Around Town: Orinda News Briefs

(Courtesy of Orinda Academy)
Nancy Rowland is Orinda Academy’s new Head of School for the 2022-23 school year.

ONE Orinda Makes Progress Towards Helping Others
    Orinda Network for Education (ONE), formed in 2020 by the Parents’ Clubs of all six Orinda public schools and the Educational Foundation of Orinda (EFO), is making progress towards reaching its $4.6 million goal.
    “Despite the pandemic, the ONE ASK concept is working!” said Operations Manager of ONE, Meredith Friedman. “Previously, school parents were asked to contribute to both their Parents’ Clubs and EFO. By combining efforts and creating ONE, we’re seeing more donations for the full ask amount, higher participation rates and more collaboration and communication among schools.”
    Friedman said the budgets of OUSD and AUHSD are fluid as district needs and personnel change throughout the year.
    “We won’t really know if we’ve achieved what we need for ‘a fully funded school year’ until the end of the fiscal year in June,” added Friedman. “At this trajectory, we expect to reach that goal, but we are definitely not there yet.”
    ONE’s community fundraising efforts are $100,000 shy of its goal. There are several ways to donate. Community and business donations can be made at and School families can donate to their schools at
    For more information, visit

Nancy Rowland named New Head of School at Orinda Academy
    On March 1, Orinda Academy (OA) announced Nancy Rowland will be the next Head of School for the 2022-23 school year. Rowland will succeed Head of School, Dr. Susan Eva Porter, July 1.
    Rowland comes to the school with 28 years of progressive, independent school career experience at the Lab School in Washington D.C., a prominent arts-centered school for bright students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences.
    She visited Orinda Academy in February and said she was “impressed by the strong sense of individuality expressed by each student and the shared sense of belonging amongst students and faculty.”
    As Associate Director of Admissions for the last 10 years at the Lab School, Rowland initiated relationships with the Black Student Fund and the Latino Student Fund and led the steering committee, which developed Lab’s first DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) strategic plan. Rowland was also active in the Maryland Emerging Leaders Seminar (AIMS) to deepen her learning of school governance and continue her growth as a leader.
    Founded in 1982, Orinda Academy is an independent, private high school serving grades 9-12 in Orinda.

New Bill to Prevent Wildfires Introduced
    Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan introduced AB 2070, to prevent wildfires by increasing coordination between local fire districts and utility companies, according to a Feb. 14 press release by Jordan C. Curley, chief of staff to Bauer-Kahan (AD-16).
    According to the press release, “AB 2070 would require utilities to notify fire districts (24 hours before beginning high-risk mitigation work in a fire risk area during fire season) of controlled burns and other risky mitigation work during high fire-risk times, and it will increase accountability and transparency when a private utility company conducts high-risk fire mitigation work – ensuring that local fire districts are aware and prepared when utility companies conduct ‘hot work’ or controlled burns within their jurisdiction.”
    The utility will be fined $500 for failure to complete such notification.
    “Our fire districts do so much to protect us from fires. It’s essential we give them all the tools they need, especially during fire season,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan in the press release. “Utility work must happen in collaboration with fire chiefs to ensure our communities are safe from accidental blazes.”
    The press release addressed what initiated AB 2070:
    “This bill comes from the judgment in a legal case between PG&E and the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. PG&E had actually sued the city of San Ramon to avoid an ordinance requiring the utility report when they did risky hot work. The court ruled in 2020 in favor of the Fire District, which then reached a compromise with PG&E that will be codified in AB 2070,” according to the press release.
    For more information on AB 2070 and other new bills, visit

Compiled by Charleen Earley, who can be reached at

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