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 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. For more on James Spady, see

Ingrid Shultz 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.

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.

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!

Matt Zimmer is a serial entrepreneur from Newport Beach, CA.  After receiving his BSE and MSE from the University of Michigan, he moved to California as Director of Project Management at Niagara Bottling.  He launch his entrepreneurial career by founding StackTek (, an innovative single-serve wine packaging company, in 2010 followed by Spiffy Technology Inc in 2016.  His latest venture, Ee (, is a full service marketing firm devoted to helping highly technical businesses in the fields of MedTech, FinTech, AI, and Blockchain distill their enterprise into consumable messaging.

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.

Sarah Strain 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.

Adil Karamally is a serial entrepreneur with broad experience in business and nonprofit education Adil has a track record of rapidly building budget and capacity at multiple nonprofits. Adil’s strengths are a natural fit with Open School’s self-directed teaching system. Besides California, Adil has lived and worked in South Asia, Australia and the U.K.