Faculty & Staff

Leadership Team

Jodi Grass

Head of School

I don’t feel as though I “work” at Oak Grove. I spend my days here out of deep devotion to the philosophy of the school.
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805-646-8236 ext.110
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Director of High School, Russ

Russ Bowen

Director of High School

High School Spanish Teacher

“Oak Grove prepares students for their life ahead by helping students find their voice. Our graduates are able to speak up, express their opinion, ask meaningful questions, and inquire into what piques their curiosity or gives them pause.”
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805-646-8236 ext.224
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Elementary School, Ron

Ron Schindel

Director of Elementary School

“What makes an Oak Grove education unique is the relationship/partnership between teachers, students, parents, and administrators.”
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805-646-8236 ext.211
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Laurie Cornell

Director of Early Childhood Program
Admissions Associate

An Oak Grove education is one that values the whole child, and nurtures a deep understanding of one’s self and the world they are a part of.
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805-646-8236 ext.108
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Oak Grove School Admissions, Krista

Krista Swanner

Director of Admissions

“In my most recent role as Director of Admissions, I get to share my experiences as a parent of three Oak Grove “lifers,” and as a teacher in both early childhood and upper elementary, and as a member of this unique learning community. It is so exciting to meet people from all over world who are seeking a different approach to education.”
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805-646-8236 ext.109
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Director of Teaching & Learning, Meredy

Meredy Benson Rice

Director of Teaching and Learning

“This school is in my bones. I am deeply committed to the mission of the school and believe that we are involved in the most important work ever – the transformation of the world, one student at a time.” Read more »

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Director of Operations, Jacqueline

Jacqueline Valle

Director of Operations & Associate Director of Development

I first came to Oak Grove when my son was an infant to pick up my then five year old brother. During that initial visit, I knew this would be the school for my son (he was enrolled two years later). In just a few years, I was able to put my past development experience to use and work at Oak Grove. My role has expanded and I continue to learn and grow here at school.
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805-646-8236 ext.153
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Warren Petersen

Director of Outreach

“Oak Grove provides students with way more than a functional education; it prepares students to go out into the world prepared for life, inspired, and equipped with an understanding of themselves.”
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805-646-8236 ext.103
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Sydney Robertson

Director of Residential Life
High School
Registrar and ESL Teacher

“I love being at a school that involves all stages of education and that values educating all members of its community, from toddlers to teens to staff and parents.”
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805-646-9384
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Sandra

Sandra Torres

Business Manager

805-646-8236 ext.130
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Faculty & Staff

(continued in alphabetical order)

Jaymie

Jaymie Arquilevich

K-8 Registrar

“I believe in the capacity of our school to create significant change by fostering a deeper, broader exploration of human nature.”
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805-646-8236 ext.100
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Third Grade teacher, Serra

Serra Benson

Third Grade Teacher

Students are valued for who they are as individuals not by how they can compete with others.
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805-646-8236
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Jeanette Berkovitz

After-school & Summer Program Director
Mindfulness Teacher

I believe in the school’s mission of educating the whole child.
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Brittany Borowitz

High School Science Teacher
Admissions Associate

Oak Grove is a school where I can not only teach scientific skills and reasoning and instill a passion for the subject matter, but also go camping, coach cross country, cook vegetarian meals for our dorm students, travel to India, go by my first name, walk with students outside, sit in silence, laugh with my coworkers, wear Patagonia to work, and truly be myself.
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High School Art Teacher, Mia

Mia Bortolussi

Art Teacher for High School & Middle School

I enjoy working with a team to make something beautiful.
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Oliver Cornell

Besant House Parent

A uniquely kind community and curriculum that challenges everyone to ask big questions and look deeper into this human experience.
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Eric Cowen

Group C Instructional Aide

My educational philosophies and practices of both teaching and learning have been fostered and enlightened at Oak Grove. The food rocks as well!
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Angela Daugherty

Bookkeeper

I was immediately drawn to Oak Grove because of its belief in building a student’s relationship with nature. I am also appreciative to work for a community that provides a safe environment for students to grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
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Carrie

Carrie DeVaney

Administrative Coordinator to the Head of School
Besant House Parent

I work at Oak Grove because I get to be in a beautiful environment, surrounded by like-minded people working to support children to become aware, open hearted individuals. I can’t think of anything better.
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First Grade teacher

Christine Elmore

First Grade Teacher

“…I believe in the philosophy of the school.”
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Fourth Grade, Louise

Louise Everett

Fourth Grade Teacher

It is a place where everyone can learn and grow.
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Middle School Humanities Teacher, Aaron

Aaron Gardner

Middle School Humanities Teacher

Oak Grove School offers a unique opportunity to think about the distinction between teacher and learner, and ultimately collapse that hierarchy all together. I work in a beautiful environment with a caring community. It’s pretty awesome.
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Middle School Teacher, Kalli

Kalli Gedwed

Middle School Math & Science Teacher

Students are not always given the answers to the questions they seek answers to. As teachers we guide them in ways to find the answers and let them find their answers for themselves.
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Kindergarten Teacher, Bettina

Bettina Hohner

Kindergarten Teacher

I found Oak Grove School 14 years ago when I was looking for a school for my daughter Luna. I was looking for a school that would not only focus on the intellectual but also on the social and emotional growth of a child. A school that embraces and sees the whole child and supports and fosters a child’s deep curiosity and joy of learning while appreciating cooperation, diversity, and peaceful communication.
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High School History teacher

Will Hornblower

High School History Teacher
Parent Education Coordinator

Oak Grove creates a climate of learning that empowers students to take control of their own education. Students thrive on a beautiful campus and with teachers that are compassionate and dedicated to their jobs. As a teacher, I work here because I teach every high school student for four years. This allows me to develop close relationships with my students and to witness their growth in a meaningful way.
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Adrienne

Adrienne Hoskins

Child Development Specialist
School Editor

I love that Oak Grove teachers and staff are lifelong learners themselves. We are encouraged to be thoughtful, self-reflective, and to infuse our skills and passions into the life of OGS school days.
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Spanish Teacher, Eva

Eva Iacomini

Elementary School Spanish Teacher

I was very excited to contribute to Krishnamurti’s school in some way and also very aware of how much and how deep my own learning process here was going to be as a teacher and as a human being.
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Marga Kasper

Maintenance

Just being outside will do the trick.
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805-646-8236 ext.153
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Mary Kelley

5th Grade Classroom Teacher

What makes Oak Grove unique is that it provides the time and space for the immeasurable kind of learning to take place.
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Darrell Forthe

6th Grade Classroom Teacher

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Preschool Teacher, Hope

Hope Kremer

Preschool Teacher

I view early childhood as the “sweet spot” where children learn through their exploration of the world and through the countless ways that they share their discoveries with adults and with each other.
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Preschool Teacher, Emma

Emma Larkan

Preschool Teacher

We help them see that who they are is enough.
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High School Dance Teacher,Cassidy

Cassidy Linder

High School Dance Teacher

I believe in the mission of the school, and the teachings of Krishnamurti. I also love the ability to pass down my love for dance to the students who have such an open mind.
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Nick

Nick Lennon

Kitchen Support

I believe in the mission of the school, and the teachings of Krishnamurti. I also love the ability to pass down my love for dance to the students who have such an open mind.
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Ashton MacSaylor

High School English Teacher

Oak Grove, to me, represents the heart of the idea of “Ojai” that I grew up with. It is a place where all are honored and welcome, a place that values trust and cooperation and rejects fear and competition, a place where I get to watch growing minds flower into their full potential.
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Laila Muller

Kindergarten Teacher

I like the way that teachers and students can explore and grow together. I also like the emphasis on developing deep personal relationships with one another. At Oak Grove we have the freedom to be flexible and follow the shape of our passions and our students’ interests.
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805-646-8236
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Athletic Director, Bo

Bo Qalander

Athletic Director

“The greatest risk is to spend your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”
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Dass Richardson

Elementary Art Teacher

As a parent at Oak Grove, I have always appreciated the willingness on the teachers’ part to work with me and my husband to support our kids. The school as a whole aims to build bridges and create connections through parent education, family activities, student conferences, and regular communications.
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Carrie Rubalcava

Preschool Teacher

I work at Oak Grove because I believe in its mission. I strongly believe that play is the work of young children and the learning that happens within that setting is powerful. I am grateful to be at a school where I can support the social emotional growth of children due to our small teacher-to-student ratio. I can also say that I am here because of my co-workers who create an atmosphere of kindness, support, and genuine commitment to the well being and growth of children.
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Marie

Marie Samson

High School Math Teacher

At Oak Grove School, we pay equal attention to the knowledge of academics and of the self. I believe both are essential to create a loving world.
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Debra

Debra Rose

High School Ceramics Teacher
Database Administrator
Librarian

Working at Oak Grove School gives me the opportunity to use my skills and experience in service to a greater good. I hope I am making a contribution to the education of young people.
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Woodshop Teacher, Tara

Tara Saylor

Woodworking Teacher

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Preschool Teacher, Terra

Terra Solecki

Preschool Teacher

I love working with young children and their families and I appreciate the unique support and experience that I feel families and students receive from Oak Grove school.
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Eric Sullivan

High School Music Teacher

Its a fun place to be! I believe in Oak Grove’s approach to education and the way we work with students. I also appreciate the creativity and passion of my fellow teachers.
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Carol Sylvester Gray

Second Grade Teacher

Practicing mindful teaching and child/parent relationships.
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Jennifer Thompson

College Counselor

“College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.”
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Oak Grove Music Chair, Aron

Aron Van Alstine

Chair of the Music Department

I have personal relationships with parents, teachers, administrators, and students. While my role in the school is completely unique, I still feel like I’m part of a team.
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Film Teacher, Travis

Travis Weedon

Film Studies and Creative Writing Teacher

To be a true place of learning, it’s essential to be more than just a school, and that understanding is at the heart of the Oak Grove community, for our teachers, our students, and our parents.
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Richa Badami

High School Theater Teacher and Coach
School Musical Production Director

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