Our People

Lauren Maples, Director

Back in 2005, while teaching yoga and dance in public and independent schools, Lauren became interested in why there was such disparity between successful, happy learning environments and those that struggled. Through inquiry and observation, she developed the Bija approach, which strives to create a fulfilling and engaging educational experience that’s grounded in the real […]  read more

Kat Murphy, Educational Director

Kat has taught preschool/pre-k in NYC for the last seven years. She has a BA in Theater and is currently studying for her MS in Early Childhood Art Education.  Kat grew up in New Hampshire and was constantly outdoors as a kid. She usually had some sort of costume on and could often be found […]  read more

Chelsea Hanawalt, Lead Teacher

As a child, Chelsea loved exploring nature, riding her bike, and playing sports. She was also very imaginative, acting out fantastical stories and characters. She did a lot of children’s theater, and, when she wasn’t performing, she was playing softball. Chelsea’s high school drama teacher was a big influence in her life and she knew […]  read more

Charlie Smarts, Classroom Teacher

As a child Charlie loved basketball, football, dodgeball and running through the woods of North Carolina whenever possible. He knew he wanted to work with kids after spending a summer in California with his sister and her children. Seeing their rapid growth over a short time made him want to become a better role model. […]  read more

Holden Compton-Lujin, Assistant Teacher

Holden was a very imaginative kid. He loved to read and to play pretend with stuffed animals. Even from a young age, he loved to play games on the computer, which included going to the library every week to get new books and CD-ROMS. Holden started working with kids through America Reads which solidified just […]  read more