About Us

California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV) is a public charter school that provides a creative, challenging, and nurturing environment offering bright and talented students a rigorous college-preparatory education and pre-professional arts conservatory training.

The school’s unique culture and innovative curriculum allows its students to grow and thrive as artist scholars and to develop their confidence and talents. Small student/teacher ratios in academic and arts classes allow for personalized attention. CSArts-SGV students receive opportunities to participate in master classes, guest artist presentations, field trips, and performances, as well as a variety of campus clubs and activities.

CSArts-SGV is a tuition-free, donation-dependent program made possible through a unique public-private partnership with the Duarte Unified School District. While approximately 10% of students reside in Duarte, CSArts-SGV draws students from more than 80 cities within and outside of the San Gabriel Valley, creating a diverse culture of artistically focused students.

Mission Statement

We provide an unparalleled arts and academic education in a creative, challenging, and nurturing environment to a diverse student body passionate about the arts, preparing them to reach their highest potential.

Core Values

Core Values

  • Student growth and education comes first.
  • Commitment to excellence, innovation, professionalism, and integrity.
  • Foster a nurturing environment of creativity, respect, and collaboration.
  • Commitment to life-long artistic and scholarly development.

Our History

CSArts-SGV is the first regional campus to open in a network of public charter schools created by the California School of the Arts Foundation. The campus was opened to provide more students with the same life-transforming arts and academic programming celebrated at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). In its 30-year history, OCSA has become one of the most selective high schools in the nation. In an effort to serve as many deserving students as possible, leaders at OCSA established the California School of the Arts Foundation, which opened CSArts-SGV on August 14, 2017.

Our History
Awards and Accomplishments

Awards and Accomplishments

California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley has been recognized nationally and locally for exemplifying excellence in arts and academic education. During its inaugural year, CSArts-SGV received:

  • Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Arts Schools’ Network New and Emerging School Award
  • “Best Charter School in the San Gabriel Valley” by readers of the Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and Whittier Daily News
  • Nine John Raitt Awards for Youth (JRAY) nominations for Musical Theatre

Admissions Requirements

It is recommended that interested applicants have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and satisfactory citizenship. All applicants must apply and participate in a placement activity. CSArts-SGV is a tuition-free, donation-dependent public charter school; no student is admitted or denied based on financial capacity.

Unparalleled Value

CSArts-SGV offers an unparalleled value to its bright and talented students through the school’s rigorous academic program, combined with the 10+ hours of weekly intensive arts instruction.

CSArts-SGV is a tuition-free, donation-dependent school, provided through a unique public-private partnership. As a public charter school, CSArts-SGV receives funding from the State of California based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA) to fund the school’s college preparatory academic program.

Private funds must be raised for CSArts-SGV's comprehensive arts instruction. While no student is admitted or denied based on family financial capacity, parents are encouraged to participate in the annual Parent Giving Program, which involves a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to the school. Funds raised through the Parent Giving Program are used to cover all costs related to the arts instructional program, and every dollar donated goes directly toward students' arts conservatory education.

Families are encouraged to actively participate in their child’s education, through financial and volunteer-based commitments. Together, these attributes contribute to the dynamic school culture at CSArts-SGV, which promotes a cohesive educational community for parents, students, and staff.

Board of Trustees

  • Carolyn Breeden, Ed.D.
    Chair
  • Karen A. Herrera
    Secretary
  • Ceci Carroll
    Member
  • Vince Foley
    Member
  • Carol Green
    Member
  • Ron Green
    Member

Executive Management Team

Ralph S. Opacic, Ed. D.

Ralph S. Opacic, Ed. D.

Chief Executive Officer

Ralph Opacic, Ed.D. is the visionary leader behind California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley, which was founded in 2017 to provide the same life-transforming arts and academic education of Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) to more deserving students. Dr. Opacic founded OCSA in 1987, and currently serves as its president and executive director. He is credited for assembling the finest arts and academic instructors in Southern California and for creating opportunities for young artists to develop their talents to their greatest potential.

Widely awarded for his achievements in arts education, Dr. Opacic has been named a recipient of the prestigious Arts Schools Network Jeffrey Lawrence Award and Orange County Department of Education Outstanding Contribution to Education Award. Additionally, he has been named one of the top three executives in Orange County by the Orange County Register and Artistic Visionary by Arts Orange County. While under the leadership of Dr. Opacic, OCSA has received top honors and recognition for excellence in both arts and academic education. In the 2017 Niche Rankings for “Best Charter High Schools,” OCSA was ranked number two in the state of California and number seven in the nation.

Dr. 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.

Read More
Steve Wagner

Steve Wagner

Chief Operating Officer

Steve Wagner is the Chief Operating Officer for a network of schools that includes the California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley and its founding campus, Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). Having more than 20 years of experience in education, Mr. Wagner is responsible for the management and supervision of the academic and arts instructional programs of both campuses. Additionally, he oversees non-instructional support services including facility, food, technology, finance, and budget.

Mr. Wagner has been awarded the prestigious Non-Profit CFO of the Year award by the Orange County Business Journal for his work in support of arts education. In 2018, he was recognized for his leadership by the Arts Schools Network and received the Superintendent Award. He has also served as a teacher and administrator for schools throughout Orange County. Prior to joining Orange County School of the Arts in 2001, Mr. Wagner served as principal at Serrano Intermediate School in Saddleback Unified School District.

Mr. Wagner’s experience with Orange County School of the Arts began more than 20 years ago when he taught alongside Ralph Opacic, Ed.D. at Los Alamitos High School from 1987 to 1990. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach and a master’s degree in educational administration from California State University, Fullerton.

Read More

Administrative Team

William Wallace, Ed.D.

William Wallace, Ed.D.

Principal

william.wallace@sgv.csarts.net

William Wallace serves as the principal of California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV). Previous to this appointment, Dr. Wallace served at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) as dean of facilities & supervision, where he oversaw the expansion of the school from 1,800 students to its current size of nearly 2,200. He also assisted in supervising the construction of OCSA’s premier dance, music and science building, which was inaugurated in August of 2015. Dr. Wallace has also served as OCSA’s assistant principal of student services.

Dr. Wallace began his career as an English teacher at Belmont High School in downtown Los Angeles. While there he, along with five other colleagues, started a performing arts magnet program on Belmont’s campus that is still active today. Dr. Wallace has also served as assistant principal of pupil services at Buena Park High School, which is his alma mater. While there, he oversaw a six-year increase in the school’s API from 662 to 738. During his tenure, Buena Park High School won two Golden Bell Awards, was recognized as a California “Beating the Odds” school, and was noted four years in a row as a Newsweek top 1,000 school. Additionally, Dr. Wallace oversaw the creation of a specialized program for students with emotional disturbance, which set the standard for similar programs in the area. Dr. Wallace also previously served as an administrator at Troy High School in Fullerton.

Dr. Wallace taught Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate English at Fullerton Union High School previous to becoming an administrator, and also served as the director of Fullerton Union High School’s International Baccalaureate Program.

Dr. Wallace holds a doctorate in education and a master’s degree in educational leadership from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), as well as a degree in English from the University of California, Irvine. He holds administrative credentials from CSUF, and a professional clear teaching credential in English.

Read More
Abbe Levine

Abbe Levine

Dean of Arts

abbe.levine@sgv.csarts.net

Abbe Levine serves as the Dean of Arts at California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV). Previous to this appointment, Ms. Levine served at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) as director of arts enrichment and program expansion.

Ms. Levine began teaching at OCSA in 2004 and eventually became the co-director of the Creative Writing Conservatory, during which time she implemented innovative community programming and collaborative arts projects. Ms. Levine was selected as a Gluck Teaching Fellow in 2011, and in 2014, she was featured in Orange County magazine Riviera's "Arts and Power" issue for her professional and educational contributions to the local arts community.

Professionally, she has optioned a screenplay to the Hallmark Channel and her plays have been produced throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Ms. Levine was a founding member of Fell Swoop Playwrights and an inaugural resident of the Play Lab at the Ruskin Group Theatre. Ms. Levine’s play, Puppets, was a semi-finalist (top 10) for the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards and her screenplay, Rainbow Sand, placed in the top 15% in the Academy Nicholl Fellowships.

Ms. Levine holds her BFA in writing for screen and television from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and her MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts from University of California, Riverside.

Read More
Nicole Read

Nicole Read

Assistant Principal

nicole.read@sgv.csarts.net

Nicole Read joined the Orange County School of the Arts in 2007 as an AP United States history teacher. She continued to teach APUSH for the next eight years at OCSA, participating in the College Board’s annual AP exam reading as well. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Concordia University, and her administrative services credential from the School Leadership Program at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Ms. Read has served as OCSA's learning specialist and mentor to new teachers for the last three years, and is now joining the California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley team as assistant principal. She is passionate about working with students and teachers to create environments that are rigorous, engaging, and innovative.

Read More
Stephen Cook, D.M.A.

Stephen Cook, D.M.A.

Associate Dean of Arts

stephen.cook@sgv.csarts.net

Stephen Cook received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of South Carolina, where he studied composition with Dr. Samuel Douglas and piano performance and pedagogy with Dr. Max Camp. Dr. Cook additionally studied with Edith Oppens at the Aspen School of Music and Dr. Manuel Alvarez at the Conductor's Institute, University of South Carolina. While completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California, Dr. Cook served as an assistant lecturer in the keyboard studies department under the direction of Stewart Gordon.

From 1996-2012, Dr. Cook served on the faculty of the Colburn School of Performing Arts; he was also the Director of the Pianist Program at Orange County School of the Arts from 1996-2004. Dr. Cook served on the Executive Board of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers, and he is a former research program specialist with the Music Intelligence Neural Development Institute at the University of California, Irvine. He currently holds a faculty appointment at the Pasadena Conservatory and was an Associate Professor at Whittier College from 2002-2017.

Stephen Cook is a frequent clinician and adjudicator for such organizations as the Music Teachers’ Association of California, the California Association of Professional Music Teachers, and the Southwestern Youth Music Festival. Past activities include: the adjudication of the Pro-Romania International Piano Competition in Bucharest, Romania, performance and master classes in Tokyo, Japan, and Carnegie Hall in New York City, as well as numerous concert appearances with Broadway talent Susan Egan. Dr. Cook was the Musical Director, Arranger, and Composer for: Into the Woods, Urinetown: The Musical, Kiss Me Kate, Man of La Mancha, Cabaret, Beowulf, The Crucible, Romeo & Juliet, Hairspray, Rent, Next to Normal, others.

Read More
Mindy Shiroma

Mindy Shiroma

School Counselor

mindy.shiroma@sgv.csarts.net

mindy.shiroma@sgv.csarts.net Mindy Shiroma joined the Orange County School of the Arts in 2012 and currently serves as a High School Counselor at CSArts-SGV.  Previously, she served on the counseling staff for Newport-Mesa Unified School District and Arcadia Unified School District.

Originally from the Seattle area, Ms. Shiroma relocated to California in 2001 to attend California State University, Long Beach where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, while continuing to pursue her creative passions -- theater and dance. She also attended Eastern Washington University where she earned her Master of Science degree in Applied Psychology: School Counseling.

Additionally, Ms. Shiroma is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) who also holds a College Counseling Certificate from UCLA and a Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credential from the State of California.

Read More

FAQs

What is the admissions process?

Please visit the Admissions Overview page to learn more about our admissions process.

Do we have to live in the Duarte area?

No, residency in the city of Duarte is not a requirement of attendance or admittance. CSArts-SGV currently serves students from more than 80 cities throughout California. Bus, train, and carpool transportation options are available to assist with your commute. Visit the Transporation Overview page for more information.

May I attend part-time/after-school only?

CSArts-SGV is a full-time school offering dual arts and academic programs. Students must participate in both programs. Students in grades nine through 12 attend all classes on the CSArts-SGV campus. Seventh and 8th-grade students attend academic classes on Duarte USD K-8 campuses and are bussed to CSArts-SGV in the afternoon to attend their arts conservatory classes.

Are you a year-round school? What about school holidays?

CSArts-SGV follows a traditional two-semester school year, which takes place August through December, and January through June. The school also honors traditional school holidays, including a one-week break for Thanksgiving, two weeks for Winter, and one-week for Spring. View our Calendars page for specific dates.

What are the school's hours?

The school’s hours vary based on day and grade level. View the Bell Schedule for more information.

Are there any tuition requirements?

California School of the Arts — San Gabriel Valley is a tuition-free, donation-dependent public charter school. No student is admitted or denied based upon financial capacity. However, CSArts-SGV must annually raise the funds to operate the arts programs, and the school relies on parents and the community at large to help reach this goal.

Is on/off campus housing available?

CSArts-SGV does not offer campus housing at this time.

My children are homeschooled. May they attend your school?

Yes. Homeschooled students follow the same application procedures as any other student.

My child needs to "make up" a class; do you offer a traditional "Summer School" as do most public schools?

No, CSArts-SGV does not offer summer school; however, to make up a class, students may attend summer school at any accredited high school or community college and have those credits apply towards CSArts-SGV graduation requirements.