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Orange County School of the Arts Foundation

 1010 N MAIN ST
 SANTA ANA , CA 92701
[P] (714) 560-0900 x 5532
[F] (714) 568-5321
[email protected]
Catherine Michaels
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA OCHSA
Orange County School of the Arts
Orange County High School of the Arts
Former Names Orange County High School of the Arts Foundation (2012)
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 33-0377341 00000


Mission StatementMORE »


We provide an unparalleled arts and academic education in a creative, challenging and nurturing environment to a diverse group of students who are passionate about the arts, preparing them to reach their highest potential.

Mission Statement


We provide an unparalleled arts and academic education in a creative, challenging and nurturing environment to a diverse group of students who are passionate about the arts, preparing them to reach their highest potential.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2020
Projected Expenses $2,591,663.00
Projected Revenue $3,353,138.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Camp OCSA Community Arts Outreach Program
  • Artist Scholar Sponsorship Program
  • Master Artist Series

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement


We provide an unparalleled arts and academic education in a creative, challenging and nurturing environment to a diverse group of students who are passionate about the arts, preparing them to reach their highest potential.

Background Statement

Established in 1987, Orange County School of the Arts offers a dynamic school culture that enables students to flourish as artists and scholars in a uniquely challenging and nurturing environment,. As one of the premier arts schools in the nation, OCSA prepares students to reach their highest potential and thrive in the 21st century. The U.S. Department of Education and National Endowment for the Arts have recognized OCSA as a model arts education program. OCSA is a tuition-free, donation-dependent public charter school; no student is admitted or denied based on financial capacity. The school’s rigorous academic education coupled with advanced arts training has impacted thousands of students—molding generations of creative thinkers, leaders, performers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. OCSA currently serves a diverse student body of nearly 2,200 students in grades 7-12 from more than 100 cities throughout Southern California. OCSA is located in a redevelopment district in Santa Ana. The urban campus features 350,000 square-feet of instructional space in renovated commercial and historic buildings and has helped transform a deteriorating midtown area into a creative and vibrant community. Students attend five hours of rigorous college preparatory academic classes in addition to three hours of daily arts instruction. OCSA offers pre-professional training in sixteen arts conservatories including Acting, Ballet Folklorico Dance, Ballroom Dance, Classical & Contemporary Dance, Classical Voice, Commercial Dance, Creative Writing, Culinary Arts & Hospitality, Digital Media, Film & Television, Integrated Arts, Instrumental Music, Musical Theatre, Popular Music, Production & Design, and Visual Arts. OCSA continues to serve the local community by offering accessible performance opportunities, as well as arts and academic classes, during non-school hours. These arts enrichment programs include: Camp OCSA, a free ten-week, after-school series of arts training workshops for 500 disadvantaged Santa Ana children in grades 4-6; the Gluck Community Services Program, which provides free artistic performances and activities presented by OCSA students to more than 30,000 underserved children and adults; and CSArts Academy, which provides classes  to community members of all ages.OCSA has a 100% graduation rate and our graduates continue to be recruited by the nation’s top universities and arts conservatory programs.

Impact Statement

Orange County School of the Arts is in its third decade of delivering educational excellence for students from across Southern California. Accomplishments 1) In August 2017, California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley opened as the first satellite campus of OCSA, created out of a vision shared by our leadership team to increase the number of students who have access to the life-changing arts and academic programs OCSA has developed. 2) We finished our third season of the Master Artist Series, bringing to campus nationally renowned guest artists such as the concertmaster of  LA Phil Martin Chalifour; choreographer and actress Debbie Allen; jazz saxophonist Eric Marienthal; Broadway star Megan Hilty; a residency with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater; and more. 3) We presented our second Creators & Innovators Series event, featuring innovative chief marketing directors from Vans, Taco Bell, Hyundai, and Live Nation discussing the intersection of creativity and business. This Series engages influential thought leaders in a forum designed to connect young people, business professionals and active change-makers from a variety of fields. 4) OCSA was nationally ranked a 2018 Gold Medal Best High School by the US News & World Report, based on performance on state tests and how well we prepare students for college. 5) In June 2019, our graduates included 21 valedictorians with distinction and 125  valedictorians, with more than $15 million was offered in scholarships. Goals: 1) Continue an Artist Scholar Sponsorship Campaign to support disadvantaged students, with the long term goal of establishing an endowment fund. 2) Continue to secure high profile artists and industry leaders to share their expertise in the Master Artist Series and the Creators and Innovators Series. 3) Continue to improve academic and arts College/Career readiness for OCSA students, with continuing the College Fair and the Professional Mentorship Program for OCSA students to explore career options.

Needs Statement

1) Foundation Board members with diverse backgrounds and expertise, to serve as community ambassadors, lead fundraising, marketing and strategic planning efforts. 2) OCSA is not a private school with tuition, but a public charter school dependent on donations to support Arts Conservatory training.  OCSA has 200 students whose families qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. We want to make certain these disadvantaged students have support for their arts training, and access to all OCSA activities. It costs $2,500 per year to sponsor each of these children  through our Artist Scholar Sponsorships. 3) An important instructional strategy at OCSA is to bring master artists and industry leaders to share their gifts and expertise with our students through residencies, master classes, and performances in our Master Artist Series. While each artist's fee are different, they average about $5,000 per artist for an honorarium, travel and accommodations. 4) The Foundation offers a variety of accessible arts training and outreach activities to members of the community. Over 500 economically disadvantaged Santa Ana 4th - 6th graders benefit from the free, student-led Camp OCSA after-school arts program held on campus over 10 weeks. This program costs over $109,000 annually.

CEO Statement

When the Orange County School of the Arts celebrated its 30th Anniversary a few years ago, it was a real milestone for so many. It was an incredible year filled with impressive academic and artistic achievements, awe-inspiring student performances and presentations, unique learning opportunities, and continued growth of the school’s world class programs and facilities. It was also a time for me to reflect on my personal journey so far, and all the amazing students, parents, teachers, artists and supporters who have taken the journey with me over the past three decades. OCSA produced many events throughout the anniversary year that included returning faculty, alumni, guest artists and other arts partners from the past three decades, individuals who have helped shape OCSA’s curriculum, define the culture and have been an important part of the history of the school. This anniversary year has helped further fuel my passion for the work. What inspires me most is working with our exceptional students. I would like to share these comments from one student: “It is nothing short of miraculous to find a high school full of students who have chosen to be there, who are open to new perspectives and new experiences. I know dancers who want to be mechanical engineers, opera singers who plan to major in physics, and writers who are interested in neuroscience. At OCSA we push the boundaries of our creative limits by instructors and by each other. OCSA will be the starting point for lives and careers both in and out of the arts.” The Orange County School of the Arts is not just about educating talented students to become future artists; it is about providing a thriving, dynamic school environment that graduates highly engaged, creative students with the imagination to find solutions to today’s complex problems. Young leaders who study at this premier public charter school are well-equipped for meaningful, successful lives in the 21st century at the college of their choice and in any career they choose. With the support of the community, we have created a model center for arts and academic education.


Board Chair Statement

I become involved with the OCSA Foundation Board in the year 2006, as a result of my position with Farmers & Merchants Bank. While I serve on a number of nonprofit Boards, this Board and the school it serves have become a personal passion. So much so, my daughter eventually chose to attend and graduate from OCSA, which gave me a parent's perspective on the organization and further strengthened my commitment. The Foundation Board is well-represented by individuals from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets, and their financial commitment is strong. Typical Board service is 5-10 years. As with many nonprofit Boards, we struggle with diversity but continue to work towards this goal. My employer supports my service on the Board with time and financial support of OCSA.  We are also fortunate to have strong advisory boards, including an Emeritus Board (former Board leaders), a Community Partners group (leading area philanthropists) and a Strategic Partners group (arts and education leaders).

Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

The Orange County School of the Arts Foundation can accept checks, donations online at, stock transfers, and in-kind donations of merchandise and services.

Geographic Area Served

Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County
Orange County School of the Arts serves 2,200 students from over 100 cities and five counties from across Southern California. The new California School of the Arts (a separate nonprofit) serves students from the San Gabriel Valley.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Charter Schools
  2. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Arts Education
  3. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs



Camp OCSA Community Arts Outreach Program

When OCSA first opened its Santa Ana campus in the year 2000, we wanted to provide opportunities for the children in our own neighborhood to experience the arts in a deeper way, and opportunities for our own students to learn the importance of volunteer service. OCSA's campus is located in the heart of Santa Ana, with a population that is 96% Latino and economically challenged (91% of district families qualify for free/reduced price meals. State education budget cuts have decimated arts education programs in the schools, especially in Santa Ana. Camp OCSA offers free, after-school arts training for 500 underserved Santa Ana students in grades 4-6, young people with an interest in the arts, the desire to develop their talents, and no access to traditional arts training. Classes in dance, drama, singing, creative writing, instrumental music and the visual arts are presented once a week for two hours, during one ten week session. Families join their students at the end of the session for a showcase.
Budget  109,533
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other General Arts Education
Population Served At-Risk Populations Children Only (5 - 14 years) Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Program Short-Term Success  Outcomes for Camp OCSA participants include an enhanced appreciation for the arts and the development of self-esteem and self-discipline, personal artistic skills and competency in the arts discipline of the student's choice. Outcomes for the student counselors include satisfaction from helping another person grow, development of communication skills and increased self-awareness. This program has enabled OCSA to reach out and be more strongly identified as a good neighbor and a caring educator for the young people of Santa Ana, helping them remove boundaries and broaden horizons, and spark their creativity and imagination.
Program Long-Term Success 

Camp OCSA has given us a chance to partner with schools and community groups to help identify and offer children grades 4-6 with little or no experience in the arts the opportunity to learn the basic language, techniques and skills of one of several arts disciplines. OCSA intends not only to serve these students with outstanding arts enrichment and training programs, but also to instill the idea that this Camp can help them to prepare for future admission to the school as well as develop a lifelong passion for the arts.

Program Success Monitored By 

Student Progress is measured by:
1) how many students complete all 10 weeks of the camp
2) how many reported/or were observed with increased knowledge and skills in their chosen art form
3) how many reported/or were observed with increased self-confidence
4) how many auditioned and/or were later accepted into OCSA

OCSA conducts informal interviews with the counselors at the end of the session.
1) Was the student/teacher ratio appropriate for your instruction?
2) Was the curriculum appropriate for the experience level of the students? If no, what would you change?
3) Did you had enough supplies and other resources to teach effectively?
4) Did you feel you had adequate supervision from your faculty coordinator? 
5) Did you feel this was a positive experience for the campers? 

Examples of Program Success  We are proud the program has been recognized locally and nationally. The Camp OCSA program received national recognition at the Arts School Network conference with the Community Partnership Award for fostering artistic and educational understanding
and community enhancement. Camp OCSA has also been honored with an Estrella Award from the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Artist Scholar Sponsorship Program

The Artist Scholar Sponsorship Program (ASSP) enables qualified students from socio-economically disadvantaged
backgrounds to have access to an excellent academic and arts education, by paying for part or all of the direct costs of their arts
conservatory training. OCSA currently has 200 students whose families are living below the national poverty level with a household income of $35,000 or less, and qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program.  We want to make certain these disadvantaged students have support for their arts training, and access to all OCSA activities, including technology and school supplies they may need. It costs approximately $2,500 per year to sponsor each of these children to ensure they have the full OCSA experience through our Artist Scholar Sponsorship Program. Every dollar donated is an investment in the future of a gifted young student with limited opportunities.
Budget  500,000
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other General Arts Education
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations Hispanic, Latino Heritage
Program Short-Term Success 

At our last three Galas, we have dedicated our Fund A Dream auction to supporting the Artist Scholar fund. In 2017, our Board member Mohamed El-Erian offered a $250,000 challenge grant to inspire our guests to contribute, and we raised another $329,000 from the patrons at the Gala. At the 2018 Gala, following an inspiring video and presentation by OCSA alum Lorenzo Rangel-Santos and Foundation Board member, we did another challenge grant from Dr.  El-­Erian, and our gracious patrons contributed $365,000 to more than match Dr. EI-Erian's very generous $300,000 pledge. Then, in a thrilling end to the evening, Foundation Board member Lisa Argyros and Emeritus Board member Julia Argyros announced an amazing $100,000 per year gift over five years. At Gala 2019, we raised $832,000 in single gifts and multi-year pledges towards our goal. Together, these Fund-a-Dream contributions will provide the complete OCSA experience for hundreds of students whose families live below the poverty level.

Program Long-Term Success  We have maintained this program since the year 2000, with the number of eligible students growing every year, raising funds to support more than 200 students each year. We are currently planning to launch an endowment campaign with a goal of $15 million, to provide long term support for our disadvantaged students. We will be reaching out to alumni families, former Board members and other community supporters.
Program Success Monitored By  The success is monitored by how many students we can support each year, how well they do in their arts and academics while they are at OCSA, and how many graduate and go on to higher education.
Examples of Program Success  Lorenzo came to OCSA in 8th grade, qualified for our Free and Reduced Lunch program. His first years were a nightmare with his parents losing their business, living on food stamps in motels, his father attempting suicide and jailed for a white collar crime, and his mother diagnosed with cancer. Lorenzo found stability and another family at OCSA. He said “This was such a dark time. But the arts and OCSA saved me.” By 9th grade, he achieved a 4.0 GPA, appeared in many OCSA musicals, and was named the John Raitt Best Male Youth Dancer. His GPA rose to 4.20 and he won the M.A.C.Y. Award for Musical Theatre. He graduated with a 4.20 GPA, and was in the National Honor Society. He was accepted at UCLA, and is studying psychology and teaching. "I had to decide whether to be ruined by these experiences or to rise from them. I decided to move forward and never give up on my dreams. My friends and teachers and counselors at OCSA have given me the support to overcome obstacles and succeed.”


Master Artist Series

One of the important instructional strategies at OCSA is to bring to campus nationally renowned artists, guest teachers, university faculty and industry leaders to share their unique gifts and expertise with our students through residencies, master classes, demonstrations, lectures, and performances. These visiting artists work alongside our OCSA faculty members to create an extraordinary learning environment with meaningful experiences for our student artists. Artists have included concert violinists Joshua Bell and Midori; choreographer and actress Debbie Allen; songwriter and Disney legend Richard Sherman;  jazz musicians Wynton Marsalis and Dave Koz; playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith; LA Master Chorale conductor Grant Gershon; soprano Deborah Voigt and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade; classical and flamenco guitarist Pepe Romero; chefs Alex Guarnaschelli and Zov Karamardian; Broadway actress Megan McGinnis; dancers from the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater; and many more.
Budget  $100,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Artists-in-Residence
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success   This program will be entering its fourth season in 2019-20. We have been successful in attracting a high profile portfolio of artists, who are dedicated to their art form and to education and we were able to add an academic series to Master Artists, which will grow over time. Our students have had transformational experiences working with artists of this caliber, hearing their life stories and career paths, and their advice about entering the field. 
Program Long-Term Success   It is difficult to quantify long term success in this kind of program, which is still fairly new and the long term effects of which may not be immediately identifiable--that of inspiration and mentoring. We look forward to interviewing our students later in their time at OCSA as well as after graduation, to see the true impact.
Program Success Monitored By   Our faculty members include the Master Artist Series in their curriculum, and are able to discuss the artist and his/her work before and after their appearance/residency on campus. We look forward to interviewing our students later in their time at OCSA as well as after graduation, to see the true impact of the experience.
Examples of Program Success 

We are proud of a Master Artist Series collaborative concert which showcased our students on stage with renowned artists and star alumni. The performance featured a world-premiere commission by alumni Katya Richardson, a solo set with alumni violinist Sean Lee, and soprano Deborah Voigt, performing with our Orchestra. Under Maestro Grant Gershon, conductor of LA Master Chorale and LA Opera, we presented Carmina Burana, with alumni Nicholas Boragno, our music students and the So. CA. Children’s Chorus. Jodie Gates of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, choreographed for alumni dancer Alyssa Allen and our dancers. Grant Gershon said: “ I am so impressed with every aspect of the programs at OCSA. Obviously your students are tremendously gifted, but what really makes it special is their passionate dedication to excellence. The whole leadership team of teaching artists at OCSA is special, and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to interact with everybody there!”


CEO/Executive Director Ralph S. Opacic Ed.D.
CEO Term Start July 1987
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience  

The Orange County School of the Arts was founded in 1987 by a visionary 27 year-old named Ralph Opacic with a big dream—to take young people passionate about the arts and put them together with professional working artists in a world-class art school offering a pathway to college and a career in the arts. What he had was a powerful vision, great optimism and a passion to communicate his dream to anyone who would listen. Soon his dream of an arts school became a reality. Dr. Opacic has been personally honored with the Artistic Visionary Cultural Legacy Award from Arts Orange County for his continued efforts in support of arts education as well as the Outstanding Founder Award from National Philanthropy Day/Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the Orange County Business Journal. Dr. Opacic’s work continues to impact the lives of thousands of talented young artist scholars and receive strong support from the philanthropic, educational and artistic community.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
None None -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Mr. Michael Ciecek Dean of Facilities and Supervision

Michael Ciecek rejoins the Orange County School of the Arts to serve as the Dean of Facilities and Supervision after serving as an assistant principal in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. Mike has been involved in public education for 17 years as a teacher, activities director, and school administrator. After beginning his career at University High School in Irvine, Mike joined the Orange County School of the Arts in 2000, where he taught eighth grade US History, eleventh Grade US History, and Advanced Placement United States History. From 2003 to 2013, he served in administrative capacities for OCSA, first as the Director of Student Activities, then as an assistant principal from 2006 – 2013, before departing to become an assistant principal at El Toro and Mission Viejo High Schools. As an assistant principal, Mike has overseen master scheduling, college advising, student intervention and support, behavior management, facilities, emergency procedures, assisted with WASC visits in 2004 and 2010 that resulted in full six-year clear accreditations, three California Distinguished School Awards in 2005, 2009, and 2013, and a National Blue Ribbon Award in 2006. Mike has worked as a guest lecturer in the University of California, Irvine Masters in Teaching program, working with credential candidates on creating effective learning environments in the classroom. Mr. Ciecek also participates in the Orange County Department of Education’s Institute on Leadership Development Advisory Council. Mr. Ciecek holds a bachelor’s degree in history and minor degrees in theater and teacher education from the University of California, San Diego. After UCSD, he received his teaching credential from University of California, Irvine. Mike also possesses a master’s degree in educational administration from Pepperdine University.

Gregory Endelman Dean of Special Services --
Ms. Becca Freeland Dean of Student Services Becca Freeland joined the Orange County School of the Arts in 2002 and currently serves as the Dean of Student Services.
For her first five years at OCSA, she taught seventh and eighth grade Literature and Composition. Following that, with her position as Learning Specialist, Ms. Freeland took on a new role as the state testing coordinator for the CAHSEE and STAR, student intervention support coordinator, technology liaison, and Lead Mentor with the state BTSA Program for new teachers. She also served as the WASC coordinator for OCSA’s accreditation visit in fall 2010.Ms. Freeland then moved into an Interim Assistant Principal role in the fall of 2013 overseeing Student Services. When OCSA moved to a blended leadership model in 2015, she became the Dean of Student Services and she works collaboratively with the other three deans to support the students and staff at OCSA. Prior to joining OCSA, Ms. Freeland was a Humanities teacher in Paramount Unified for two years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast communications and a minor degree in business management from University of the Pacific. She completed her teaching credential at San Diego State University, her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from California State, Dominguez Hills, and her administrative services credential through
Orange County Department of Education’s Tier 1 credential program.
Dr. Maria Lazarova Dean of Arts Dr. Maria Lazarova currently serves as the Dean of Arts at the Orange County School of the Arts and has been named an Outstanding Arts Educator by the Orange County Department of Education. Prior to her appointment of Dean of Arts, Dr. Lazarova served as OCSA’s Director of the Classical Voice Conservatory. Dr. Lazarova holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts and a Master of Music degree and degree with a concentration in vocal performance, music education, stage directing, and jazz studies from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Music degree with a concentration in opera performance from Cal State University, Long Beach. In addition to her work in education, Dr. Lazarova has over twenty years of performance experience as a soloist in opera, recitals, as well as chamber and choral works.  She has performed as a soloist at numerous venues, including the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Barclay Theatre, Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Ahmanson Theatre, Soka Performing Arts Center, Musco Center for the Arts and the Hollywood Bowl. Awards in
competitions and scholarships include the Marilyn Horn Scholarship, International Liszt Competition, Long Beach Mozart Festival Vocal Competition, the Brentwood/Westwood Symphony Orchestra Competition, and the Young Musicians Foundation Solo Competition During her tenure as Director of the Classical Voice Conservatory, Dr. Lazarova was also a member of the Voice Faculty at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music on the campus of Cal State University, Long Beach. As part of her continuing interest and pursuit of excellence in the field of education, Dr. Lazarova has been invited to lecture at the International Society of Music Educators World Conferences in Malaysia, Italy, China, Greece, Brazil and most recently, Scotland.
Ms. Sally Lopez Dean of Instruction Sally Lopez joined the Orange County School of the Arts in 2006 and serves as Dean of Instruction. For her first seven years at OCSA, she taught seventh grade science and Pre-Algebra. She then spent two years as the Learning Specialist, where she was the state testing coordinator for the CELDT, CAHSEE, and CAASPP tests, Student Success Team (SST) coordinator, and Lead Mentor with the state BTSA Program for new teachers. Ms. Lopez holds a master’s degree in educational administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from California State University, Long Beach. She holds a multiple subject credential, single subject credential in mathematics and an administrative services credential.
Ms. Catherine Michaels Vice President of Development With over forty years of experience as a nonprofit arts administrator and development professional, Cathy Michaels has raised over $50 million to fund arts and education programs in Orange County. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Development for Orange County School of the Arts, overseeing board development and strategic planning, major and planned gifts, and the capital campaign. Prior to joining OCSA in 2007, Ms. Michaels served in leadership positions for Pacific Symphony, Arts Orange County, Saint Joseph Ballet, and the La Habra Children’s Museum. She has also provided consulting services for other nonprofits in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. An active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Orange County for over 15 years, Ms. Michaels has held numerous leadership positions on the Board and co-chaired National Philanthropy Day twice. In addition, she has volunteered with the PBS SoCal/KOCE Foundation, the City of Newport Beach Arts Commission, the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Newport Beach Arts Foundation. She graduated from UC Irvine with a BFA in Studio Art and from University of Southern California with a Certificate in Business Management for the Arts.
Ralph Opacic Ed.D. Founder and Executive Director Dr. Ralph Opacic founded the award-winning Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in 1987 and currently serves as its President and Executive Director. Dr. Opacic is credited for assembling the finest arts and academic instructors in Southern California and for creating opportunities for young artists to develop their talents to their greatest potential. Widely awarded for his achievements in arts education, Dr. Opacic has been named a recipient of the prestigious Arts Schools Network Jeffrey Lawrence Award and Orange County Department of Education Outstanding Contribution to Education Award. Additionally, he has been named one of the top three executives in Orange County by the Orange County Register and Artistic Visionary by Arts Orange County. While under the leadership of Dr. Opacic, OCSA has received top honors and recognition for excellence in both arts and academic education. In the 2017 Niche Rankings for “Best Charter High Schools,” OCSA was ranked number two in the state of California and number seven in the nation. Dr. Opacic earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in music from California State University, Long Beach in 1981, a Master of Science degree in educational administration from National University in 1990, and a Doctoral Degree in education from University of Southern California in 1994.
Mr. Teren Shaffer Executive Vice President, OCSA and SGV Foundations Teren Shaffer is a highly lauded arts manager, music educator, and conductor, winning prestigious awards, such as The Kennedy Center’s Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award and Arts Schools Network Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton Emerging Leader Award, Stanford University's Exceptional Teaching Award, and Orange County Department of Education’s Outstanding Arts Educator. He currently serves as Executive Vice President of the Orange County School of the Arts Foundation, overseeing a team of development, marketing, public relations, special events, and graphic design personnel. Shaffer is also involved in strategic management of OCSA’s arts conservatory programs, CSArts Academy summer, weekend, and adult classes, and special projects. Launched in OCSA’s 30th Anniversary Season, Shaffer assists in facilitating a Master Artist Series of collaborative performances, masterclasses, and residencies with internationally-acclaimed artists, such as: Wynton Marsalis, Deborah Voigt, Joshua Bell, Lythgoe Family Productions, Ali Stroker, and Matthew Morrison. Prior to his appointment as Executive Vice President, Shaffer served as OCSA’s Dean of Arts and Music Director of the internationally-
acclaimed Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble. Shaffer led the ensemble to become a finalist in The American Prize for Wind Ensemble Performance and to present a concert at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival. In 2014, the ensemble was the first band from Southern California to perform at the Midwest Clinic. This is the largest annual music conference of its kind, hosting nearly 20,000 educators and performers from more than 30 countries. Shaffer serves on the national board of directors for Arts Schools Network, and he held the role of General Manager for the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra for ten years. Shaffer earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and bachelor’s degrees in instrumental conducting, bassoon performance, and music education from Chapman University’s Conservatory of Music.
Mr. Steve Wagner Chief Operating Officer
Steve Wagner joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2001 and currently serves as chief operations officer and vice president of business. Bringing more than 20 years of experience in education to Orange County School of the Arts, Mr. Wagner is responsible for the management and supervision of the school’s award-winning academic and arts instructional programs. Additionally, he oversees the school’s non-instructional support services including facility, food, technology, finance, and budget. Mr. Wagner has been awarded the prestigious Non-Profit CFO of the Year award by the Orange County Business Journal for his work in support of arts education. He has also served as a teacher and administrator for schools throughout Orange County. Prior to joining Orange County School of the Arts, Mr. Wagner served as principal at Serrano Intermediate School in Saddleback Unified School District. Mr. Wagner’s experience with Orange County School of the Arts began more than 20 years ago when he taught alongside Ralph Opacic, Ed.D. at Los Alamitos High School from 1987 to 1990. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach and a master’s degree in educational administration from California State University, Fullerton.


Award Awarding Organization Year
Exceptional Charter School the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) 2019
Best Charter High School in California Niche Rankings 2018
national certification for counselors American School Counselor Association Model Ramp program 2018
Signature School Grammy Foundation 2018
Gold Ribbon School State of California Education Dept. 2017
Model School Counseling Program American School Counselor Association 2017
Outstanding Community Outreach Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2014
California Distinguished School California Department of Education 2013
National School of Distinction Kennedy Center 2005
National Blue Ribbon School National Endowment for the Arts and the US Department of Education 1998
Exemplary School Arts School Network --


Affiliation Year
Arts OC 2019

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Our Executive Director Dr. Ralph Opacic, is the former president of the Arts School Network, an international organization of arts schools and organizations. ASN serves as a dynamic resource for school leaders and best practice models. We hosted the national conference in Santa Ana in 2018. We also have well-developed corporate relationships, including the Disneyland Resort, which provides internships and behind-the-scenes park tours and speakers; Yamaha, which has donated keyboards, done an assessment of our instrument needs and provided professional advice; and PBS SoCal, which has screened student films, and provided professional advice on converting our studios to high definition equipment. We have developed partnerships with higher education resources such as Chapman University, the University of Southern California, UC Irvine School of the Arts, the Laguna College of Art and Design, and the Art Institute of Orange County.  We work with them on curriculum review and development, master classes with their faculty members, shared facilities and equipment, as well as college credits for our students. We also have OCSA parents who are providing some strong industry connections with Blizzard Entertainment, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Microsoft; and Red Camera, for example.


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 159
Number of Part Time Staff 346
Number of Volunteers 1,100
Number of Contract Staff 146
Staff Retention Rate % 105%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 9
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 37
Caucasian: 178
Hispanic/Latino: 47
Native American/American Indian: 1
Other: --
Other (if specified): 205
Gender Female: 293
Male: 184
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? --
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments

Orange County School of the Arts has two Succession Plans in place, one for emergency leadership succession, and one for executive transition in the event of a resignation, replacement or retirement. OCSA maintains a deep bench of key senior level leaders, which provides an excellent group of experienced administrators to support the operations of the school. OCSA continually builds and grooms the executive team with the idea of developing a strong foundation for future leadership. OCSA has often promoted from within, bringing capable administrators into leadership roles who understand the culture as well. We promoted our Dean of Arts in 2017 to take on more responsibility as the Executive Vice President of the Foundation, with the idea of assuming a larger leadership role one day. These key administrative employees also maintain strong relationships with the school’s Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, parent organizations and associated professionals such as attorneys, accountants, and bankers, so the relationships are not limited to one individual. OCSA continues to build its instructional leadership team, on the academic and the arts sides. OCSA’s Emergency Executive Succession Plan calls for the Chief Operating Officer to assume the duties of the Executive Director/President, in the event that the Executive Director is temporarily or permanently incapacitated, unable or unavailable to perform his duties. The Executive Vice President of the Foundation is next in line to support the COO in a leadership role. The Board of Trustees will make the decision if and when a permanent replacement is warranted in this situation. OCSA’s Executive Transition Succession Plan calls for a nationwide search to replace the Executive Director/President position. The school has a carefully defined set of selection criteria for the position; this includes an individual who is a strategic thinker and entrepreneur, a team builder, a fiscally responsible executive, a strong fundraiser, an effective communicator, and a person with exceptional knowledge of arts disciplines and the education field. Other than an external promotion, the next ED will likely be recruited from within the membership of Arts School Network, an international organization of performing and visual arts schools and organizations. Also under consideration would be high level arts administrators from universities or major nonprofit arts organizations. OCSA has a communications plan in place that will keep the school’s stakeholders informed during the search process and leadership transition. 

Foundation Comments



Board Chair Mr. Vince Foley
Board Chair Company Affiliation President, Chartwell Escrow
Board Chair Term July 2019 - June 2022
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Lisa Argyros Community Leader Voting
Patty Arvielo First American Funding Voting
Missy Callero Community Leader Voting
Bruce Chapman Red Camera Voting
Nimesh Dave Ingram Micro Voting
David Duffy Disneyland Resort Voting
Mohamed El-Erian Ph.D. Allianz Voting
Jeffrey Evans Capital Markets, Venture Capital and Private Equity Advisor Voting
Michael Fell Attorney Voting
Vince Foley North American Title Voting
Douglas Garn Toba Database Management Company Voting
John Gates Triumph Companies Voting
Michael Gleason Consumer Brands and Healthcare Brands Voting
Ali Hall Ali Hall and Associates Consultancy Voting
Jason Herthel Montage Hotels and Resorts Voting
Saini Kannan Community Leader Voting
Erin Kerrigan Kerrigan Advisors Voting
Eoin Kreditor J.D. Fitzgerald, Yap & Kreditor, LLP Voting
Sonya Kwon Senior Managing Director, Ankura Voting
James Looney Principal, Claudia and James Looney, Fundraising Consulting Voting
Jerry Mandel Ph.D. Irvine Barclay Theatre Voting
Sebastian Paul Musco Gemini Industries Voting
Maria Newkirk Fong J.D, Newkirk Enterprises Voting
Ralph Opacic Ed.D. Orange County School of the Arts Voting
Haeran Park Zedeck Community leader and OCSA Alumna "93 Voting
Kevin Rosenberg BridgeGate LLC Voting
Lee Runnels Full Circle Consulting Voting
Harriet Sandhu Community Leader Voting
Marisa Thalberg Taco Bell Voting
Christine Walker-Bowman Farmers & Merchants Bank Voting
Sean Windhamburke Kalotech Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- Exofficio
Julia Argyros Argyros Foundation Exofficio
Robert Bassett Ed.D. Chapman University Exofficio
Raj Bhathal Raj Manufacturing Exofficio
Robert Cutietta Ed.D University of Southen California Exofficio
John Daniels Retired, South Coast Plaza Management Exofficio
Patrick Dirk Troy Group Exofficio
Kris Elftmann Retired, Noelle Marketing Group Exofficio
Brad Ellis J.D. Retired, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, LLP Exofficio
David Emmes Ph.D. South Coast Repertory Exofficio
Paul Folino Retired, Emulex Exofficio
Robert Follman Retired, R.A Industries Exofficio
Janice Frey Smith Community Leader Exofficio
Carol Green Community Leader Exofficio
Martin Hubbard Community Leader Exofficio
Peter Keller Ph.D. Bowers Museum Exofficio
Kelly Lucera Long Beach Symphony Exofficio
Michal Mekjian Jr. Retired, Exemplis Exofficio
Rick Muth ORCO Block Exofficio
James Ray Sanderson J Ray Development Exofficio
Judy Sabbagh Community Leader Exofficio
Susan Samueli Ph.D. Samueli Foundation Exofficio
Ted Smith Retired, File Net, Mind Research Institute Exofficio
Kate St. Clair Dream Divas Travel Exofficio
Carl St.Clair Pacific Symphony Exofficio
Richard Stein Arts Orange County Exofficio
Russell Stern SolarFlare Exofficio
John Vestri Retired Exofficio
Lew Webb Webb Automotive Exofficio

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 4
Caucasian: 24
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 12
Male: 17
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria --
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy --
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 5%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments

As OCSA prepares to enter our 34th year, the leadership will continue to focus on sustaining and strengthening the organization, providing enriched and expanded programs, and developing strategies to increase the organization’s impact on the broader community. As we strive to increase our impact, we remain responsive to and focused on the needs of our OCSA students and families.

SUSTAINABILITY: Institutionalizing our strengths, as well as identifying and improving areas of opportunity

ENRICHMENT/EXPANDED PROGRAMS Effectively refining and expanding our programming to ensure OCSA remains a national leader in arts and academic secondary education

EXPANDED INFLUENCE Reaching outward with our successful model to develop an expanded regional, state, national, and international presence

additional information is available in our full Strategic Plan, which does not fit within the limitations of this section. 


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Advisory Board / Advisory Council
  • Board Development / Board Orientation
  • Capital Campaign
  • Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Endowment
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Human Resources / Personnel
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
  • Technology
  • Volunteer


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Revenue $3,516,830 $2,924,039 $2,032,347
Total Expenses $2,628,588 $1,806,376 $1,801,741

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$1,450,237 $1,042,476 $722,669
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue $172,238 $62,797 $127,158
Investment Income, Net of Losses $48,450 $3,692 $452
Membership Dues -- -- $0
Special Events $1,837,709 $1,679,983 $1,086,136
Revenue In-Kind -- $11,888 $36,862
Other $8,196 $123,203 $-102,251

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Program Expense $1,146,363 $565,660 $987,051
Administration Expense $1,446,238 $561,676 $272,018
Fundraising Expense $35,987 $679,040 $542,672
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.34 1.62 1.13
Program Expense/Total Expenses 44% 31% 55%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 1% 25% 30%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Assets $2,904,718 $2,495,606 $898,840
Current Assets $2,833,603 $2,493,111 $682,644
Long-Term Liabilities -- $382,749 $0
Current Liabilities $78,676 $175,057 $78,703
Total Net Assets $2,826,042 $1,937,800 $820,137

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 36.02 14.24 8.67

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 15% 0%
Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

CEO Comments

Our biggest financial challenge is that some community members assume we are a private school, rather than a public charter school.  The school year is based on a $28 million operating budget. Academic instruction is funded by the State of California from an ADA (average daily attendance) allocation. As a public charter school, OCSA is tuition free but donation dependent—we rely on the generosity of the private sector to fund the nearly $10 million annual cost of our arts conservatories, scholarship and community programs as well as the additional costs of equipment, facility maintenance and capital property acquisition. These private funds are raised through our nonprofit Foundation. Our parents are an important part of our donor base, but their gifts are voluntary, not required. Beyond their generous donations, we still need to raise over $3 million for our programs, and additional funds for capital projects--we have to buy and maintain our own facilities, unlike other public schools.  

Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the audited financial statements and Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.