Laura Fulmer- Director, Credentialed Teacher
Laura managed a large company and worked in public school support positions before returning to school to earn her teaching credential. Before joining VOC in 2003, Laura taught grades 6, 7 and 8 for Ojai Unified School District (OUSD). Having a background in business and having worked many different positions at all school levels has helped her to understand and support all aspects of the VOC program, not just the school’s administration. Laura has her B.A. in English Literature, a clear Multiple Subject Credential and a CLAD certification.
Craig Walker- Assistant Director
Craig has taught 38 years in public high schools and junior high schools. His subjects taught include history, English, computer studies, government, economics, and student council. He also served as the student activities director at Nordhoff High School, a California Mentor Teacher in the Ojai Unified School District, and teacher-in-charge at Chaparral continuation school. He is on the Board of the Ojai Valley Museum. For five years, he was president and director of the Ojai Federation of Teachers.
Nikki Sage- Administrative Assistant
A recent addition to VOC, 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
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 who recently traveled to, and performed in Italy.
Brice Pace- Credentialed Supervising Teacher
Brice has degrees in Arts and Letters and Elementary Education. He has taught for 33 years in both self-contained and open-classroom environments at the primary and intermediate grade levels. He has a clear Multiple Subject Credential and a High School Social Studies Credential. Brice also brings to his P.E. classes many years of coaching experience. He has 19 years of experience coaching soccer in middle school and high school, 16 years coaching middle school basketball and seven years teaching tennis to adults and students.
Kara Lakes- Credentialed Supervising Teacher
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.
Nancy Welter- Credentialed Supervising Teacher
Nancy has worked in the field of education for 30 years. She has a B.S. in Biological Science from UC Davis and a Masters of Education in Reading from La Verne University. 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 the past 20 years she has been employed by the 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.
Angela Shwam, Resource Coordinator
Angela is a fully certified special education teacher with both Multiple Subjects and Special Education teaching credentials. She has spent the past 17 years teaching special day and resource classes at the elementary and middle school levels for both San Francisco and Ojai Unified School Districts. As a relatively new transplant from San Francisco to Ojai, Angela is enjoying the slower pace, sense of community and the beauty Ojai has to offer. She is also an artist with an extensive background in drawing, painting and mosaic arts.
VOC Education Specialists
Although many of our Education Specialists are fully credentialed, Valley Oak Charter allows for the hiring of non-certificated community specialists to teach specific trimester classes at the school. These enrichment classes support areas in which students have expressed an interest in completing on-site class work. These classes are not specifically intended to fulfill the core standards and curriculum at the school, although core academics are integrated to the greatest extent possible. Education specialists are hired by the programming coordinator and programming committee based on their background in a particular subject area and are often parents at the school. These teachers are always supervised by one of our certificated staff members. They are not part of the school staff and are paid as independent contractors.