Alumni Employees

We are starting a new series, "Back in the House," where we focus on our current alumni who are employees at Oaks Christian School! We want to highlight their achievements since they graduated from Oaks and returned to dedicate their services to our students and community!

First up is Tatum Shackelford, Class of 2016! When she was at Oaks, her favorite class was AP Literature! She has since graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A. and St. Andrews University with MLitt. Shackelford has returned to the Oaks Christian Middle School as their English Teacher!

We have Sally Gordin née Roberts, Class of 2004, who is (fun fact!) our first-ever Oaks alumni employee! She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts. On the first day of school, she remembers seeing an unfinished building. Gordin says, "I think back to that as a time that showed me what stepping into faith as a community looked like: it wasn't that the school was proven to be anything, but everyone had faith in what it could be."

Currently, Gordin teaches English (6-12), but previously she taught, wrote curriculum for, and worked with teachers at OCO. She is grateful to have been awarded Teacher of the Year 2020!

The Teacher of the Year Award Goes to...!

The 2021-22 OCS "Teacher of the Year" honors went to High School Science Teacher Julie Pugh and Middle School Math Teacher Tyler Erickson. Formally known as The Atsinger Teaching Excellence Award, the title is awarded to faculty instructors for their teaching performance throughout the school year and those who are recognized by their colleagues.

Read more here!

Transcending Culture Through Photography

Amber Seat literally stumbled upon her love of photography in the most romantic city in the world. When she was in second grade, her father took the family on a business trip to Paris.

“None of us spoke French at all, and on one of the days that we got lost in the city, we stumbled upon a fashion photo shoot in one of the squares,” she recalled. “I fell in love with the idea of creating scenes like those made in the ancient square. There were big lights, props, a full crew of photographers, assistants, make-up artists, and models. Many young girls may have been attracted to the models in a situation like this, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the cameras.

Fifteen years later, at 23, she returned to Paris on her own, this time with her very first manual camera, ready to capture the distinct visuals of Paris to create her original photographic art.

Fast forward a few more years, and Seat still has her eyes and hands on the camera. As the middle school yearbook and photography teaches she helps budding photographers learn the ins and outs of apertures, shutter speeds and composition. When not in the classroom, she continues to develop her own style. Her work has appeared in galleries in San Francisco and New York.

This past year she was lauded for two significant achievements.

This fall, her work will be featured at the 17th Annual Pollux Awards in Barcelona, Spain. Sponsored by the Foto Nostrum Photo Magazine and the Mediterranean House of Photography, the exhibit will debut in October 2022 in Foto Nostrum's gallery.

Seat took a series of photographs in the fall semester titled “The Wasteland” taken at the Lake Delores abandoned waterpark in Barstow, Ca. She submitted three from the series and was awarded honorable mention in the Street Photography Category.

“Several photographers that I admire and that inspire me will also be displaying their work at the same gallery in October, when these will be displayed. I'm excited to go to Barcelona this fall to see my work hanging on the walls of a gallery and to meet and work with some of the biggest names in contemporary photography,” she said.

In the spring she was awarded the 18th Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Professional Section: Children. The competition was centered around women photographers internationally, and the jurors of the competition selected four winners.

Her pieces came out of her series she created for her Master of Fine Arts Project, “We’re Unable to Answer the Door.”

It starts with the first time a parent leaves a child home alone. Do not cook in case you burn down the house. Do not wear socks on the stairs; you will slip. Do not run with scissors. And whatever you do, DON’T ANSWER THE DOOR!

Drawing from personal experiences and observations, We’re Unable to Answer the Door is an exploration into the resilient nature of children and a parent’s balance of protecting them while giving them responsibility.

“My sisters and I recount stories from our childhood and often ask ourselves, ‘Where were our parents while we were doing this?’ I found life a thrilling adventure - too young to really understand what was going on around us and too naive to know that maybe a five-year-old shouldn't be cooking unsupervised. We focused on the good and escaped mostly unharmed,” she recalled.

This series chronicles the lives of children who are given the responsibility to run their own world. A world where there is the potential for disaster yet a praiseworthy sense of accomplishment. Through the playful, lighthearted surface, a deeper question remains: How much responsibility is too much?

Winning competitions and garnering honors mean more than accolades to Seat. She gains deep satisfaction that through art she can reach people and connect globally,’

“I am so honored that the message transcends language and culture,” she shared