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.