Gitanjali Pillai

Gitanjali Pillai

  • Position:IBDP Coordinator
  • Qualification:M.A Applied Psychology (Clinical), B.A Psychology, B.Ed.


Gitanjali is a distinguished educator and clinical psychologist with a deep passion for psychology, student voice advocacy, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Her dedication to these principles has significantly shaped her teaching methods and educational leadership style.

Since August 2019, Gitanjali has been an integral part of Symbiosis International School, where she serves as the Head of the Psychology Department and, since 2022, as the Extended Essay Coordinator. Under her leadership, her students have consistently achieved grades above the global average in DP Psychology for four consecutive exam sessions. Her deep understanding of psychological principles and ability to make them engaging have been key to her students’ success.

Beyond classroom teaching, Gitanjali is a strong advocate for integrating psychological insights into educational practices, prioritizing students’ mental health and well-being. Her roles as an Emotional Support Teacher and Inclusion Specialist underscore her dedication to creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

She ensures that all students, including those with learning challenges or special educational needs, have equitable access to education. She collaborates with parents and teachers to implement Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) and fosters inclusive practices to support diverse learners.

Gitanjali firmly believes in empowering students to take an active role in their own learning. As the EE Coordinator, she guides students through the rigorous research process, encouraging them to explore their interests and develop critical thinking skills. She conceived “JamborEE,” an annual research conference promoting interdisciplinary research and broader perspectives among students. This initiative has become a cornerstone of the school’s academic program, reflecting her commitment to fostering a culture of inquiry, student empowerment, and student-teacher collaboration.

Her dedication to research is evident in her co-authorship of an internationally published case report on social skills intervention for children with Autism (International Journal of Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health) and a book chapter on media impact on adolescent development (Bhave’s Textbook of Adolescent Medicine, 2nd Edition). These publications highlight her contributions to advancing knowledge in psychology and education.

As a Homeroom Teacher since 2020, Gitanjali has overseen the academic progress and personal development of her students. She coordinated educational activities and maintains regular communication with students, parents, teachers, and administrators, ensuring a supportive and nurturing environment. Her students affectionately refer to her as “homie,” a testament to her approachability and dedication to their well-being.

Gitanjali’s extensive experience with the IB program is a testament to her expertise and dedication. She has been an IB Examiner for DP Psychology and the Extended Essay since 2021, playing a crucial role in maintaining the quality and integrity of the assessment process. She was selected & has been involved in re-marking “at-risk” Psychology extended essays and was selected as a category 1 EUR (Enquiry Upon Result) examiner for Extended Essays in May 2023. Her meticulous attention to detail and commitment to fair and accurate assessments are highly valued in the IB community.

As an IB content contributor, Gitanjali has additionally been involved in curriculum development, participating in focus group discussions to critique the current DP Psychology course and develop new content. Our school’s selection for a trial assessment and the nomination of her students by the IBO for writing the Internal Assessment Proposal in Psychology highlight her influence and expertise in the field.

Gitanjali’s contributions to the IB community are complemented by her involvement in developing an international curriculum on 21st-century teaching skills. Selected as one of four IB educators from India, she participated in a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. This project aimed to equip pre-service and in-service teachers in developing nations with essential skills in critical thinking and collaborative problem-solving.

Her leadership skills are further demonstrated by her previous role as the IB Standard Lead, where she led a skilled team in drafting the school’s IB Inclusion Policy, and as the IB Category Lead for Learning for the Diploma Program’s review cycle (2024-2026). These roles reflect her strategic vision and ability to lead teams toward achieving institutional goals.

Gitanjali’s background in psychology, with a decade of clinical practice, complements her educational leadership. Her previous roles as Assistant Manager & Coordinator at a prominent Child Development Centre in Mumbai and as a Clinical Psychologist at various institutions and hospitals have equipped her with a deep understanding of child and developmental psychology. This experience enables her to support students with diverse needs effectively. She has developed training programs, mentored clinicians, and conducted assessments, counselling, and interventions for children with developmental disorders.

Gitanjali holds a Master in Clinical Psychology from Mumbai University, a Bachelor in Psychology from Sophia College, Mumbai, and a Bachelor in Education from Pune University. Her academic background, combined with her extensive experience, positions her as a leader who understands the complexities of education, the human mind and the importance of fostering a holistic learning environment.

She is also a certified Duke of Edinburgh’s Youth Leader, guiding students in their personal development through the International Award for Young People (IAYP). Her research interests include learning styles, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and the effects of early interventions on developmental disorders.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Gitanjali is a multifaceted individual with personal interests in writing, painting, cycling, animal welfare, marathons, and trekking. These activities reflect her vibrant personality and commitment to personal growth and well-being.

Gitanjali Pillai’s career is a testament to her unwavering dedication to psychology, her advocacy for student voice, and her extensive experience with the IB program. Her work continues to impact students and educators, fostering a culture of excellence, inclusivity, and lifelong learning.