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Dr Shobha Vaddadhi

Dr Shobha Vaddadhi
The Voice of Indomitable Spirit
5 Values which everyone must cultivate – Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi, Prema and Ahimsa
should be used in a balance which is determined by one’s passion and position.
                                                      - By Ann Tissa Pallickal
Dr. Shobha Vaddadhi – the Principal of Jabriya Indian School (JIS), and a woman who faces each day by striking a balance between her heart and her mind… Her journey as an educationist still holds an element of surprise for her as she had never intended to enter the teaching field.
Her sights were firmly set on becoming an administrator. However, her parents desired that she become a teacher instead of taking IAS. And so she did. She did her B.Ed. and started teaching English in 8th Std. She looks back at that time fondly and asserts that her parents were right. In teaching, she found inexplicable joy and grew as a person. In every student, she seeks to find the sometimes elusive trait that lurks in the shadows.
What may seem to most people to be a lack of learning ability, she saw as a difference in the child’s pattern of understanding. And undaunted by the supposed futility of trying to teach students who were expected to fail, she persevered admirably by finding the best method to meet each student’s needs. This made her evolve as a teacher. Indeed, the teacher within her had awakened.
And yet, she was driven by her passion to become an administrator. So, she resigned her job as a teacher and pursued her Master’s in Public Administration. After 2 years of studying, she went to meet her professor on the completion of her exams, intending to thank him.
In turn, she found him handing her an envelope that stated that she was appointed as the Vice Principal of Heritage School, Rushikonda. Vice Principal – at the mere age of 23. It was upon asking her professor whether he believed she could handle the job that he uttered the words that she lives by to this day – “Nobody will think that you can take on. It is you who should think that you can take on.” And so it was decided.
She was becoming a Vice Principal, an administrator… With this decision, she had the joy of knowing that she had achieved a balanced wish as she was fulfilling both her parents’ dream of her working in a school, and her own dream of becoming an administrator. And this was only the beginning… At the age of 25, she became the Principal of Kakatiya Public School, Visakhapatnam, and then at 26, the Naval Public School. She says that she had ruthless, fantastic bosses and so she does her job by being “a ruthless boss, and a friend otherwise.”    
As a woman of thought, she is not a Principal whose judgement and decisions are clouded by the mere ideals of principles. She feels that children come from different cultures and have different passions, and therefore require a particular trait or value. At JIS, she wants her students to understand the noble values and know where they are to be applied as there is a time and place for each value. “One must work out his own value system.”
However, she believes that there are 5 values which everyone must cultivate – Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi, Prema and Ahimsa. She says that all these values should be used in a balance which is determined by one’s passion and position. She drives this point home by stating that a mother must mould her child with patience and love, but being an administrator often calls for certain ruthlessness, as one cannot patiently wait while one’s subordinates falter.
Since she is so clear-headed, dilemmas are a rarity. And whenever they do occur, she always falls back on any of the scriptures, as she knows she will find an answer devoid of bias there. Like this, she wants her students to learn how to face life head-on. She says, “Our basic problem is, the moment we see a problem, we try to shirk and move away from it. Then it becomes cancerous. Then it appears like a monster and that monster will ultimately devour you.” Instead, she wants her students to be brave enough to welcome problems, accept issues and be part of the solution.
A different outlook – this is what sets JIS apart from other schools. Every problem is turned around. Children aren’t dragged to school but come because they want to; they find exams enjoyable instead of fear-inducing.
Apart from being trained for academic excellence, there are co-curricular activities, club activities and there is great focus on co-scholastic areas like etiquette and cognitive thinking as well. All these assessments ensure quite a lot of work for the teachers, but the school has eased the load by having the entire school on e-base.
With 4 servers, 120 projectors, a computer in every classroom and the whole system connected by LAN, a great deal of time and energy is saved, and the 
attention of the students is captured. Each classroom also has its own library. Another specialty of JIS is its huge number of Arab students. As in Indian school, these students get an interesting insight into India as well. JIS also has a double identity: CBSE syllabus by day, followed by the Cambridge syllabus in the afternoon.
JIS’ current target is to zero-down on paper in 3 months. However, Dr. Shobha Vaddadhi envisions JIS on auto-pilot. “Students should be self-disciplined. Teachers should know their roles. Job description should be very clear.” If this can happen within the next 5 years; if people can feel the palpable change in Jabriya, just like the scent of a jasmine… then she will have achieved her mission.