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Ralph S. Opacic, Ed.D.
President & Executive Director

Ralph S. Opacic, Ed.D. founded the award-winning Orange County School of the Arts in 1987 and currently serves as executive director and president. Opacic is credited for assembling the finest artist-teachers and academic instructors in Southern California and creating an opportunity for young performing and visual artists to develop their talents to their greatest potential.

Widely awarded for his achievements in arts education, Opacic has been named a recipient of the prestigious Jeffrey Lawrence Award, named in honor of the long-time head of the Professional Children’s School in New York. It is the most coveted award presented to an arts administrator by Arts Schools Network, a non-profit professional association founded in 1981 that is dedicated to serving arts school leaders.

Additionally, Opacic has been named one of the top three executives in Orange County by the Orange County Register; the 2009 Outstanding Founder by National Philanthropy Day Orange County; a recipient of the 2007 Orange County Business Journal Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award; the 2007 Cultural Legacy Award: Artistic Visionary by Arts Orange County; Orange County Arts Educator of the Year for Administration by Arts Orange County and the Orange County Music & Arts Administrators; and a 2006 Outstanding Contribution to Education Award recipient by the Orange County Department of Education. He has also been featured in OC Metro’s “Hot 25” list as someone “defining Orange County with passion, creativity and an endless drive to make their mark” in 2000.

While under the leadership of Opacic, the Orange County School of the Arts has received top honors and recognition for excellence in both arts and academic education. The U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts have identified the school as a model arts education program. The school has been ranked in the top three percent of high schools in the State of California, and is one of the top five high school academic programs in Orange County.

Additionally, the Orange County School of the Arts has been named one of the top two midsize workplaces in Orange County by the OC Register; a No Child Left Behind - Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education (2006), a California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education (2013, 2009, 2005), an Arts School’s Network Exemplary School (2013-2015, 2006, 2010), and a Creative Ticket National School of Distinction by the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network and the California Alliance for Arts Education (2004-2005).

Actively involved in the arts community, Opacic is a past president of Arts Schools Network, West Coast School of the Arts, Pacific Coast Dance Fest, and University of Southern California’s Society of Delta Epsilon. He has served in board and member capacities for the Los Alamitos Television Corporation, the Los Alamitos Youth Center, Pathways to Independence, and the Rotary Club of Los Alamitos.

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.



Select a staff member to view:

Ralph S. Opacic, Ed.D.
President & Executive Director

Steve Wagner
Chief Operations Officer &
Vice President of Business

Becca Freeland
 Dean of
Student Services

Sally Lopez
Dean of

Teren Shaffer
Dean of
Arts Conservatories

Michael Ciecek
Dean of
Facilities & Supervision

Gregory Endelman Ed.D.
Director of Special Services

Ashley Talbert
School Counselor (High School A-D)

Kara McCann
School Counselor (High School E-K)

Mindy Shiroma
School Counselor (High School L-P)

Rebecca Vance-Freeland
School Counselor (High School Q-Z)

Vanessa Musso
School Counselor (Grades 7-8)

Cambria Cline
Vice President of Marketing

Cathy Michaels
Vice President of Development

Cindy Peca
Creative Director

Click here for the full Faculty & Staff directory


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