OEF Awards $100,000 in Grants

Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News, May 31, 2019

The Ojai Education Foundation awarded an unprecedented $100,000 in grants to more than 40 teachers, students and staff at its annual grantee reception May 8. The reception took place at the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room. The purpose of the event was to honor these teachers and students who received grants for the 2019-2020 school year.

OEF members and grantees gather at the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room May 8 to honor the more than 40 members receiving the awards.

OEF members and grantees gather at the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room May 8 to honor the more than 40 members receiving the awards.

Nine students were honored with grants, and the rest were teachers. This was the first time students have been offered grants, and it was so successful that OEF will offer them again next year, OEF Board Member Nan Davis said. The student grantees were Nordhoff students Matthew Etheridge, Cassidy Rosenbaum, Torrey Nicholson and Angela Zirpolo. These four each received $500 to participate in various individual projects. The other five student grantees were Nordhoff students who each received a $200 service learning grant to travel to Thailand. These five are Mayra Murillo, Lesly Bernabe, Faith Green-Roy, Clarissa Perez and Arley Sakai.

Faculty and staff who received major grants were Bill Wagner, Jeanine Murphy, Denis Rimpa, Becky Beckett, Sherrill Knox, Javier Ramirez, Andrea Vazquez and Cindy Israel. Bill Wagner received $5,000 to be able to put on the OUSD Music Community Celebration. Wagner said: “Sometimes it's difficult for students to obtain information that will help them and their parents to make quality choices about the future of their music education, including purchasing instruments and accessories and what to look for in choosing a quality school after high school. Additionally, it will be an event that showcases alumni from the department that have experienced just what these students have to look forward to. The workshops will highlight musical interests that might not be available to students in their daily music programs.”

Becky Beckett, Chaparral High School Principal is joined by her Science Students as she receives her notification letter of receiving a Grant from the Ojai Education Foundation to fund Science supplies for the 2019 - 20 School Year.

Becky Beckett, Chaparral High School Principal is joined by her Science Students as she receives her notification letter of receiving a Grant from the Ojai Education Foundation to fund Science supplies for the 2019 - 20 School Year.

Many faculty members received education grants as well, for various improvements to classrooms and other buildings. “The primary work of the Education Foundation is to raise money to fill in the gaps that federal and state and local funding does not provide for our public schools, so that we can enrich instruction, enrich professional development for our teachers,” OEF President Tiarzha Taylor said. “We do that by awarding grants to our teachers.”

Current OEF members are Victoria Bortolussi, Linda Burr, Cam Campbell, superintendent Andy Cantwell, Nan Davis, Laura Denne, Glenn Fout, Helen Hardenbergh, Susan Leech, Kirsten Martinez, Jessica Mendiola, Judith Hale Norris, Salvador Rivera, Joyce Robinson, Maggie Rogers, Asli Ruf, Tiarzha Taylor and Anna Wagner.

OEF Advisory Board members are Michael Addison, Caryn Bosson, Nicole Botti, Brett Bradigan, John Broesamle, Michael Caldwell, Phil Caruthers, Eileen Fay, Christine Golden, Lynne Goldfarb, Therese Hartmann, Carol Holly, Rikki Horne, Debbie Johnson, Dennis Jones, Tonya Peralta, Ronnie Rodriguez, Olga Singer, Lillian Tally and Cheryl Widders.

For more information about upcoming OEF events, visit https://www.ojaied.org.

OEF Plants Seeds for Big Dreams over 25 Years

Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter, May 3, 2019

The Ojai Education Foundation held its 25th anniversary celebration April 28 at the Ojai home of former president Michael Addison and his wife, Susan.

The honorees of the celebration, from left to right, top cumulative donors Eileen Laber and Louanne Fay, Jane Weirick and founding treasurer Dick Weirick. Photo by Stephen Adams.

The honorees of the celebration, from left to right, top cumulative donors Eileen Laber and Louanne Fay, Jane Weirick and founding treasurer Dick Weirick. Photo by Stephen Adams.

The foundation honored founder Cindi (Perez) Davis; founding treasurer Dick Weirick and his wife, Jane, and family; and top cumulative donor Louanne Fay and her daughter, Eileen Laber.

OEF member Victoria Bortolussi spoke of Davis’ vision, since she has moved from Ojai and could not attend the event. “What Cindi Perez Davis dreamed over 25 years ago, with support from each of you, is a legacy that lives on,” Bortolussi said.

Louanne Fay, who founded Aqua-Flo Supply with husband Kenneth, was honored with their daughter, Eileen Laber, as the top cumulative OEF donors. Lauber praised OEF as being “a powerful voice” for education in the Ojai Valley.

“It is imperative that we value public education because we live in times that are, to say the least, troubled,” said former OEF president Michael Addison. “There is a moral imperative to support public education that provides students with a sense of their history, of their place as members of this community and of the larger community and of their necessary engagement in preserving and strengthening that which is strong and forward-thinking in our community, in our state and in our country. That is, at root, why I support public education why I support the Ojai Education Foundation because we are helping to build the future of these children who are so dear to us.”

Seven of past and current OEF presidents pose together, from left to right: Steve Jung, (2000 to 2005), Michael Addison (2012 to 2016), Therese Hartmann (2017), Mike Caldwell (2008 to 2009), Thayne Whipple (2006 to 2007 and 2010), Tim Williamson (1998 to 1999) and Tiarzha Taylor (2017 to present). Photo by Stephen Adams.

Seven of past and current OEF presidents pose together, from left to right: Steve Jung, (2000 to 2005), Michael Addison (2012 to 2016), Therese Hartmann (2017), Mike Caldwell (2008 to 2009), Thayne Whipple (2006 to 2007 and 2010), Tim Williamson (1998 to 1999) and Tiarzha Taylor (2017 to present). Photo by Stephen Adams.

OEF President Tiarzha Taylor told the crowd that on April 28, 1994, the founders may not have predicted their impact, driven by their desire “to inspire our children to live out their dreams.” The OEF has raised more than $1 million since its inception and has “done so much to shape the next generation and the Ojai Valley,” she continued.

In addition to the hundreds of educator grants OEF has funded, it recently launched a student grant program and a Volunteers in Public Education program.

Donors, teachers, principals, students and many more were in attendance, including incoming Ojai Unified School District superintendent Tiffany Morse. Bronwen Cull-Michels, a Nordhoff High graduate, who is now a teacher and counselor at her alma mater, said the 2010 OEF grant for a Mac computer, which is still in use, “opened up a whole new world to us. …OEF has been a huge contributor to keeping Nordhoff at the forefront of technology.” Cull-Michels described a new mural of a tree being painted on a Nordhoff campus wall, reminding students “we are all tied together just as the leaves of the tree are.” OEF, she continued, “has allowed us to dream big.”

OEF founders shared a passion for lifting the community through public education, Taylor said. This shared desire brought a group of people together who did not know each other when the foundation was founded 25 years ago. The organization’s anniversary is an opportunity, she said, “to consider what the next 25 years will bring.”

Performing for the reception was Nordhoff High School ninth-grader Ella Giulianni, and Dennis Jones & Sgt. Pepper Band with Jones, Lynn Coulter, Tom Kolb and Bill Horn.

On May 8, OEF is holding its grantee reception. This is when the teachers and students who received grants for the 2019-2020 school year are honored. “The primary work of the Education Foundation is to raise money to fill in the gaps that federal and state and local funding does not provide for our public schools, so that we can enrich instruction, enrich professional development for our teachers,” Taylor said. “We do that by awarding grants to our teachers.”

Current OEF members are Victoria Bortolussi, Linda Burr, Cam Campbell, superintendent Andy Cantwell, Nan Davis, Laura Denne, Glenn Fout, Helen Hardenbergh, Susan Leech, Kirsten Martinez, Jessica Mendiola, Judith Hale Norris, Salvador Rivera, Joyce Robinson, Maggie Rogers, Asli Ruf, Tiarzha Taylor and Anna Wagner.

OEF Advisory Board members are Michael Addison, Caryn Bosson, Nicole Botti, Brett Bradigan, John Broesamle, Michael Caldwell, Phil Caruthers, Eileen Fay, Christine Golden, Lynne Goldfarb, Therese Hartmann, Carol Holly, Rikki Horne, Debbie Johnson, Dennis Jones, Tonya Peralta, Ronnie Rodriguez, Olga Singer, Lillian Tally and Cheryl Widders.

OEF is awarding an unprecedented $100,000 in grants to 30 teachers and students this year. The reception will take place at the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 8. To RSVP, go to https://www.ojaied.org/grantee-reception.

Tuesday, November 27 marks "#GivingTuesday", the 6th annual globlal giving movement that kicks off the Holidays and Charitable Giving season!  During this time of reflection and giving back, we hope you will consider a year-end donation to OEF!

Your donation will fund both the OEF Endowment, as well as a diverse array of grants from teachers, principals and administrators.  And starting for the first time this year, OEF's impact will expand to fund grants for students as well! 

With your help, we will positively impact over 200 teachers and 2,300 students this year! Right now, we are considering grant requests totaling over $100,000 in urgent classroom needs that we cannot fund without your support including a:

  • $50,000 investment in technology upgrades,

  • $20,000 investment for added Mental Health Counseling and Emotional Skills resources for students across the District,

  • $17,000 investment in Art for a Maker’s Space at Matilija JHS and Ceramic Equipment at Nordhoff HS.

  • $7,000 investment in GATE Certification for all 3rd, 4th & 5th Grade Teachers across the District, and a

  • $6,000 investment in online, interactive Math curriculum for 500 Middle School Students at Matilija and more!

And with this year marking our 25th anniversary, we hope you will consider a $250 or $2500 donation! Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to continuing our legacy of enriching lives through public education in the Ojai Valley for the next 25 years and beyond!

OEF Spotlights Education (From Ojai Valley News)

Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter

Ojai Education Foundation shined the spotlight on a teacher, student and volunteer, naming Nordhoff science department chair Natalie Hay, Teacher of the Year; Nordhoff senior Abilene Runyan, Student of the Year; and  full-time school volunteer Asli Ruf, Volunteer of the Year, at the Ojai Education Foundation’s annual fundraiser breakfast Oct. 11, held at Nordhoff High School.

More than 200 people jammed the gymnasium.

Hay has been a science teacher at Nordhoff since 2013. Last year, she brought a hands-on lab to the district’s fifth- and sixth-graders, as well as an after-school enrichment science class to Mira Monte Elementary. 

At Nordhoff, Hay led nearly 40 students on a science trip to Iceland over the summer, along with fellow science teacher Naiymah Houston. She left the audience with an anecdote about her last day as a high school student: “We each came in and found a typed poem on our desks … (it) stated, ‘Come to the edge,’ he said. ‘We can’t, we’re afraid,’ they replied. ‘Come to the edge,’ he said. ‘We can’t, we will fall,’ they replied. ‘Come to the edge,’ he said. And they came, and he pushed them, and they flew,” Hay said. “I, too, want that for my students.”

Runyan attended Meiners Oaks Elementary, Matilija Junior High and is now a senior at Nordhoff. In summer 2017, Runyan attended the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Sciences (COSMOS) at UC Davis, which inspired her to set a goal of providing Galileoscope kits for her classmates. “My peers and classmates are all deeply, deeply intelligent and wonderful people who push me … inspire me and motivate me each day in class,” Runyan said. “To me, each of them are my student heroes.” 

Along with the help of her teacher Hay, she applied to OEF for a grant to buy 50 kits from OEF. COSMOS teachers then donated 100 more kits. 

A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Ruf has been a full-time volunteer in the district for the past 12 years, including stints as president of the Topa Topa PTA, the Matilija PTO and the Nordhoff Parent Association. She spends much of her time supporting arts in district schools, since she has an art education and background. “I have to tell you that it is an honor to be sharing this town with all of you,” Ruf said. “I am so proud to be living in a country, a state and town where access to excellent education is a right, and not a privilege.” 

Both Ruf and husband Kevin, president of the Ojai Unified School District board, have three children enrolled in Ojai public schools.

Congratulations to OEF's 2018 Education Heroes!

Each year, OEF recognizes an “Education Hero” for his / her outstanding service to public education in the Ojai Valley. OEF's Education Heroes are honored at our annual Fall Fundraiser. (For information on our 2018 fundraiser, go to “OEF Celebrates!”)

For the 1st time in OEF history, and in a nod to our 25th anniversary, OEF is proud to recognize 3 individuals as our 2018 Education Heroes:

  • Natalie Hay, Science Department Chair & Teacher, Nordhoff High School,

  • Abilene Runyan, Senior Honors Student and OEF Grantee, Nordhoff High School, and

  • Asli Ruf, Full-Time Volunteer, Ojai Unified School District

Read more about each of our Heroes below!

Natalie Hay
2018 Education Hero - Teacher of the Year

Natalie Hay, Nordhoff High School Science Department Chair and Teacher (1st from Left), along with Nordhoff High School Science Students in Iceland during the Summer of 2018. Hay and fellow Nordhoff Science Teacher Naiyma Houston, lead nearly 40 Nordhoff students to Iceland as part of a Science Exploration Trip.

Natalie Hay, Nordhoff High School Science Department Chair and Teacher (1st from Left), along with Nordhoff High School Science Students in Iceland during the Summer of 2018. Hay and fellow Nordhoff Science Teacher Naiyma Houston, lead nearly 40 Nordhoff students to Iceland as part of a Science Exploration Trip.

Natalie grew up in a Lompoc, CA and has fond memories of helping her mother, a teacher, in her 2nd / 3rd grade classroom. In the 8th grade, Natalie started thinking about becoming a teacher, and set her sights on a career in education.

Natalie is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Chemistry, with Minors in Math and Science Education, and a Master’s degree in Education from the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, with a teaching credential in Single Subject Science, Chemistry & Physics.

Natalie started as Chemistry teacher at Nordhoff High School during the 2013 - 14 school year. She choose to teach in Ojai because she felt it was a special community to live and work.  As a science teacher at Ojai Unified School District, Natalie has taught Chemistry, Honors Lab Physical Science, AP Physics and Geoscience - a class the NHS Science department is designing to meet the applied and conceptual physics concepts required by the new education standards in Science - the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

In further support of integrating NGSS into student learning, Natalie worked with teachers and students across school sites as the district’s “Teacher on Special Assignment” (TOSA).  During the 2017 - 18 school year, she brought hands-on lab and practice-based learning experiences and terminology to 5th and 6th grade elementary school students.  Natalie also provided an NGSS Professional Development workshop for all K - 6th grade teachers. In addition, Natalie led an after school enrichment science class at Mira Monte once a week.  And in the Summer of 2018, she lead a Science Exploration trip to Iceland with nearly 40 Nordhoff students along with Naiymah Houston, fellow Nordhoff High School Science Teacher.

Due to her passion, work ethic and drive, Natalie has quickly risen to Chair the Nordhoff Science department.  Natalie is a popular young teacher, bringing new ideas and strategies to the department, as well as serving as a role model for females in a male-dominated discipline.

“I speak on behalf of the Nordhoff Science Department when I say we are so thankful for all the support we've had from OEF these past few years and beyond. It takes a community to make things happen, and I've known no better community than Ojai. This is a wonderful place to learn, work, teach and live!  I am honored to be recognized by OEF in this capacity this year, but know I could not do what I do (and love doing) without so many others equally as deserving of this recognition. I am so grateful for all my fellow Science teachers who are a huge part of what makes working and teaching at Nordhoff such a joy. Thank you for the recognition and for celebrating and supporting the work that teachers and students are doing in Science.”- Natalie Hay, 2018 OEF Teacher Education Hero of the Year


Abilene Runyan
2018 Education Hero - Student of the Year

Abilene Runyan, Senior Honors Student at Nordhoff High School, pictured with Galileoscopes donated to Nordhoff by teachers from the California State Summer School for Math and Science (COSMOS) at UC Davis. The COSMOS teachers donated 36 scopes to Nordhoff to supplement the $2,500 OEF grant Abilene, and Science teacher Natalie Hay, received to fund the purchase of 50 scopes for Nordhoff students use.

Abilene Runyan, Senior Honors Student at Nordhoff High School, pictured with Galileoscopes donated to Nordhoff by teachers from the California State Summer School for Math and Science (COSMOS) at UC Davis. The COSMOS teachers donated 36 scopes to Nordhoff to supplement the $2,500 OEF grant Abilene, and Science teacher Natalie Hay, received to fund the purchase of 50 scopes for Nordhoff students use.

Abilene is a true Ojai native, born just a few blocks away from Libbey Park. As a child, she attended Meiners Oaks Elementary and Matilija Junior High Schools. Now a senior at Nordhoff, Abilene maintains a 4.3 GPA and has a passion for math and science which she credits her teachers for developing in her.

During the Summer of 2017, Abilene attended the rigorous "California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science" (COSMOS) at UC Davis where she studied Astrophysics. Her experience that summer inspired her so deeply, she desired to find a way to fund the purchase of Galieoscope Kits for her fellow Nordhoff students to use back in Ojai. That Fall, Abilene worked with Natalie Hay, Nordhoff High School Science Teacher and Department Chair to submit a grant to OEF to fund the kits. Abilene's desire to "Pay it Forward" for other students resulted in OEF awarding Abilene and Natalie a $2,500 grant to fund the purchase of 50 Galileoscope Kits. Later in the school year, Abilene’s COSMOS teachers heard about the OEF grant, and donated an additional 36 kits to Nordhoff for student use! Now in her Senior Year at Nordhoff, Abilene will work with Natalie Hay to design and implement curricula that will use the scopes to explore the world of Astronomy at Nordhoff.

In addition to her studies, Abilene is also the Assistant Coach for Youth Volleyball, runs Track, is Co-President of the Interact club, and has also worked on campus as a Peer Tutor. Abilene is fond of dancing, playing the piano, and is an avid reader. She credits much of her academic success to an early love of reading encouraged by her parents and her teachers.

“Growing up through the Ojai Unified School District has been such a gift. I have had amazing teachers, made lifetime friendships, had unique and engaging educational opportunities, and been shaped into the young woman I am today. The Ojai Education Foundation works tirelessly to ensure the best experience for all students in the Valley, and I am so grateful to be a part of this community.” - Abilene Runyan, 2018 OEF Student Education Hero of the Year


Asli Ruf
2018 Education Hero - Volunteer of the Year

Asli Ruf (center), leading her Art Class at Topa Topa Elementary School. Asli volunteers her time teaching art, and serving in key leadership roles in several PTOs across the district to fundraise and improve the quality of the educational experience for students, teachers and families in the Ojai Valley.

Asli Ruf (center), leading her Art Class at Topa Topa Elementary School. Asli volunteers her time teaching art, and serving in key leadership roles in several PTOs across the district to fundraise and improve the quality of the educational experience for students, teachers and families in the Ojai Valley.

Asli was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey.  Both of her parents were professors. Her parents and her brother, Burak, still live in Istanbul.  Asli graduated from Lycee Francais in Istanbul and spent a year attending art school in Paris before coming to Los Angeles to attend Otis College of Art and Design from which she graduated with a B.A. in graphic design.  Asli became a US citizen in 2005 and holds dear the American ideal of a free quality public education for ALL. For the past twelve years, Asli has been a full-time volunteer in Ojai Unified School District.  Asli has served as President and officer for the Topa Topa Elementary School PTA, the Matilija PTO and Nordhoff Parent Association.  Given her art background, Asli is passionately committed to arts education in our schools and spends a lot of her volunteer time engaged in and supporting arts in our schools.  Asli and her husband Kevin have three children, all of whom attend Ojai public schools.

“I value that Ojai is a place where relationships, education, music and the arts are emphasized and I could see myself thriving here! Teaching is what I’ve known I wanted to do / saw myself working toward for years now. I love to learn and work with people of all ages and backgrounds.” - Asli Ruf, 2018 OEF Volunteer Hero of the Year

"Ojai Education Foundation Donates Over $46,000 to Support Public Education in the Ojai Valley!"

"Ojai Education Foundation Donates Over $46,000 to Support Public Education in the Ojai Valley!"

Abby Runyan, Nordhoff High School Junior, along with Nordhoff Science teachers Naiyma Houston and Natalie Hay, take a look through a science telescope funded by the Ojai Education Foundation (OEF). OEF provided a grant to fund 50 telescopes for Hay’s class in addition to providing grants to more than 20 other teachers throughout Ojai Valley public schools for the upcoming 2018 – 19 school year.

2017 Education Hero!

2017 Education Hero!

Bill Wagner began teaching in Ojai in 1988. He graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio with degrees in Trumpet Performance and Master’s Degree of Music Education. After working a short four-year stint at International Music Festivals in Michigan, he came back to Southern California to begin his teaching career. Bill currently teaches Symphonic Band, String Orchestra, Gold ‘n Blue Choir, Chamber Choir, Marching Band and Jazz Band at Nordhoff High School and Advanced Band at Matilija Jr. High School. Mr. Wagner has also taught Women's Choir, Music Appreciation, Jazz Choir and AP Music Theory. His love of sports also led him to help coach softball and the JV girls basketball team for seven years. The Nordhoff Music Department is also well known for producing quality musical theater. With the help of MAESTRO and a core group of outstanding production staff, the department continues to produce yearly musical theater successes. Bill has now directed from the pit for 25 musicals.

 

Beginning with only ten students in the band and eight in the choir, the music department is now recognized as one of the most musical and well-rounded small high school programs across the nation and continues to provide a nurturing environment for over one hundred students per year. His students, in addition to earning top honors at regional festivals, also garner accolades and top awards at national festivals during their yearly spring tours. Highlights of his travels with his students have been trips to Vancouver, Canada, New Orleans, Louisiana, four trips to New York City with three Carnegie Hall performances and the amazing 10-day tour of Austria and Germany – traveling with over 100 students.

 

Mr. Wagner was founding director of the Ojai Summer Band, Director of Ojai Camerata, Principal Trumpet with the Ojai Brass Quintet and Conejo Valley Symphony, Music Director at Holy Cross Lutheran Church and has sung with the Ventura and Los Robles Master Chorales. He is an active trumpet player, clinician and adjudicator throughout Southern California.

 

Bill is married to Anna Cho Wagner and together they are proud parents of six-year old Charlotte.

Thank You for a Great 2016 - 2017 School Year!

Thank You for a Great 2016 - 2017 School Year!

On behalf of the Ojai Education Foundation, we would like to congratulate all of the students, families, teachers, school administrators and staff for completing another school year!  We hope you and yours can look back on the “journey” that is part of any school year - the time spent on  in-class work, homework, projects and tests, and after school activities - and appreciate all that you and your family actually accomplished over the last 9 months!  At this time, we’d also like to give a heartfelt “shout out” to all of our graduating classes of Kindergartners, 6th graders, 8th graders and 12th graders on a job well done and look ahead with pride and excitement for what lies ahead as you enter a new phase in your lives!

“I Can See Clearly Now!”

“I Can See Clearly Now!”

One would expect Meiners Oaks Elementary School, with its strong reputation for both academic achievement and environmental consciousness, to deliver a unique and fun way to bring its students “closer to nature”.  So it was no surprise that 3rd grade teacher Teresa Lessing spearheaded a grant request to OEF on behalf of the entire school to purchase a set of state-of-the-art binoculars for its students to use during regular walking trips through the Ojai Meadows Preserve.  And since receiving their OEF grant earlier in the school year, both students and teachers have experienced a whole new perspective and a deeper appreciation of the natural beauty that “The Meadow” offers.

OEF Joins the Ojai Unified School District to Honor its 2016 - 2017 Employees of the Year!

OEF Joins the Ojai Unified School District to Honor its 2016 - 2017 Employees of the Year!

Ojai Unified School District Employees of the Year (from left to right) Jacquie Wegerbauer (A Place to Grow), Kate Spiva (San Antonio), Christopher Hess (Mira Monte), Agustin Andrade (District Office), John Gonzalez (Mira Monte), Carol James (Meiners Oaks), Merv Van Auker (Nordhoff), Gabi Becker (Topa Topa), Susan Duran (Nordhoff), Karin Dingman (Topa Topa), Joyce McCarthy (Matilija), Mikyla Avakian (Meiners Oaks), and Lorie Alford (Matilija).

It was “standing room only” in the Board room at the Ojai Unified School District (OUSD) on Tuesday afternoon, June 6 as the Ojai Education Foundation joined OUSD for its annual "Employees of the Year" presentation and reception.  The presentation takes place each June just before the monthly School Board meeting, and honors “Certificated” employees (Teachers) and “Classified” employees (Support Staff) from across the District who have gone "above and beyond" during the school year to deliver a superior public education experience for the youth of the Ojai Valley.  This year, 13 employees representing seven Ojai public schools and the District office were each honored by their peers, fellow teachers and principals during the presentation.

OEF Donates Nearly $60,000 in Grants to Ojai Public Schools!

 

Ojai Unified School District Principals (from left to right) Dr. Sherrill Knox, Theresa Dutter, Katherine White, and Dawn Damianos, receive a major grant from the Ojai Education Foundation at the Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room during OEF’s Grant Award Reception on April 25.  The grant will fund both after-school access to computer labs and English Language Learner resources across all of Ojai’s public elementary schools.  In all, OEF has awarded nearly $60,000 in both Major and Education Grants to benefit teachers and students within the Ojai Unified School district for the upcoming  2017 - 2018 school year.  Go to the Ojai Valley News article to read more!

OEF & OVYF Raises $17,000 for Ojai Valley Youth at 17th Annual Ojai Golf Classic

OEF & OVYF Raises $17,000 for Ojai Valley Youth at 17th Annual Ojai Golf Classic

As dawn broke bright and beautiful over Soule Park Golf Course on Saturday, April 22nd, more than 80 golfers and volunteers gathered at the 17th Annual Ojai Golf Classic benefiting the Ojai Education Foundation (OEF) and the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation (OVYF).  Thanks to several months of careful planning by Board members from both organizations, led by OEF Board Member Laura Denne, the annual event proved to be another great day golf, food, and fun, raising $17,000 for youth in the Ojai Valley!

OJAI GOLF CLASSIC

OJAI GOLF CLASSIC

Each year for the past 17 years, two prominent organizations serving youth in the Ojai Valley have come together to support one cause: raising awareness and critical funding for  kids and public schools, all while managing to have some fun on the “links” along the way.

The Ojai Education Foundation and the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation are co-organizers of the Ojai Golf Classic, an annual fundraising event for locals to gather in a festive and fun atmosphere to support a good cause: raising money to fund both “in” school and after-school resources and programs for local kids. The event has something for everyone: Those who golf can come out to enjoy a full round of 18-hole play and nongolfers are invited to come out during lunch to enjoy a delicious meal on the greens.

Up with Ukuleles!

Up with Ukuleles!


Matilija Junior High School music teacher Thomas Fredrickson received $2,500 last spring from the Ojai Education Foundation to buy 35 ukeles for his students to learn to read and play music. The rewards of that investment were clear March 2 as the students in his Exploration of Music Class gave a concert in the Matilija Auditorium.

Message from Ojai Education Foundation Co-Presidents

Message from Ojai Education Foundation Co-Presidents

The Ojai Education Foundation is experiencing a “first” in its almost 25 years of existence.  This year, the foundation board did not appoint just one president; it appointed two co-presidents. Considering the very large shoes that past presidents, Michael Addison, Debbie Johnson and others, left to fill, along with the tremendous amount of work done by our volunteer board members, it’s easy to understand the desire to “spread the love” by having two leaders!