K-12 Tuition Free Public School
Executive Director of Business Development & Operations
Amber Raskin is a veteran charter school founder and accomplished television producer with expertise in school governance and business management. Amber has worked tirelessly for the past several years to launch Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi) Charter School. The idea for the school began when Amber, who had moved to the Santa Clarita Valley for its outstanding neighborhood schools, quickly became disillusioned when she realized that her local school with its high test scores and stellar reputation was not a good match for her sensitive and creative daughter. Amber's son, a naturally structured little boy who prided himself on following rules, caused her to worry that a traditional educational model might promote too many rigid behaviors and not help him explore enough of his own thoughts and ideas as he followed a well-defined and entrenched path of learning. Seeking alternative educational options, Amber soon learned Santa Clarita Valley schools, including private institutions, focused on traditional models that did not respond to the instructional needs of her children. Amber began touring the state looking for alternative educational models that fostered learning beyond multiple-choice tests and a one-size fits-all approach to learning. Over the course of her search, Amber found exciting educational innovations that focused on providing youth with the necessary skills for achieving 21st century demands. Amber also learned that while it would have been more financially prudent to establish a private school, her interest in educational reform and alternative educational models had become a newfound passion. Amber decided to create a charter school so that access to innovative educational instruction would be accessible to a wider range of students throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. Amber’s efforts quickly found its grassroots supporters among other Santa Clarita Valley residents, many of whom had been home schooling their children due to a lack of local educational options. Soon innovative educators became interested in Amber’s efforts and an email list turned into a founding group that launched SCVi. When the time came, Amber selected a board of directors who reflected the necessary leadership needed to establish facilities, a financial and business framework and individuals with educationally progressive expertise. When Amber is not taking care of her two school-aged children or working at SCVi where she currently oversees all operations, facilities and business development, among other things, she can usually be found working as a community activist. She founded a local chapter of another non-profit in an effort to protect children from gun violence. She has lobbied in both Sacramento and Washington for safety issues on behalf of our community. A graduate of Cal State University at Long Beach, she has traveled the world, usually with kids in tow, and has worked hard to bring an international perspective to her family. Amber first traveled though Europe after graduating from college with a degree in interior design, but the heart for doing something more. Inspired by Oprah Winfrey, a woman who has realized great success through making a difference, she went into television working as a producer to create hundreds of hours of network television. She was responsible for multimillion-dollar budgets, hiring staff, and the start-up of new companies, including work in payables, receivables, and a host of other management activities. She managed several different staffs of 100-plus, including some especially difficult talent relations. These experiences prepared her for the most difficult of all producing jobs: being a mom.
Executive Director of Education
Dawn has over 25 years of experience in education. She has been a school administrator for over 10 years in both primary and secondary schools. As a teacher, Dawn used project-based learning in her classroom. She is passionate about doing whatever it takes to make a difference in the lives of children. She has successfully set up small learning communities with a focus on building relationships, which encourages students to make good choices. While a student at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, Dawn earned a liberal arts degree with an emphasis on special needs students and English. She received her master’s in educational administration from California State University, Northridge. Dawn has been a curriculum resource teacher, a mentor teacher, and a BTSA program director. Dawn is active in the Association of California School Administrators. She has held several positions on the Region XV Executive Board and currently serves as the Region XV president. She was awarded the 2006 Middle School Principal of the Year Award by ACSA Region XV. Dawn is excited to be a part of the SCVi team and looks forward to creating an innovative, engaging, and supportive learning environment! She resides in Lancaster, California, with her husband. Her three daughters are now in college.
Upper School Director
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Natasha brings with her more than 20 years of experience in high school education in various schools in California and in Melbourne, Australia, her native country. She holds a bachelor's degree in music and two graduate degrees (one in education and another in theology) and is currently working toward a third graduate degree in educational leadership and management.
Natasha began her career as a music and performing arts classroom teacher, directing and producing dozens of musical shows. She has been part of a start-up school and has served in various administrative roles, including school chaplain, house coordinator, department head, faculty head, curriculum and instruction lead teacher, and vice principal. She is an entrepreneur at heart, having developed and built departments from scratch into substantial programs and teams. Natasha has also implemented vocational education courses and was assistant chief assessor for courses in the Victorian Certificate of Education (the state of Victoria's equivalent of the IB Diploma Programme).
Natasha and her husband, Rob, who have been married 19 years, previously lived in Orange County where their boys attended a private school. They moved the family specifically so that the boys could attend SCVi's lower school. Natasha says that SCVi is far more similar to schools back home in Australia with its collaborative, creative, innovative approach.
Lower School Director
Kim joins SCVi for the 2013-2014 school year from the Palmdale School District, where she worked from 1992 to 2013. She was a teacher, curriculum resource teacher, assistant principal at both elementary and middle school levels, and a principal at both elementary and middle school levels. Born in Long Beach, California, and raised in Saugus, Kim is married with a son, daughter, and four grandchildren. She received her AA in social science from College of the Canyons, BA in liberal studies with a concentration in child development from CSU Stanislaus, and MA in educational administration from CSU Bakersfield. Kim has heard great things about SCVi and is excited to be a member of the team. She looks forward to meeting and getting to know SCVi's students, parents, and staff members.
Recruitment & Retention
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Many of you already know Jenner, as he joined SCVi last academic year as our Lead Advisor. Jenner used his natural ability to connect with others when providing leadership and support to staff, modeling good citizenship to learners, and creating an overall caring culture. He enjoyed listening to learners, providing guidance and advice, and mediating conflicts. He also worked with our high school facilitators and guidance team to ensure learners were successfully completing projects and classes so they are on target to graduate (SCVi will have its first graduating class in 2013-2014!). Jenner has fourteen years of experience in education, with three of those spent in private schools and eleven in charter schools. He was in a supervisory role for seven years and has a BS in accounting and marketing. Jenner and his wife have been married for twelve years and have three children.