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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 7:15 pm | Fair 56º


Co-Leaders Take the Helm at Open Alternative School

Nitin Anand and Alejandra Tashma will be in charge of alignment of policy, curriculum and decision making.

With the retirement of head teacher and administrator Gwen Phillips at Open Alternative School, the Santa Barbara School District has fashioned a shared leadership model with two head teachers: Nitin Anand and Alejandra (Alex) Tashma.

The Open Alternative program is a small school that started 33 years ago. It serves more than 200 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Anand and Tashma will be responsible for the health and success of the school. Their responsibilities will include alignment of policy, curriculum and decision making.

Anand has been with the district since 2002, initially as a special education aide at the Santa Barbara Community Academy. He transferred to OAS three years ago and has taught the upper grades at that site.

Anand graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in the anthropology honors program. His research specialization was in human biodiviersity, colonial and post-colonial studies, ecological anthropology and the history of science. He has a master’s degree in education from UCSB.

Tashma graduated from UCSB with a degree in liberal studies, and an emphasis on Latin American, French and English literature. She received her teaching credential at UCSB. Her work in education began in 1987, when she worked at Canalino School’s bilingual program. She wrote and implemented a Bank of America grant focusing on involving low socio-economic, non-English-speaking parents in the classroom.

Tashma helped establish Cesar Chavez Charter School, serving as the school’s curriculum coordinator, district representative and community liaison. She moved to Open Alternative School in 2003 and has been working there as a kindergarten/first-grade teacher.

Barbara Keyani is administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara School District.

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