Listed alphabetically by name of school


Carley Moore

Abraxis Charter School

1207 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa 95401

rhouseinc.org, 707-562-4492

Grades: 9-12

Enrollment: 52

Chartered by: Santa Rosa City Schools

The Abraxis Charter School was granted its charter by Santa Rosa City Schools in 2005.

Carley Moore is the principal of the school that is designed to give older adolescent students who have not been successful in more traditional schools or continuation schools a place to thrive. The emphasis of the school is to improve the graduation rate of students who have failed in the other school settings and to provide vocational opportunities and training.

“Special attention is extended to students who are considered high-risk,” said Ms. Moore. “These students are the ones who have dropped out or been suspended or expelled from other schools. They are the students whose needs often cannot be met by the local school district because of their emotional and behavioral histories.”

The philosophy driving the Abraxis Charter School is that “all children deserve the chance to be successful in a school environment that believes in them.”

The belief at Abraxis is that all students can succeed when curriculum is engaging and rigorous, when students’ character and community responsibility are emphasized and when the community network supports student academics, social and physical well-being, said Ms. Moore.

The school exemplifies "the urgency in reaching these high-risk youths and the belief that the school can provide a life-changing opportunity for students.”

The mission of the school is to “serve economically and ethnically diverse high school students ages 14 to 18 by offering significant personal attention and support, a rigorous curriculum and a comprehensive vocational training program. Abraxis Charter School graduates will be self-motivated, competent, lifelong learners, able to demonstrate the ability to communicate and take personal and social responsibility for their lives.

“Our vision includes increasing opportunities for disadvantaged youth, improving student learning, encouraging the use of different and innovative teaching methods, developing better forms of assessment and creating new professional opportunities for teachers, including responsibility for curriculum and school governance,” according to the charter.


Dyan Foster

Arts & Ethics Academy

950 South Wright Road, Santa Rosa 95407

artsethics.org, 707-527-6810

Grades: 9-12

Enrollment: 75

Chartered by: Santa Rosa City Schools

[caption id="attachment_21141" align="alignleft" width="144" caption="Dyan Foster"][/caption]

A longtime Sonoma County resident, Dyan Foster is a graduate of Sonoma State University and U.C. Berkeley. Ms. Foster studied film and philosophy in college.

She got a teaching credential in theater arts and media creating her own major: ethical media. She wanted to become a documentary filmmaker. and she was part of the team that founded the North Bay PBS station, Channel 22.

It is the mission of the Arts & Ethics Academy to “create a small, incredibly vibrant learning environment of excellence where young minds connect, create, explore and thrive. This is a community that engages in a dialogue about what is possible for young people – all young people – not just some. AEA integrates curriculum, ethical themes and community service. It is our goal for every student to succeed 100 percent.”

In 1985, Ms. Foster got an educational theater company off the ground — Teens Teaching Through Theatre, or T4. The company had performances at various venues in the North Bay.

As word of the theater company spread throughout the county, the organization began receiving increasing support from community funders, businesses and individuals. It was with this support that Ms. Foster moved to incorporate T4 as Routes for Youth and launched the juvenile justice diversion program called the Sonoma County Teen Court.

She is the founder of the three-year-old Art & Ethics Academy in Santa Rosa. Ms. Foster was nominated by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans and named as "Woman of the Year" and honored on the floor of the Legislature in 2008.


Sheila Shiebler

Insight School of California, North Bay

8733 Lakewood Drive #B, Windsor 95492

canb.insightschools.net, 800-670-5391

Grades: 9-12

Enrollment: 202

Chartered by: Windsor Unified

Sheila Shiebler’s career has focused on working with youth-serving organizations to provide high-quality, educational and engaging programs.

Ms. Shiebler joined Insight Schools as executive director from her position as the executive vice president of operations and chief operating officer at YMCA of Orange County, where she operated a $30 million nonprofit agency with nine lines of business and 800 full- and part-time employees at 140 Orange County locations.

Ms. Shiebler earned teaching credentials in New York in recreation education allowing her to teach through the college level, as well as elementary education. Her bachelor’s degree in recreation education is from State University of New York, College at Cortland, and her graduate studies in elementary education were completed at Dowling College in Oakdale, New York.

At Insight Schools, the focus is on the student, the learning style, lifestyle needs, interests and aspirations.

With more than 110 online high school courses to choose from, students tailor their high school education to fit their goals through foundation courses, honors and advanced placement courses and vocational courses.


Keith Muelrath

Northwest Prep at Piner-Olivet

2590-B Piner Road, Santa Rosa 95401

caapo.org, 707-522-3320

Grades: 7-12

Enrollment: 125

Chartered by: Piner-Olivet Union

[caption id="attachment_21143" align="alignleft" width="144" caption="Keith Muelrath"][/caption]

Keith Muelrath is the principal of Northwest Prep, a project-based learning school chartered by Piner Olivet Union. Mr. Mulerath has been in education for 22 years.

“I taught English in high school and middle school, and when there was the opportunity for charter school and the principalship opened up, I grabbed it.”

He said he wanted to be a forest ranger when he was a kid.

“I should have paid more attention in school,” he said.

He went on to study literature and got a degree in English. He studied at Sonoma State University and Dominican University.

“With this charter school the most gratifying is that it is growing every year,” he said.

“We have it up and running and established a peaceful space. The second graduating class has 17 students and almost all are going to college,” he said.

He said the budget is the most difficult thing he has to deal with.

“We didn’t have enough money,” he said.

Currently the school is in portables, but it is moving into Piner elementary.

When not at school, Mr. Mulerath likes to backpack and is a volunteer wilderness ranger.

“I also raise red angus breeding stock,” he said.

“I would like to invite people to come and see what we are doing and welcome us to see how we grow,” he said.


Carol Rogers and Linda Suhr

Orchard View School

700 Watertrough Road, Sebastopol 94572



Grades: K-12

Enrollment: 192

Chartered by: Twin Hills Union

Carol Rogers and Linda Suhr co-run Orchard View School.

The student body is composed of grades kindergarten through 12. Any student who has the interest and ability to work in a home study environment is welcome to apply to Orchard View School. Orchard View serves students in Sonoma County as well as the adjoining Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa and Solano counties.


Robert Tavonatti

Pathways Charter School

607 Bobelaine Drive, Santa Rosa 95405

pathwayscharter.org, 707-573-6117

Grades: K-12

Enrollment: 546

Chartered by: Harmony Union

[caption id="attachment_21151" align="alignleft" width="144" caption="Robert Tavonatti"][/caption]

Dr. Robert Tavonatti has worked in education for more than 30 years – both as a teacher and an administrator. He has taught high school art, science, technology and vocational classes as well as junior college arts and crafts. He has been a high school principal and also a program administrator for at-risk youth.

He is currently the executive director of Pathways Charter School.

The mission of Pathways is to “provide an individualized, home-based, independent study educational option to self-directed students from diverse backgrounds in grades K-12 living in five North Bay Area counties.”

Pathways provides a standards-based learning plan for students that addresses individual student needs and interests through a team model approach that includes strong, active collaboration from the family.

“Our focus is to facilitate the growth of our students so that they will become lifelong learners, critical thinkers, able researchers and cooperative learners by encouraging respect, community participation, self-expression, effective communication and technological literacy,” according to the school’s website.

"The school is committed to providing high-quality education to our diverse student body. We achieve our goals through a challenging curriculum, quality teachers and an atmosphere that emphasizes communication and cooperation. Together, these elements create a safe and engaging learning environment in which all students can excel," according to the school.

Dr. Tavonatti has a bachelor's degree in industry and technology, a master's degree in education administration and a doctorate in educational technology.

In his spare time he enjoys astronomy, pyrotechnics, gourmet cooking and playing the guitar. He lives in Santa Rosa with his wife and three children.


Lisa Schwartz

Phoenix Academy

160 B North San Pedro Road, San Rafael 94903



Grades: 9-12

Enrollment: 42

Chartered by: Marin County Office of Education

The only charter high school in Marin County, Phoenix Academy provides an educational environment where chemically dependent students can develop a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle, make significant academic progress, identify and address emotional issues and make sound career and vocational decisions in a highly structured and closely supervised setting.

Lisa Schwartz is the director of the school that provides a variety of educational forms, from individualized to small groups, project-based to whole group, depending upon the needs of the students.

Referrals to Phoenix Academy are made by school districts, the Probation Department, parents and therapists in Marin County. After referral, students and parents are interviewed as part of the intake process. Students whose needs can be addressed by Phoenix Academy are then asked to sign a contract committing to the program.

The mission of Phoenix Academy is “to provide, for adolescents who have abused alcohol and/or other drugs, an innovative academic and treatment environment in partnership with their families and the community in order to support their ability to make a long-term commitment to sobriety and be a contributing member of society.”

Phoenix Academy was Marin County’s first charter school, established by the Marin County Office of Education in 1995.


Amy Jones-Kerr

Roseland University Prep

100 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa 95407



Grades: 9-12

Enrollment: 320

Chartered by: Roseland School District

[caption id="attachment_21147" align="alignleft" width="144" caption="Amy Jones Kerr"][/caption]

A lifelong Sonoma County resident, Amy Jones-Kerr has worked in the Roseland School District for the past 13 years, including time volunteering while earning a bachelor’s degree at Sonoma State University.

She entered the bilingual-multiple subject credential, while completing student teaching at Sheppard Elementary. In 1997, Ms. Jones-Kerr was hired as a first-second multi-age bilingual teacher.

After five years of teaching at an elementary level, she began teaching seventh grade at Roseland Accelerated Middle School. In 2003, she became the assistant principal and simultaneously obtained an administrative credential through Sonoma State.

In January 2004, Superintendent Gail Ahlas and Ms. Jones-Kerr started Roseland University Prep, the very first high school in the Roseland School District, from the ground up. Ms. Jones-Kerr took on the position as principal.

The school's mission is for the largely Latino student population to complete high school in a supportive, drug- and gang-free environment and enter college. Of the current graduating class of 57, 46 had received college acceptance letters as of April 23, with nearly 40 percent from four-year colleges. The numbers far surpass the college attendance statistics for most Latino students.

The Advancement Via Individual Determination Center has recognized RUP as an AVID Demonstration School Site throughout the United States.  RUP is in an elite category as one of the 4,400 AVID schools in the United States, the District of Columbia and 16 countries and U.S. territories.

Roseland University Prep graduates are expected to give back to the community. RUP graduates tutor, mentor younger students, participate in focus groups with faculty members, help run clubs, speak at events, participate in school-wide activities and provide interpreting services for parents.

For the 2010-11 school year, Ms. Jones-Kerr will be taking on the new leadership role of executive director of development and public relations.


Jorge Wahner

Russian River Charter School

10940 River Road, Forestville 95436



Grades: 9-12

Enrollment: 80

Chartered by: West Sonoma County Union High

“The Russian River Charter High School facilitates a student’s acquisition of important life skills in the areas of communication, self-governance and personal ethics that will serve them far beyond their high school years,” according to the mission of the school.

The intention is to integrate a rigorous academic program with hands-on learning experiences that build and strengthen traditional classroom skills.

The charter was created to have “an environment of mutual respect, non-violence and consensus building, where students develop their abilities to think critically, achieve high academic and behavioral standards and participate passionately and responsibly in the community.”

The program Building Community Through Art and Ecology is a year-long class that qualifying Russian River Charter juniors take. It begins with an in-depth investigation of local environmental and social issues. Throughout the year students study local community issues while preparing for their culminating project, participation in the ComunicArte Project.

This program, which takes place in Punta Banco, Costa Rica, gives Russian River Charter School students an opportunity to experience community on a global level. CAP artist-educators collaborate with students to creatively confront the challenges their communities face by planning, designing and creating artworks that act as a catalyst for dialogue and action.

The intention of bringing together students from Sonoma County and Punta Banco is to create a cross-cultural exchange that will create strong community activists both locally and globally. This class and project is designed to integrate art and science in a collaborative, hands-on learning and teaching experience.