The board of The Open School Orange County 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 awareness, raising funds, and serving as a guardian of the school in the larger community.

Sarah Strain is the Board President at The Open School and has focused her career on working with children and families in the fields of childcare, camps/recreation, education, and mental health. She has her bachelor’s degree in Human Services (with focus on mental health and early childhood education), and her master’s degree in Sociology. Sarah is passionate about working with the community and is happy to be involved in efforts to raise awareness about The Open School and democratic education.

Court Price serves as the Board Secretary and is the father of a current Open School student. After spending the early part of his career as a graphic designer and audio engineer, he moved to the managed IT services industry where he now works as an IT Operations Manager. Court was intrigued by how frequently people within each industry had no formal education on the subject. One field being technical, and the other creative made no obvious difference. It was common for those who were passionate about their work to need no external push to perform, often attaining the same positions as those with advanced degrees. A desire to support the self-directed model of education and its ability to facilitate students creating their own fulfilling path in life ultimately motivated him to join the board.

Ingrid Shultz serves as the Board Treasurer and is an Open School OC parent who thought traditional education was just fine until she became a mother of a student it would actually affect.  Now she is a true believer in the philosophy and results of open and democratic education.  She has worked in Accounting & HR for 20 years and is currently the CFO of a manufacturer of environmental monitoring equipment.  In her limited free time, she enjoys camping, hiking, baking, all things nerdy pop culture and obsessing about ASOIAF.

James O’Neil Spady, Ph.D., 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. For more on James Spady, see

Anne Steketee, M. Ed., is a PhD candidate at Chapman University in the Cultural and Curricular Studies emphasis. Currently, she is teaching in the Integrated Educational Studies degree program in the College of Educational Studies (CES) and is providing program support for the master’s program in special education. She works as a graduate research assistant, writing about race, dis/ability, teacher preparation, and inclusion. Anne is currently teaching pre-service educators at Chapman University at the undergraduate level with a strong mental health focus through the lifespan with particular emphasis on trauma.  In addition, she serves as an educational advocate in Southern California, utilizing a pro bono model, in order to reach underserved and marginalized populations. Finally, she developed a strong emphasis with college access issues and has worked the past five years enabling students to clear their pathways to undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate placements.

Corrie Reil – Erickson was born and raised in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula, she graduated from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia with a BA in Sociology, and returned to her local community. Her professional career has been dedicated to helping improve outcomes for children and families. She has fifteen years of experience in human services related fields ranging from child welfare to education, but her favorite title is “Mom”.  While working in the education system, taking master’s in education classes, and raising a school aged child, she found herself questioning the processes in place – frustrated and disillusioned by the lack of available local alternative education options she scoured the internet thinking “there has to be another way”. She is excited to bring her skills and expertise to the team, and thrilled to become part of The Open School Community.

Shannon Stoker 

Dr. Thomas D’Angelo

Madeline Piscopo