Faculty & Staff

Starting with our Head of School and Leadership Team, scroll down to browse faculty and staff listed alphabetically. Click on the read more link to hear our staff and teachers answer a few questions about their experiences and inspirations.

Contact Us

Parents can contact faculty and staff directly via Parent Square. For all other inquiries, simply refer to our Contact Page for more information on how to best get in touch.

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.”
Read more »

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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Elementary School, Ron

Ron Schindel

Director of Upper Elementary &
Middle School

“What makes an Oak Grove education unique is the relationship/partnership among teachers, students, parents, and administrators.”
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Laurie, Early Childhood Program

Laurie Cornell

Director of Early Childhood Program and Early Elementary

“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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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,” 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 the world who are seeking a different approach to education.”
Read more »

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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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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Sandra

Sandra Torres

Business Manager

805-646-8236 ext.151

Faculty & Staff

(continued in alphabetical order)

Jake

Jake Ainsworth

P.E. and Gardening Instructor, 1st–3rd Grade

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.”
Read more »

Richa, Theater Instructor

Richa Badami

High School Theater Teacher and Coach
School Musical Production Director

“Honoring the human, directly lived experience more than anything else, giving importance to relationship, loving communication, deep listening, conscious dialog. ‘These are a few of my favorite things’ that make an Oak Grove education unique.”
Read More»

Erin Bennett

High School English Teacher 

“Upon a campus embedded within a landscape both cultivated and wild, an Oak Grove education invites one to think about their relationship to the natural world and how that relationship informs one’s sense of community and responsibility.”
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Director of Teaching & Learning, Meredy

Meredy Benson Rice

Director of Teaching & 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.”
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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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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.”
Read more »

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

First Grade Associate Teacher

“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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Chrystalla Cruz

Preschool Teacher

“It’s undeniable that Oak Grove, with its beautiful outdoor spaces for children to explore and create, would be a wonderful setting in which to work. My even greater desire, though, is to be part of a nurturing environment for children and teachers alike where authentic, meaningful learning takes place.”
Read more »

Ali Danch

Pastoral Care Coordinator

“Oak Grove invites all who are involved to bring their whole selves, and I want to be a part of that.”
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Sage Danch

Fifth Grade Teacher

“I am a former student of Oak Grove. My experience of moving and growing within the confines of the school is still one of the most positive experiences of my life. I am privileged to feel that way. Now as a parent and a teacher, I feel even more privileged to soon watch my own children have their own experience at the school and to play a part in all our other students’ lives who are now walking their own path. Finally, the staff is wonderful, the campus is beautiful and calming. There are many reasons to work at Oak Grove.”
Read more »

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.”
Read more »

Christine Elmore

Second 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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Jaime, IT Coordinator

Jaime Flores

IT Coordinator
Communications Associate

“The school offers a space for exploring our relationships with each other and nature through the lens of the perennial principles of the spirit.”
Read more »

Dr. Darrell

Middle School Science Teacher

Alison, High School Ceramics Teacher

Alison Frey Andersson

High School Ceramics Teacher

“Working at Oak Grove means being surrounded by good people working together to learn and grow. It’s a special place.”
Read more »

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 altogether. I work in a beautiful environment with a caring community. It’s pretty awesome.”
Read more »

Gianni, Second Grade Teacher Aid

Gianni Garubo

Second Grade Assistant Teacher

“As a ‘lifer’ at OGS I know firsthand the power and impact the OGS community had on my development and my life, it is my great pleasure to be able to contribute to that community again but now as a faculty member.”
Read more »

Middle School Teacher, Kalli

Kalli Gedwed

Middle School Math 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.”
Read more »

Kindergarten Teacher, Bettina

Bettina Hohner

Kindergarten Teacher

“I found Oak Grove School a long time ago when I was looking for a school for my daughter. 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.”
Read more »

Camille Holly

High School Spanish IV Teacher

“Students are respected and listened to at every stage. They are empowered to be the best version of themselves.”
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Kaitlyn Hornblower

Resource Teacher

“Oak grove is an inspiring, beautiful and nurturing place to be for students, parents and teachers alike.”
Read more »

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 who 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.”
Read more »

Adrienne

Adrienne Hoskins

Child Development Specialist
Copy 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.”
Read more »

Spanish Teacher, Eva

Eva Iacomini

Elementary and Middle 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.”
Read more »

Marga Kasper

Grounds and Campus Security Manager

“Just being outside will do the trick.”
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Mary Kelley

Sixth 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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Aileen Konz

Business Office Staff

“I just love walking through the campus. Seems like every spot has its own beauty.”
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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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Cassidy Linder

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 open minds.”
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Jeremiah

Jeremiah Lyon

Front Office & High School Registrar

“I work at Oak Grove because of how much having a supportive, thoughtful, and kind environment means to me for my own personal growth and also what that provides for children in their growth into becoming adults.”
Read more »

Ashton MacSaylor

High School Electives 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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Joe, Maintenance Team

Joe Manfredi

Maintenance Team

“It’s great to take care of the beautiful campus and community.”
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Bridget Matson

First Grade Teacher

“Oak Grove is a beautiful campus surrounded by caring adults who nurture the development of the whole child. I want to spend my days, and have my children spend their days, in a place filled with kindness, connection with nature, and possibility.”
Read More »

Nina

Nina Mecagni

Third Grade Teaching Aide

I have been part of the Oak Grove School community for twenty years because supporting this entirely new approach to education is the most vital thing one can do for humanity and the world.
Read More »

Laila, Kindergarten

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.”
Read more »

Lucy Pacheco

Administrative Assistant to the Head of School

“When you are a light to yourself, you are a light to the world” —Krishnamurti
Read more »

Athletic Director, Bo

Bo Qalandar

Athletic Director and Camping Coordinator

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” —Randy Komisar
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Sydney Robertson

High School Registrar
Learning Resource Teacher
ESL Teacher
Director of Residential Life

“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.”
Read more »

Debra

Debra Rose

Database Administrator
High School Psychology Teacher
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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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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Woodshop Teacher, Tara

Tara Saylor

Woodworking Teacher

“Oak Grove is such an incredible place to work. A place to come and be present as your whole self.”
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Nile, Sous Chef

Nile Sherman

Sous Chef

“I work at Oak Grove because it’s a family, not a job.”
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Posy Smith

Business Office Staff

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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Dave Solis

Facilities Manager

“Measure twice, cut once.”
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Eric Sullivan

High School Music Teacher

“It’s 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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Stevie Sweet

After Care Program Teacher

I have always loved the idea of being able to work with students in an outdoor, nature based environment. Oak Grove School provides this environment and so much more.
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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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Brian Thornhill

Art Teacher

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” —Pablo Picasso
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Rosita Tower

Business Office Staff

“I am inspired by Krishnamurti’s teachings and happy to be a part of their application through education.”
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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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Nate Voellm

Marketing & Design Associate

“Oak Grove is a great community with a beautiful vision. It’s a privilege to be here!”
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Lindsey Yeager

HS Learning Resource Teacher and Coding Teacher

“I love Oak Grove’s caring and engaging educational philosophy and community. I’m excited to work here to support students and learn alongside them.”
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