Aron Van Alstine

Chair of the Music Department


B.A., Music
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Teacher since 2003

How many years have you worked at Oak Grove?

Since 2003.

Why do you work at Oak Grove?

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.

A quote that inspires your approach to your job.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.” -Marcel Proust.

Where is your special spot on campus?

The Pavilion.

Coffee or Tea?

It’s complicated. Just kidding. It’s actually pretty simple. I usually drink coffee in the morning and ginger tea after lunch. Except when I’m especially energetic in the morning and I just drink black tea. And sometimes in the afternoon when I need a pick-me-up I drink green tea. Maybe that is a little complicated. But at least it’s not weird or anything, right?

What makes an Oak Grove education unique?

There is no way to be anonymous at Oak Grove. If you are shy you will be famous for it.

How do we prepare students for their life ahead?

You also can’t hide behind your strengths at Oak Grove. We ask students of all ages to try new things. We ask all students/teachers/administrators/parents to identify their challenges and to seek avenues of personal growth.

What outdoor experience has been most impactful for you?

Hard to pick. When I was in the Peace Corps in Bolivia we used to climb up the mountain to visit the Incan ruins. The condors were enormous.

The best live music performance/concert you ever attended is …

Wow. The questions are hard. I AM a music teacher. We’re super lucky to have two great independent music venues in Ojai right now: The Underground and Greater Goods. You can’t go wrong. But if I had to choose two, I’d pick Tool (at a crowded street fair in San Diego around 2005) and Erykah Badu (at the Staples Center).

Which teacher in your life affected you greatly? How?

I had a guitar teacher when I was 15. He showed me that there was more to growing up than just getting a job.

Name something that nobody knows about you.

I’m from Minnesota.

Person (dead or alive, famous or not) that you’d most like to share a meal with.

My wife, Meghan!

Name a place you’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t yet.

Any place in NYC where Jim Campilongo is playing.

What is your most bizarre OGS experience?

Running into Karen Hesli on the flight to Minneapolis.

Favorite Oak Grove expression?

“Oak Grove wins.” (At the end of any game of a competitive nature.)