Board | The Open School


The Board of The Open School operates in a manner different to most school boards. They respect and uphold the autonomy and authority of the School Meeting in its capacity to govern and operate the school. Board members support the school by raising awarenesss, raising funds, and serving as a guardian of the school in the larger community.

Jonathan M. Cassie, Ed.D., is the Board president at The Open School and serves as Director of Curriculum and Innovation at TVT Community Day School in Irvine, California. He is the author of the award-winning Level Up Your Classroom, published by ASCD in 2016. A former high school principal, he has been an educator for more than 20 years; his doctorate in Educational Leadership is from UCLA. For more on him, see or

James O’Neil Spady, Ph.D., serves as the Board secretary and is an historian whose research and teaching includes race, class, and the history of learning. He is the father of a daughter who eagerly wanted to attend a democratic free school (before there were any in Orange County). An amateur mechanic and engineer of gasoline and electric vehicles, he values craft skill equally with academics.

Matt Dale was one of the original founders of The Open School and has been in public education since 2003. He currently teaches social science courses at Paloma Valley High School and implements democratic principles into his classroom. He’s the father of two precocious girls, and is dedicated to supporting their self-directed education. In his spare time, Matt coaches basketball and golf, and occasionally finds time to go on a nice hike.

Bradley Petersen holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Chapman University and a Bachelors in Business Administration. He has been the real estate broker/owner of Pay It Forward Realty since 2006.  He has donated over $10,000 to schools and high schools sports teams.

Carin Agiman joined the Board in 2017. She is a graphic designer, entrepreneur and relentless dabbler who loves great branding, making people laugh & walking in the sun. You can learn more about her and her work on and on

Carol Ann Soltz is a mama of two spirited girls, wife of a very smart engineer, and owner of The Write Intention (, a non-profit consulting and grant writing company. She relentlessly pursues quiet moments to practice yoga, study the Enneagram, and write words that aren’t grant related. Her blog, in its infancy, is found here:

Ronan Hallowell, Ed.D., is a Learning Scientist at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Education at the USC Rossier School of Education. He is a student of the worlds wisdom traditions and a singer of Lakota ceremonial songs. His website is

Andrew Lee is the special education teacher and coordinator at New Millennium Secondary School in Gardena, CA. He is thrilled to support The Open School and wishes many of his students could experience a free democratic school model!