Campaign Leadership Team
Pictured (left to right): Kelli Frazer, Melissa Sorci, Erin Atkinson, Erik Murawsky, Jaime Giacalone, Paul Giacalone, Michelle Helvey, Emily Shem-Tov, and Melissa Barrow
Spreading Our Roots will be led by our volunteer campaign leadership team in collaboration with the Oakwood development staff. Collaborative leadership is a powerful force in ensuring Oakwood is poised to complete its campus master plan vision. We are thankful to the following parents for their generosity and dedication to making our fundraising efforts a success. Please view their testimonials about why Oakwood is so important to their families below.
If you would like to get in contact with our Campaign Leadership Team, please email: email@example.com.
- Erin Atkinson, Parent '25
- Kelli Frazer, Parent '21
- Paul and Jaime Giacalone, Parents '28, '31
- Sandeep Gopisetty, Parent '14, '19
- Lindsay Hessling, Parent '28, '30, '33
- Cari Jaquet, Parent '21
- Erik and Vanet Murawsky, Parents '25
- Emily Shem-Tov, Parent '26, '29
- Melissa Sorci, Parent '22, '25
- Jim Goldman, Parent '19, '23
"Our journey at Oakwood began nearly four years ago when our son, Andrew, was in third grade. From the moment we stepped foot onto campus we knew Oakwood was special. Student greeters were confident, well-spoken and friendly. Classrooms were engaging and passionate teachers were eager to talk about their curriculum. There was a buzz of excitement and a clear sense of community. We knew immediately that Oakwood was the right place for Andrew and that we would be doing him a great disservice if we didn’t seize this educational opportunity. To this day, Oakwood remains one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
We believe strongly in Oakwood’s mission, core values, and vision. Oakwood invests in each student, providing them with the tools, encouragement, and support they need to not just succeed but to soar. We have witnessed firsthand how Oakwood has already made a lasting impact on our son and are truly grateful to be part of this incredible school.
As parents, we are proud to support Oakwood both financially and through volunteerism and know that our efforts are helping shape the future of this vibrant academic learning community. Oakwood’s continued growth and expansion funded through the Spreading Our Roots Campaign will not only benefit our son, but also future generations of Oakwood students."
"You can feel the Oakwood culture of kindness as soon as you step onto the beautiful grounds. From the polite “hellos”, to the warm smiles, to the helpful assistance offered almost before you realize that you need it. It is a place of acceptance, where differences are embraced and individuality encouraged. It is obvious that Oakwood School has nurtured this culture from its inception, as it is effortless and natural.
The Middle School and High School environments incubate learning in a way that encompasses creativity, investigation, adventure, and curiosity. The passionate teachers not only engage the students with their subject expertise but also with an honest, caring, and supportive attitude. Their enthusiasm spills out onto the students who can’t help but want to learn more and strive for higher learning. They see the greatness in every student and help guide them to try the unfamiliar and reach for more. The students find that they are artistic, musical, thespian, scientific, athletic, and leaders—even when they themselves did not know it. Oakwood encourages each student to investigate what they like or love and find ways to immerse themselves in it.
The strength of Oakwood’s family community keeps growing stronger because of the active volunteering at all grade levels. You can tell how invested everyone is by attending any of Oakwood’s numerous events which are run by passionate parent volunteers with much support from grandparents, other family members, faculty, and staff. Working alongside so many talented and dedicated people makes you want to do more which in turn benefits the school by connecting us to one another and strengthening community bonds.
With so many choices in schools, it was important to me to find the environment that pushed academic excellence balanced by the arts and athletics for every student. I hoped for a place where my daughter would learn to have confidence in herself and in her abilities, to boldly pursue new things, to incubate the love of learning and not be afraid to try—anything. Oakwood provides all these things and more. So much more."
“When we set out on the path to find a school for our two children, Jaime and I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of things we wanted in a school. That list included academics, teacher to student ratio, values and morals, a clean well thought out campus, a school that had a sense of community, teachers that are passionate about what they do, a place where you can feel like you are 'a part of something great', athletic programs, a place that is not too big or too small, and finally good leadership from the administrators and teachers.
After we were done with our list we felt that we had set the bar too high and decided that if we could find a place with at least 80% of what we had deemed important, we would be happy. We were open to looking at schools in a very large geographic area because we did not want to “limit” ourselves to Gilroy and Morgan Hill. As we started the process of visiting schools all over the South Bay we were concerned that we may not even be able to find a school with enough of the things on our list. One of the last schools we toured was Oakwood and were very excited about what we saw. They had everything we were looking for and more.
We took the leap of faith and enrolled our first child, Dominic in preschool 5 years ago. We felt like we were making the right decision, but we wouldn’t really know until our son was settled in and we all had a chance to be a part of the Oakwood community. We could tell right away that we had made the right choice. Two years ago, our youngest son, Justin started at Oakwood.
At Oakwood our children are receiving a full educational experience that is beyond our expectations. They are excelling academically because of the curriculum and because of the dedication, professionalism, passion, and skills that all the teachers and administrators have. The class sizes are such that no student is left out. The core values of respect, honesty, kindness, and citizenship are reinforced by all the staff daily. The campus is beautiful and has the vision and room to grow for the future.
When we pick up our kids from school and we learn that they have genuinely enjoyed and talk about what a great day they’ve had—we can’t help to feel thankful for being involved with such a great school.
We are excited to be part of the Spreading Our Roots campaign. It is an opportunity to be a part of something big that will last for many generations. The new gym and theater are going to be great additions to the campus. The Spreading Our Roots campaign is an opportunity for the entire Oakwood community to come together and make an impact on enhancements that will benefit generations of students to come. In the words of James Cash Penney, ‘Growth is never by mere chance, it is the result of forces working together.’”
"One of the strongest beliefs I have in education is the preservation as well as propagation of virtue without which one cannot regulate the society to live in peace. Oakwood enables learning through educational travels around the globe to enable students gain the right knowledge and overcome ego and attachment to rise above oneself and spread knowledge."
"My husband and I chose Oakwood honestly, for silly reasons. We wanted to choose a private school for our then preschooler and Oakwood seemed like the best one in Morgan Hill. My husband had Ms. Poppy as his preschool teacher so we thought it would be really cute if Henry, our first son, had her, too. We also loved that Oakwood was so close to home. We were just thinking short term for our two young boys and number three on the way.
I got involved as a room representative right away. I started attending PSA meetings and joining committees. It was almost instantly that I fell in love with Oakwood! Everything about it blew me away. I didn’t ever think I would be 'that mom' that was on every committee and crazily involved. There was something right away about Oakwood, that I couldn’t put it into words, that made me want to get involved.
This is our fifth year at Oakwood and we are committed to putting our four children through this school. The culture of kindness is unbelievable! The teachers and administration are outstanding. My boys are happy and love going to school everyday. There have been many days that they don’t want to leave and ask to stay until 5:30. Of course the curriculum is amazing. My children are receiving an incredible education all while being taught how to be kind, how to talk it out when they have a problem and they are surrounded by children who are also kind, thoughtful, and respectful individuals.
I continue to be 'that mom' because I believe Oakwood is the best school. I want to do everything I can to help the teachers and administration so they can continue to give my children the best education, environment, and community. I love the human beings my children are becoming. Oakwood’s high academic standards, disciplined, and kind culture is the perfect environment to help them thrive."
"Our family has always embraced change, especially since it often leads to new places, friendships and experiences. That was the case when we left Campbell and moved to Morgan Hill ten years ago. Our daughter was five years old and we had no idea what a life-altering decision we made by picking Oakwood for her kindergarten class. We had visited every school in a 30-mile radius and none of them came close to sharing what the principal at Oakwood promised: “We focus on raising great human beings.” Oakwood has kept that promise through many years and many changes.
Our daughter is now 15 and, while she is academically on par with her friends who attend college prep schools, Oakwood gives her things other schools simply don’t offer: languages, music, and theater. The school continually evolves to give families what is needed, whether it’s guidance on how to help our kids in the face of all of this online pressure, or investing in this amazing new gym that will give our kids more space to explore and excel at every sport! Be open to whatever change has brought you to Oakwood–let them help you raise great human beings."
"Before coming in as a new Oakwood family this fall, we did our homework and research before making our decision to enroll, but, we had also seen firsthand the type of quality, high character young individuals the school has been producing. Now, with the school year underway, our family’s expectations have far been exceeded in numerous positive ways!
The Oakwood staff and student families are extremely welcoming which creates a comfortable atmosphere while generating an amazing focus driven community with the ability to accomplish any goal. The genuine care and dedication by the teachers for their student’s success is something we cherish and appreciate. With so many resources and avenues of support available to the students and their families, we are certain we’ve placed our daughter on the correct path for Middle School success.
The moment you step foot onto the Oakwood campus, it’s clear that it’s more than just a place for our children to learn but a place to get involved, participate and support. All while having the pleasure of watching our students grow into well rounded leaders of our community. No matter what the individual interests of a student may be, there will be an immediate sense of belonging while pursuing their passions and elevating their potential to the highest level in this exceptional environment."
“From the first moment I walked onto the Oakwood campus, I knew it would be a wonderful place for my two daughters to learn and grow. Touring the classrooms, library, science and computer labs, music and art rooms, and other vibrant spaces excited me for what their futures at the school would hold.
We’re now in our fifth year at the school and love the sense of community we have here and how much a part of our lives it has become. Each year, their teachers have embraced and encouraged them, and they have each made what are sure to be lifelong friends among their classmates.
The theater program in particular has given both of my daughters the opportunity to build self-confidence and shine on-stage, and they are bursting with excitement to see the expansion of the theater and liberal arts facilities. We love that teaching presentation skills onstage and in the classroom is such a core part of Oakwood’s mission, and have definitely seen the benefits it has already yielded to their communication skills, self-confidence, and joy of being part of something larger than themselves. And we believe that theatre, and all the arts, strengthen learning across the curriculum, and encourage improved academic performance and the collaboration, focus, and creativity that will be critical to their futures.
The Spreading Our Roots campaign gives us all a wonderful opportunity to invest in our remarkable school and make it possible for future generations of Oakwood families to "excel and discover, to imagine and pioneer, to lead and transform". I’m proud to be a part of helping to pay-it-forward for other families who can find our school to be as inspiring to them as it is each day to my daughters.”
“When we joined the Oakwood community 5 years ago our children, Lauren and Matthew, were in the 1st and 4th grades. We left an educational environment that neither one of the kids were thriving in; however, we really did not know our alternatives. We chose Oakwood when my son’s class size reached 37 and he was becoming increasingly apathetic about his academic performance. Neither of my children were receiving praise or punishment, they were simply trudging through school day-by-day. That experience seems like a lifetime ago.
Fast forward to today and both Matthew and Lauren have not only blossomed beyond any of our expectations but they each have a genuine spark and joy for learning that had been previously dimmed. I have many reasons how Oakwood has changed our family and how it is truly a special place.
At Oakwood, my children are receiving an education beyond books, beyond running laps, and beyond any classroom expectancy. My first reason is two words: Master Teachers. At Oakwood my children receive lessons from teachers passionate about their subjects. They learn science from a teacher focused solely on channeling their fervor for the subject to their students. They learn about art from an artist well studied in a variety of mediums as well as the rich history of the topic. They engage in dramatic arts from an instructor with distinct and distinguished experience in the domain. These incredible individuals are approachable, accessible, responsive, and motivated. In our years at Oakwood a teacher has never turned either of my children away when they have asked for help or clarification. There are no hidden agendas, no secret tricks—their sole desire is the success of your child in all facets that they touch. It is an enthusiasm that you can feel in the air throughout the campus and see in the faces of all the students.
My second reason is Communication. There are a few different layers as to why communication is exceptional at Oakwood. The first, and most important, is the manner in which my children have learned to communicate both with their peers and with the adults they interact with each day. My children, through both curriculum and the nature of relationships built, know how to self-advocate, how to be respectful of others’ perspectives, how to listen actively, and how to accept and incorporate feedback. Because of this, I am confident that my children will continue to grow into effective and empathic communicators in all their current and future endeavors.
My third reason is a Global Perspective. From celebrating with tremendous interest the variety of cultures in the Oakwood community to offering unique opportunities for world travel, Oakwood understands that they are creating future adults who will participate in life beyond their homes and families. I would have never envisioned feeling excited to send my 15 year old to another country without his family for 10 days, not in a million years. However, Oakwood has made this achievable for their students to absorb first hand as much as possible about so many rich histories and cultures through travel and experience. My enthusiasm for my son’s upcoming adventures in Spain speaks volumes for the level of trust I have for these genuine and authentic teachers.
When we enrolled at Oakwood many of our friends and family asked how we could afford the tuition. Now, I can say, with firm confidence, we cannot afford not to. I am grateful for the life-enriching experience our entire family has had and continues to have each year at Oakwood.”
Melissa Procker Sorci, Ph.D.