Staff Directory

Barbara Amador- Director, Credentialed Teacher barbara@valleyoakcharter.org

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Barbara's background includes teaching, management, and business administration. She has been involved with the VOC community since before the birth of her children. She began her involvement as a teacher, and after having her first child, she became a specialist giving her more time with her family. When her oldest began as a kindergartner at VOC, Barbara continued her involvement through volunteering in curriculum and in the classroom and eventually as Supervising Teacher before accepting her current position. Having a background in business and first-hand experience with many aspects of public education has helped Barbara to understand, value and support all facets of the VOC program, not just the school’s administration.

Nikki Sage- Administrative Assistant nikkis@valleyoakcharter.org

Nikki is a long-time resident of Ojai, graduating from Nordhoff High School. She worked as a teacher's assistant at Noah’s Ark Preschool for five years and has been involved in the sports scene in Ojai for many years. She is currently Vice President and League Administrator for the Ojai Valley Girls Softball Association. Nikki and her family enjoy the outdoors, either on horseback or hiking with their dog.

Laurie Zatkowsky- Programming Coordinator, Credentialed Teacher lauriez@valleyoakcharter.org

In addition to her teaching credentials, Laurie has a B.F.A. in Drawing/Painting and a life-long interest in the visual arts. She trained for five years as a docent with the Art Trek Program. This background in creative projects has helped her to create a variety of onsite classes and hands-on open time experiences for the students at VOC. Before her teaching career, Laurie was involved in anti-poverty/education programs, including Head Start Preschools in Santa Barbara County and parent cooperative preschools in Ventura and Ojai. Outside of school, she sings with the Ojai Madrigal Singers.

Kara Lakes- Credentialed Teacher kara@valleyoakcharter.org

Kara has a background in elementary education, with a specialty in music. She was trained in a music education program that teaches appreciation and theory, as well as important social skills, through a series of singing games. She is an “Artist in Residence” for the children’s music education organization, BRAVO!, offered through the Ojai Music Festival. She teaches singing in the public schools as part of this program. She sings with the Ojai Madrigal Singers.

Helena Pasquarella-Credentialed Supervising Teacher helena@valleyoakcharter.org

Helena holds a Masters in Elementary Education from Johns Hopkins, but really found her passion in the alternative pedagogy of Waldorf Steiner through Journey School, a public charter school, where her son was a student from k-4th grade. During that time she went through a year of the teacher training program at the Waldorf School of Orange County and was a substitute teacher grades K-4. Besides being a high school ESL/ELA teacher, she was also a photojournalist for the Ventura County Edition of LA Times for 6 years. Presently, she is expanding her education through The Ojai Foundation’s council training program and is excited about joining the team at Valley Oak Charter School which is only minutes from her home in Meiners Oaks.

Magda Perkins - Credentialed Supervising Teacher magda@valleyoakcharter.org

Magda taught mathematics, AVID and computer studies at Matilija Junior High School for 30 years. In addition to teaching, she was a successful volleyball coach for the Lady Eagles, served as a primary administrator and coach for the Ojai elementary and junior high annual “Math Super Bowl” and “MathCounts” competitions; and served as a Mentor Teacher in the Ojai Unified School District. Her proudest achievement is raising three sons who inherited her strong math skills and love of science. When she is not teaching she enjoys zipping around Ojai on her new e-bike.

Nancy Welter- Credentialed Supervising Teacher nancy@valleyoakcharter.org

Nancy has worked in the field of education for 30 years. She has a B.S. in Biological Science and a Masters of Education in Reading. Having a Single Subject Credential in Science and Math and a Multiple Subject Credential has afforded her the opportunity to teach at the elementary, middle school and high school levels focusing on instruction in the areas of science, math and reading. For 20 years, she was employed by OUSD teaching life science, physical science and pre-algebra at Matilija Junior High. Ojai has been her home since 1990. She enjoys the active outdoor lifestyle it affords her family and has been involved as a leader in 4-H and Boy Scouts. She enjoys sharing the wonders of the natural world with children, helping them develop the skills of careful observation and thoughtful imagination. Her time spent outdoors often involves cycling, hiking, back packing, gardening and ocean sports.

Patrick Praetorius- Credentialed Academic Support patrick@valleyoakcharter.org

Patrick will be joining us on Fridays, from 9am-1pm to support students with their homeschool lessons.

David Parziale- Custodial and Grounds davidp@valleyoakcharter.org

David received his B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon in 2012. Since then, he has been committed to deepening his knowledge through his work in permaculture and organic farming. David has also worked in education making him a perfect fit to help us develop our grounds in a way that supports student learning.