Board | The Open School


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.

Ingrid Shultz serves as the Board treasurer and is the silent auction chair for The Open School in Orange County. She is a Human Resources manager for Cemtek Environmental in Santa Ana as well as mother to an Open School student. She has served on the board from its inception in 2016.

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!