FREE statewide online event!
January 30, 2021, 10AM - 12PM
It is a parent's right and responsibility to choose the best possible learning environment for their children.
You could win an Amazon gift card
worth $25 - $100 just for attending!
Learn about quality school options that are available
for K-12 students in California.
The importance of school choice
Expanding our views about what "school" can be
Inspiration to the families that the choice is THEIRS and they CAN do what's best for their kids!
Mari Barke - Emcee
Mari Barke was elected to the Orange County Board of Education in 2018, where she currently serves as Board Vice President. She ran for office so that more children in Orange County would have the educational choices and opportunities that her own children enjoyed.
Mari also works with the California Policy Center on their Parent Union, CLEO (California Elected Officials) and Janus projects.
She and her husband Jeff live in Orange County. They are high school sweet hearts and have two grown children.
Mari has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from CSUN.
Andrew Campanella has dedicated his career to helping families discover their K-12 school choice options.
Andrew is president of National School Choice Week (NSCW), the nation’s largest public awareness effort designed to help families discover their K-12 educational choices.
Under Andrew’s leadership, National School Choice Week has grown from 150 events and activities in 2012 to more than 50,000 in 2020, while helping to organize some of the most iconic education events in U.S. history.
Andrew is the author of the award-winning book, The School Choice Roadmap: 7 Steps to Finding the Right School for Your Child, which will be published by Beaufort Books on January 21, 2020.
Prior to his work at National School Choice Week, Andrew served in senior-level positions at the American Federation for Children, the Alliance for School Choice, and the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. Originally from New Jersey, Andrew graduated from American University in Washington, DC. He lives in Miami, Florida.
Cassi Clausen is the original founder of The Open School.
She has a Bachelors from Westmont College, a Masters of Education from UM St Louis, and a Masters of Arts from University of London, Goldsmith’s College.
Cassi taught Spanish and English and coached Mock Trial at a private college prep high school in St Louis from 2002-2005. Cassi also tutored in Spanish and English off and on for about 8 years.
All of these educational experiences have led her to dedicate her life to giving a voice to kids and advocating for respectful parenting and education. Her journey specifically began in 2007 when she took a trip to the Summerhill School in England.
This trip inspired her to create her own self-directed democratic school. After three years of fundraising, recruitment, and public relations, Cassi sprang The Open School to life in the autumn of 2015 and became the original staff member. In addition to having doubled down and graciously volunteered half of her home to act as a temporary campus during the first year and being an integral part of The Open School’s internal affairs, Cassi often speaks at conferences, college classes, and events. Cassi holds strong interests in entrepreneurship, public speaking, mock trial/debate, governance, theater, baking and literature.
Windi Eklund is a long-time homeschool mom with a passion for child-centered education and family support. She has been homeschooling for over 11 years through the public charter school system. This school year she moved her three kids out of the charter school and she is now homeschooling them independently through a PSA.
Since starting their homeschool journey as a family she has dedicated herself to being an integral part of our unique and diverse community. She has worked to broaden educational choices and knowledge of the programs available to our families through:
Volunteering at Celebration Education, where she was able to help families from all over the world find alternative education options for their children
Organizing and leading field trips for homeschool families
Settting up new education programs and learning centers for homeschoolers
Organizing National School Choice Events and Charter School Choice Open Houses
Speaking on the homeschool options available to families at homeschool and alternative education conventions
Running numerous homeschool and charter school social media groups, covering all of California with 1000s of members in each
Organizing our community to oppose anti-charter school legislation
Founding a non-profit to serve the diverse needs of homeschool families
Helping pave the way for family choice at charters by founding multiple family-focused programs serving our community
She is honored to be here supporting families in finding their homeschool path.
Dr. Collin Felch
Dr. Collin Felch is the Principal of Vista Condor Global Academy (K-5) and Vista Heritage Global Academy (6-8), both located in Santa Ana.
Dr. Felch started his career as a math, economics, and leadership teacher at the Ambassador School of Global Leadership in Los Angeles.
In 2013, Dr. Felch was named an LAUSD and Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year. In 2014, Dr. Felch became a Math Instructional Coach for the Intensive Support and Innovation Center (ISIC) of LAUSD where he worked directly with 26 different schools to support math teachers, provide professional development, and enhance instruction in math. The following year, Dr. Felch went on to become Assistant Principal at the Communication and Technology School to lead and serve youth in South Los Angeles. In 2016, Dr. Felch completed his Ed.D. at the University of Southern California. His dissertation was on “How Principals of International Studies High Schools Promote Global Competence." In 2017, Dr. Felch became the Principal of Vista Heritage Global Academy, and in 2018 he helped open Vista Condor Global Academy as its founding Principal. Dr. Felch is thrilled to continue to bring his vision for learning, instructional background, and passion for educating youth through building global competence to the city of Santa Ana and the surrounding Orange County communities.
Heather Martinson has been involved in homeschooling since the '80's.
She homeschooled all four of her children, now ages 19-32.
In 2006, Heather started Celebration Education, which is an exciting and powerful learning system that is now available for groups anywhere.
Nancy Mikhail is an Educational Consultant specializing in the creation and design of engaging pedagogy and active learning projects that excel beyond the requirements of California State Standards.
Nancy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at the California State University at Long Beach, and furthered her education by earning her Master’s of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from California State University at Fullerton. Her experience within the education system ranges from preschool to twelfth grade. However, Nancy’s skills go above and beyond the classroom.
She has taken her passion for teaching and education into after school programs, academic advising, and nonprofit organizations. She is an active participant and presenter in educational conferences and workshops. Her drive to progress and create a better educational system allows her to take the lead in building curriculum, especially within language strategies and guided reading. Literacy is a vital component of education and Nancy’s desire to increase student learning is evident within her teaching and career.
Nancy Mikhail, M.S.Ed.
Larry Sand started his teaching career in New York in 1971.
Beginning in 1985, he taught elementary school as well as English, math, history and ESL in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he also served as a Title 1 Coordinator.
Retired in 2009, he is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teacher with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues – information teachers will often not get from their school districts or unions.
In 2011, realizing that parents, taxpayers and others frequently receive faulty information from the mainstream media, CTEN expanded its mission to help the general public understand the array of educational issues facing our country today.