both a college and public reference librarian. Her switch to alternative education began with teaching at the original Living Wisdom School in Nevada City, California where she served for 12 years as teacher and administrator. She is a member of the honor societies Kappa Delta Pi in Education and Beta Phi Mu in librarianship. Her book, Calm and Compassionate Children, is published by Random House. She is also the co-author of Inner Wisdom Series: A Spiritual Curriculum for Kids.

Julian Potter

Julian Potter, MArch

Sustainable Living & Communities, Director

Julian holds a Master of Architecture degree from University of Oregon and a double major in Sustainable Living and Mathematical Science from Maharishi University of Management (MUM). During his years at MUM, Julian was instrumental in spearheading a new green dormitory project as well as the beginning of a series of hands-on renewable energy projects. After graduating, Julian co-taught classes in the MUM Sustainable Living Department. Julian has worked for six years as an energy efficiency consultant and has helped a large range of small and large businesses and organizations save energy and attain LEED Certification.

Byasa Steinmetz

David Byasa Steinmetz

Individual Studies (World Cultures & Consciousness), Faculty

David’s experience includes 40 years of scientific work, initially in observational astronomy and later in optical metrology. He is retired from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and is the author of numerous articles and papers concerning astronomy and optical technology. For more than a decade he has been writing and lecturing on the topic of yugas, a cyclic world-view based on yoga philosophy, and is co-author of the book The Yugas.

Rebecca Davis, PhD

Inspirational Arts, Faculty

Rebecca received her PhD in English Literature and Critical Theory from the University of Washington. She earned her Master of Fine Art in Creative Writing from Purdue University where she won Purdue’s Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2001 for a fiction workshop. She most recently taught intermediate and advanced literature, writing and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Washington. For the past 12 years, Rebecca taught fiction writing workshops, personal essay writing workshops, as well as basic and advanced composition courses at major universities. She has taught special studies in literature, advanced expository writing, courses on the modern novel, interdisciplinary writing for psychology and sociology, and more. She is a published and award-winning short story author. Before turning to scholarly writing and teaching, she learned the craft of nonfiction writing and research by working for two decades as a ghostwriter, newspaper reporter, editor, and freelance writer.


Dana Lynne Andersen, MA

Inspirational Arts, Faculty

Dana is a multimedia artist who has taught and exhibited on three continents.  With a Masters Degree in Consciousness Studies she uses art a catalyst for evolutionary ideas, showing in venues such as the Institute of Noetic Sciences where she was artist in residence. Her work has been featured on the covers of numerous books and magazines and her visionary thinking has been featured in newspapers, radio and television. Described as a visionary artist for the consciousness movement she is the founding director of The Academy of Art, Creativity and Consciousness. 

Dana received her bachelor’s degree Phi Beta Kappa cum laude in philosophy from Colorado College, and her Master’s Degree in the Study of Consciousness from John F. Kennedy University. In 1986 she founded her first Transformative Arts Studio (HeartCore Studio 1986-1989 Berkeley, California) – a nexus for the pioneering integration of Art and Spirituality. In subsequent studios (Tree of Life Studio Denver, Colorado 1989- 1996), and at Ananda Village (1996- 2009) she created studio laboratories for the evolution of consciousness through whole brain/whole Being creative process. In 2002 she founded  “Awakening Arts”, an international network of artists committed to the creation of art that is uplifting and transformative. In 2009 she began teaching in Italy and India, establishing The Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness and developing a certification program in Transformative Arts approach.  The Academy is centered in Umbria, Italy with satellites in India as well as well as in the United States (California, Oregon and Hawaii) Dana is known as a loving and inspiring teacher.

Bruce Burger

Bruce Burger, MA, RPP

Holistic Psychology & Health, Adjunct Faculty

Bruce is the founder of Heartwood Institute, one of the world’s leading centers for professional training in massage and somatic psychology. He is the author of Esoteric Anatomy: The Body as Consciousness (North Atlantic Books, 1998), a scholarly exploration of energy in the healing arts. He holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the New School for Social Research. He has been a member of the faculties of the University of Nevada and Rutgers University.

Sandra Priya McDivitt, MA

Individual Studies (Business & Leadership), Adjunct Faculty Education for Life, Adjunct Faculty

Sandy ‘Priya’ McDivitt holds a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a minor in Spanish and a Master of Arts in Multicultural Education from the University of Colorado. Now retired from public education, her diverse experience in education has spanned over 40 years. She was a Master Teacher for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District in California and received the National Outstanding Elementary Teachers of America award in 1972. She went on to co-author High Intensity Language Training curriculum in response to the influx of Southeast Asian refugees in the 1980s. She has done extensive professional development in ESL and has taught in this capacity for the University of Colorado. She has been a presenter at the Colorado Migrant Education and International TESOL Conferences. She was the Colorado representative for the Migrant Education Program Improvement Center, Western States and the facilitator for the Migrant Parent Advisory Council in the St. Vrain Valley School District. Her interest in innovative education was sparked by the Education for Life schools, and she took these principles to charter school education. She was the co-founder and executive director of Forest Charter School, a successful K-12 WASC accredited Personalized Learning program, serving from 2001-2009. In 2009 she traveled to India where she became the founding principal of the Dihika Living Wisdom School in Gurgaon, India, an Education for Life school.

David Eby

David Eby, BM

Inspirational Arts, Adjunct Faculty

David began his musical studies at age 6 and made his public debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony at age 16. He attended the Eastman School of Music where he received the Performer’s Certificate as well as his Bachelor of Music, under the tutelage of Paul Katz of the Cleveland Quartet. He continued his studies at Indiana University with Janos Starker, and became the Principal Cellist of the Evansville Philharmonic and the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. He is founding cellist for the musical storytelling troupe “Tales & Scales”, where he developed composing, improvising, and acting abilities. He also performed with Pink Martini from 1997-2003, which took him to stages throughout the US and France. He has been on the faculty of Ananda College, and for the past 12 years has woven his study of yoga and consciousness into new transformative techniques for orchestra and choral groups.

David LaBriere

David LaBriere, BS

Individual Studies (Inspirational Arts, Business & Leadership), Adjunct Faculty

A professional photographer for over 20 years, David LaBriere is the founder of Rainsong Photography, specializing in nature and commercial photography. He has exhibited throughout the Northwest and California, and has taught photography in both Oregon and California, including his Focus with Spirit hands-on course in digital photography. He received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts from Bowling Green State University, Ohio.

Geri Grubbs

Geri Grubbs, PhD

Holistic Psychology & Health, Adjunct Faculty

Geri Grubbs is a Jungian Analyst and teaching member of the North Pacific Institute for Analytical Psychology, in Seattle. She received her doctorate in marriage, family, and child therapy from the California Graduate School of Family Psychology, and graduated from the C. G. Jung Institute, Zurich, Switzerland. For the past 18 years, Geri has taught the psychology of Jung, dreams, and sandplay therapy at various clinics, institutes, and in her private practice. Her publications include Bereavement Dreaming and the Individuating Soul (Nicolas Hays, Inc., 2004), a book on dreams had by those suffering from the death of a loved one. Geri presently maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Woodinville, WA.

John Gorman

Sustainable Living & Communities, Adjunct Faculty

John holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Spanish from San Francisco State University, a Bilingual/Cross Cultural Teaching Certificate from San Diego State University, and a Master of Arts in Education from Lewis & Clark College. He studied French at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and Spanish culture and language at the University of Complutense in Madrid. John also has an extensive background in sustainability. He has studied permaculture design at Oregon State University, Experiential Alternative Construction in Latin America, traditional, earthen cob construction with the Cob Cottage Company, and sustainable communities at Ananda Laurelwood. As well as leading design and construction for sacred, sustainable earthen structures in Oregon, he has taught Supportive Leadership at Ananda College, Gaston, Oregon, and taught bilingual ESL Education at Lewis & Clark College.

Karin LaBriere

Karin LaBriere, BA

Holistic Psychology & Healing, Adjunct Faculty

Karin LaBriere began studying Qigong and Tai Chi with many wonderful teachers over 35 years ago, including 10 years of study with Master Sik Hung Chan from Shanghai, China. Master Chan singled out Karin to perform for other students for the fluidity of her example, and privately referred to her as “Master Karin.” She has studied Wu and Yang styles of Tai Chi, various forms and practices of Qigong, and Shiatsu. She has practiced with Kenneth Cohen (The Way of Qigong), Chung-liang Al Huang (Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain) Jim Pearson, and Shanghai qigong doctor Mary Yee, to name a few. Karin has attended the University of Pavia in Italy, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a minor in History from the University of New Mexico, Alburquerque. She has taught Tai Chi and Qigong at Clark College, Vancouver, Washington, and at various locations in Portland, Oregon.

Rachel VanBoven

Rachel VanBoven, MIT

Education for Life, Adjunct Faculty

Rachel has taught in a variety of contexts over the past 11 years, including working as a reading tutor for high needs populations and as an environmental educator. She has been a first grade teacher since 2007, when she received her Master’s degree in Teaching from the University of Washington. Rachel has led a teacher in-service for a classroom game she developed and has presented a paper on environmental education at the Biomimicry 3.8 Global Conference. She has taught in the teacher training program at Ananda College and has supervised interns in her classroom since 2012. Her passion as a teacher is integrating environmental and spiritual education with academic learning.

Pavani Johnson

Pavani Johnson

Inspirational Arts, Adjunct Faculty

Pavani received her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Theater Arts/Dance from Santa Clara University (SCU). Her early training and passion was classical ballet, which she studied seriously for over 10 years at schools in the Bay Area including San Francisco Ballet. Her experience with modern dance began while a dance major at SCU, where she had the opportunity to work with Cliff Keuter and Elina Mooney, two dancers/choreographers formerly with the Paul Taylor Company in New York. They formed a professional company, New Dance Company San Jose, and Pavani was hired as a full company member. She was also one of only a few dancers chosen to perform with the acclaimed avant-garde Joe Goode Performance Group in San Francisco. Utilizing her broad range of dance experience and over 25 years as a yogic practitioner, Pavani provides her students with an opportunity to discover their own unique expression beyond any particular dance style.

Narani Toby Moorhouse

Toby Moorhouse, BA

Education for Life, Adjunct Faculty

Toby holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from California State University, Sacramento and a Life Multiple Subject teaching credential. She is the author of the book and CD Supporting Your Child’s Inner Life. Toby has 30 years teaching experience, 28 of them teaching in the Education for Life schools. She has taught in the Ananda College of Living Wisdom EFL Teaching Intensives and has led seminars in Education for Life at various locations in the US and Italy.

Andy Neal, PhD

Education for Life, Adjunct Faculty

Andy has 20 years of experience in adult education and training. He taught Developmental Education and English for nine years at community colleges and adult literacy centers in Baltimore and Albuquerque. He earned a PhD in Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies at the University of New Mexico. For the last 10 years, Andy has worked in private industry as a project manager and training program manager for dozens of organizations.

Irene Schulman

Irene Schulman

Education for Life, Adjunct Faculty

Irene holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing and co-founded the Living Wisdom High School at Ananda Village in 1997. She has applied the Education for Life philosophy in her teaching for over 15 years.

Janakidevi Steinmetz

Jo Anne Janakidevi Steinmetz, MA

Guest Lecturer

Janakidevi has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California at Humboldt, with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education. At one time she held a California Teaching Certificate for Preschool Education. She also earned a Master of Arts and did her clinical training at the college of Transpersonal Psychology in Counseling Psychology. She did Ministerial Counseling and Therapy in Palo Alto for a number of years.

Advisory Board

Nischala Cryer

Nischala Cryer

Co-Founder of Ananda College

In 2003, Nischala co-founded Ananda College in California, serving as its first director and board chairman. Before her time with the college, she had 30 years of professional experience as a producer, writer, designer, magazine editor, illustrator, publicist, photographer and film creative director for such companies as Hewlett-Packard, Stanford University, United Airlines, Intel, Sony, and Toshiba. She has written for Yoga Journal, Healing Retreats & Spas, and Yoga International, and is the author of a book on Ananda Village, Reflections on Living: 30 Years in a Spiritual Community.

Nakula Cryer

Nakula Paul Cryer

Co-Founder of Ananda College

Nakula attended the University of Illinois studying architecture. He is a founding member of Ananda Village (1970) with responsibility for developing Ananda Dairy, which at its height produced fresh milk, yogurt, and cheese for the community. He has  extensive experience in the world of construction ranging from work for National Car Rental and Avis to the use of alternative building modalities such as rammed earth and solar power. He served for many years on the Ananda Village Council and has worked with the Nevada County Planning Commission.

Joseph Cornell

Joseph Bharat Cornell, BS

Advisory Board

Joseph Bharat Cornell is one the most highly regarded nature educators in the world today. His first book, Sharing Nature with Children, sparked a worldwide revolution in nature education and became a classic. His six Sharing Nature Books are in 20 languages and have sold nearly a million copies. Bharat’s second book, Listening to Nature, has inspired thousands of adults to deepen their relationship and experience of nature. Mr. Cornell is the founder and director of Sharing Nature Worldwide, a popular, well-loved nature awareness program for children and adults. He is the honorary president of Sharing Nature Japan, an organization of 11,000 leaders and 224 regional associations. He received the prestigious Honorary Award from the National Association of Interpretation, “for his vast contribution to the field of natural science education” and numerous other awards from countries, organizations and colleges throughout the world. He has a Bachelor of Science in Nature Awareness from CSU Chico.

Boris Fritz

Boris Fritz, MA

Advisory Board

Mr. Fritz is an engineer at Northrop Grumman Aerospace and has three patents in that field, in which he has worked for 29 years. He researches and teaches Asian Studies in the College of Science and Engineering at Loyola Marymount University. He is the founder of the national Nanomanufacturing Technical Group and is on the National Advisory Board of the Manufacturing Enterprise Council. He has been a consultant for JPL, and has been a guest speaker at many Universities and conferences in the US and abroad. In 1998 he received the Outstanding Engineering Achievement Merit Award of the Engineers’ Council of California. He has done research on a new interpretation of history based on the belief of some 30 ancient civilizations, that the precession of the equinox affects cycles of history. He has given talks at the Conference on Precession & Ancient Knowledge on this subject. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Occidental College, a Master’s degree in Asian Cultures and Languages from Claremont McKenna Graduate School, and has passed his Doctoral exams at UCLA in the History of Religions, with minors in the History of India, the Sanskrit Language, and the Ancient Near East. He has been a member of Self Realization Fellowship since 1964 and is a practitioner of the Filipino Martial Arts.

Walter Cruttenden

Walter Cruttenden

Advisory Board, Guest Lecturer

Mr. Cruttenden is Director of the Binary Research Institute (BRI) in Newport Beach, author of Lost Star of Myth and Time and The Great Year Adventures, and writer/producer of the award-winning documentary The Great Year. BRI’s focus is understanding the cause and consequences of solar system motion and the phenomenon of the precession of the equinox. Cruttenden’s work indicates that the mechanics of this well-known celestial motion have been misdiagnosed and may be largely the result of solar system motion, resulting in long term natural cycles known as yugas. This is the main topic of Mr. Cruttenden’s writings, lectures, podcasts, The Cosmic Influence, and the annual Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge, which he directs. Earlier in his career, Mr. Cruttenden was a financial markets innovator having founded and served as CEO of two well-known investment banking and brokerage firms, and he is presently serving as CEO of Acorns, a micro investing platform that enables people to automatically save and invest via a smart app. He has been a board member for many venturebacked and public companies, and presently serves on the Advisory Board of Ananda College of Living Wisdom. Cruttenden has appeared on The History Channel, PBS, and other television and radio shows speaking on history and astronomy.

Robert Schoch

Robert Schoch, PhD

Advisory Board

Dr. Robert Schoch, a full-time faculty member at the College of General Studies at Boston University since 1984, earned his PhD in Geology and Geophysics at Yale University. He holds a Master of Science and Master of Philosophy in Geology and Geophysics from Yale, as well as Bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Geology from George Washington University. Dr. Schoch has been quoted extensively in the media for his pioneering research recasting the date of the Great Sphinx of Egypt using geological analyses, as well as for his work on ancient cultures and monuments in such diverse countries as Peru, Bosnia, and Japan. Dr. Schoch’s research has been instrumental in spurring renewed attention to the interrelationships between geological and astronomical phenomena, natural catastrophes, and the early history of civilization. Dr. Schoch has appeared on many radio and television shows and is featured in the Emmy-winning documentary The Mystery of the Sphinx which first aired on NBC. He is the author of many books, both technical and popular, including the trilogy with R.A. Mcnally: Voices of the Rocks: A Scientist Looks at Catastrophes and Ancient Civilizations, and his recent book The Parapsychology Revolution: A Concise Anthology of Paranormal and Psychical Research. He is co-author of an environmental science textbook used in universities across the United States and has contributed to numerous publications on geology, parapsychology, and ancient civilizations.

Vanamali Devi

Vanamali Devi

Advisory Board, Guest Lecturer

Vanamali received a Master of Arts Honours degree in philosophy from the University of Madras, where she graduated with a first rank and also was a gold medalist. Her professor, T.M.P. Mahadevan is well known for his books on Advaita Vedanta. Vanamali is the author of numerous books about ancient Vedic scriptures including: Sri Rama Lila, Sri Krishna Lila, Sri Devi Lila, The Lilas of The Sons of Shiva, Nitya Yoga, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, and Sri Hanuman Lila. She also is the author of the cookbook The Taste Divine: Indian Vegetarian Cooking the Natural Way.


Ashima Sipser

Ashima Jennifer Sipser

Office Manager

Ashima has worked in business administration, management, human resources and training roles over the last 25 years within a variety of industries including high tech, executive recruiting, venture capital and entertainment. Whether working in cross-functional teams in a project management capacity, training adult learners in corporate management practices, or supporting senior executives, consulting partners and board directors in their daily business activities, Ashima has a strong service orientation and collaborative style. Ashima joined Ananda College in January 2013, to support the college administration, faculty and students with systems and processes to help us grow and offer our programs to growing student body.