Our Board & Key Volunteers

Julia Arnold – President, Cooperative Director

Why: Julia (and her husband) chose homeschooling so their children would lead a life of learning outside the classroom. Nothing brings her more joy than to get asked if there is “going to be any school work?” after a day of learning in the community.  She loves that homeschooling has helped find her tribe and she looks forward to helping others find theirs, too. 

Julia loves the beach almost as much as she loves the mountains. When she doesn’t have her toes in the sand or a book in her hand she’s usually on vacation in West Virginia. Every outfit Julia wears is accessorized with Golden Retriever fur from her three dogs, Nugget, Buzz, and Winnie. Besides her dogs Julia loves dark chocolate, leopard print, and being spoiled by her husband, Dave.

Julia can be reached at jarnold@oceanstatecoop.org

Elizabeth White – Vice President, Assistant Cooperative Director

Why: Liz’s son was barely a toddler when it became incredibly evident what kind of child he was (feral) and what kind of environment he thrived in (mountains, oceans, forests, the edge of cliffs); even at that young age, she couldn’t fathom breaking the wild spirit that he was with desks, schedules, and behavior charts. From there, It didn’t take much research to go from interested in homeschooling to completely hooked. Since then she’s happy to report that she’s found a homeschooling community that benefits her entire family and has become an absolute cornerstone of her son’s educational journey.

When she isn’t battling full moons and modern plagues in the emergency room where she works, you can usually find Liz either road-tripping, hiking, climbing, swimming, or following her (still feral) child up the tallest trees he can find. That is, unless it’s the middle of the night. Anytime after midnight and she’s crafting up a storm in the magnificent silence that is a sleeping household.

Liz can be reached at ewhite@oceanstatecoop.org

Vichara Santos Silva – Secretary

Why: There is no place like home! Vichara truly believes this and knows there is no better environment for her four children to blossom in than when they are with her or Jonathan. Creating experiences and providing opportunities for them to explore are ways she nourishes their growth. A day full of adventure, they may decide to visit a library, farm, or go on a walk. On other days, they will stay in pajamas, cook together, and work on their individual goals. Either way, they love the flexibility that home education allows! Another thing they are really looking forward to doing together is  traveling and worldschooling.

For the last fifteen years, Vichara has worked in both K-12 public school settings and out of school learning environments. Her prior experiences include: teaching special education at the Los Angeles Unified School District and Little Wound School District, program director and associate director at Breakthrough Providence, and a founding teacher and board member of the Wonderment Microschool.
Other than being a mom and an educator, Vichara loves playing field hockey, shopping, laughing, and bonding with loved ones over a delicious meal.  She looks forward to meeting other families building a community where our children thrive in!

Vichara can be reached at vsantossilva@oceanstatecoop.org

Maureen “Nana” Wombolt – Treasurer

Why: Maureen is an avid supporter of everything her great-grandchildren do and that’s what brought her to OSC in the most wonderful way.  She became THE “Nana” for all of our youngest members when she stepped in to teach cooperative classes and volunteer whenever needed during our cooperative program.  Always willing to lend a hand, she stepped into the Treasurer position early this fall to support our organization.

A three time retiree from the workforce, Maureen was the first female manager for Levitin Manufacturing and worked there for 20 years.  She then became an accountant in the private sector for 25 years.   After leaving the corporate world, she worked in the public school system and is the former Treasurer of her local neighborhood watch.  When she isn’t supporting all of the shenanigans at OSC, Maureen loves to read, enjoys puzzles and is always down for a good piece of chocolate.

Maureen can be reached at mwombolt@oceanstatecoop.org

Cara Taul- Membership Coordinator

Why: When Cara’s oldest child was just a toddler, there were many questions from friends and family about when they were going to sign her up for pre-school, or at what point they were going to put her into day care. That got Cara and her husband (Josh) thinking, why is that the expectation? After doing some thinking about their own personal experiences in public school, they decided to explore homeschooling options. Needless to say they loved what they found. They were thrilled to be able to offer a different, more flexible schooling experience and lifestyle for their children. To allow each child to learn at their own pace and have more time to focus on their passions. The flexibility to be able to take off for a mid-week adventure to the mountains or spend a beautiful September day at the beach is their favorite part about homeschooling!

Now with three kids in tow with a wide variety of hobbies and interests, they have found their community with OSC. The kids absolutely adore their new friendships and all the activities that the community brings. Cara and her family are sure now more than ever that this lifestyle is a perfect fit.

When Cara isn’t dealing with the chaos that comes with having three kids, three dogs and more chickens and ducks than you can count on one hand, you can find her exploring new hiking paths with her family and friends. Otherwise, you can find her at home with a large cup of coffee and some dark chocolate working on her latest knitting or crochet project.

Cara can be reached at Ctaul@oceanstatecoop.org

Key Volunteers

Lisa Ferreira – Co-op Celebrations Coordinator

Why: Lisa learned about homeschooling from a friend and after the initial skepticism wore off, her curiosity led her down an endless array of online rabbit holes! She read about anything and everything, from the types of methodology parents may choose for educating their children to the realization that she would not need to cram extracurricular interests, family time, or trips into nights and weekends and could instead create an out of the box schedule to fit their needs – Sold! Exploring homeschooling during the preschool years just felt right and now they love the freedom and flexibility that it allows. 

When baby number two came along, Lisa chose to close up shop and decided to focus 100% on raising and educating her children. Prior to this leap, she worked as a psychotherapist and feels really strongly about prioritizing good mental health habits for herself and her children, especially at bedtime when some people who will remain unnamed do not want to go to sleep! Luckily, “we are all a work in progress” is her mantra. (Seriously though, bedtime, get it together!) She is grateful for her cooperative community and loves the eclectic nature of the classes, meetups and most importantly, the families. In no particular order, some of her interests include: coffee, social justice, chocolate, singing, making spaces organized and beautiful, Schitt’s Creek and TWD, curling up and reading with her children, shaving two minutes off of her GPS estimated arrival time, and pretty much any type of pizza. 

Lisa can be reached at lferreira@oceanstatecoop.org

Kati Hersey- Community Resource Director

Hello! I’m Kati, mom to Sylvia. I have been part of OSC for a year now! I have homeschooled Sylvia since kindergarten. I am a massage therapist and I have my own practice in Cranston, I’ve been massaging since 2006. When I’m not teaching my kiddo or massaging, I’m hanging out with my husband and family. I am so happy to be part of this amazing community.

Kati can be reached at Khersey@oceanstatecoop.org

Laura Clark- Member Liason

I’m the mother to one always homeschooled/unschooled 9 year old. My husband and I had very traditional school, college & work experiences and our child is taking us on a very different path.  We are just along for the ride!  (Mostly because she doesn’t have her driver’s license and we are her ride :)) She loves learning at her own pace and taking deep dives into what interests her. We all love to travel and be outdoors.  Homeschooling has allowed us to be adventurous without being tied down to a school schedule. Uncrowded ski slopes, museums and parks are our jam. We live on Cape Cod with our dog who has us all wrapped around her little furry paw. 

Laura can be reached at Clark@oceanstatecoop.org