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.

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

Anthony Meyer is passionate about learning. As a high school math teacher he works hard to ensure that his students experience the beauty of math and its usefulness in the ‘real world’. Anthony earned bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Philosophy from Calvin University and has a master’s degree in Teaching. As a father of four children under the age of seven, he enjoys spending his time getting jumped on, throwing children in the air, and working out so he can keep doing the aforementioned activities. Among his many talents, he is an (unofficial) expert at answering the question ‘Why?’

Alexis Haft serves as the board’s secretary and was the school meeting elected board member for the 2023/2024 school year. She was a student at The Open School for over two years and has returned as an intern/staff member for the virtual program. While she was a student, she served as the virtual school meeting chair, as well as the chair for five different committees. Those experiences gave Alexis the opportunity to show up as an inclusive and fair-minded leader for her community. She believes strongly in the personal and emotional freedom that self-directed education provides and that everyone deserves the right to choose how and what they want to learn. You can read her published blogs about Self-Directed Education here.

Dylan Ozmore is a Partner at The Schutz Company, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in organizational transformation. He began his career on the Wall Street trading floor before discovering a passion for organizational culture and performance. For the last decade, his focus has been on leadership, strategy, and the human dynamics of business. He spends his free time with his wife, 2-year-old daughter, and two cats in their home in San Diego. He has self-published two books of poetry and numerous essays on philosophy, spirituality, politics, and business.