Woolman Staff and Board

Staff Members

Amy Cooke, Executive Director
Amy came to the Woolman campus with her husband Chamba and daughter Nora in 2000 as Head of School of John Woolman School. Fifteen months later, the four-year boarding program was suspended and the vision for The Woolman Semester was born. Amy continued in her role as Head of School until 2005, and she stayed on staff until 2006, when she and Chamba built a home next to the school. After a brief stint in the film industry, Amy and Chamba bought Summer Thyme’s Bakery & Deli in nearby Grass Valley. Serving food in the community and connecting with local farms became a second passion.  In 2016 she returned to Woolman as Interim Director.   

   Chris Benfield, Maintenance Supervisor
Chris Benfield grew up in the north of England. His interest in art led him to move to New York in the 90s after completing a B.A. in Fine Art (Painting) at Wimbledon Art School. After moving to San Francisco during the Dot Com Boom he became involved in activism via Art & Revolution's street theater and prop making for demonstrations.  Burning Man was a main focus for him for many years with its large art building through collectivism and wild, edgy possibilities, until a spiritual hunger that couldn't be satisfied in the desert, demanded a grounding in earth-based traditions which he has been devoted to for the last 10 years.

Board of Directors

Sandra Schwartz, Clerk
Sandra is an activist, social worker, member of a Quaker Meeting for 34 years, mother, friend, passionate about social justice and progressive education. She joined the CPFEA Board because she wanted to support the effort to offer a progressive educational model based on justice, peace and sustainability with a healthy dose of Quaker values to high school students. She was particularly intrigued by the partnership with MetWest and other Big Picture schools. She loved the idea of including urban youth in an experience that is often only available to the privileged, meaning people who know how to find and access these kinds of programs.
   Dr. Dan Shoemaker, Board Member
Dr. Dan C. Shoemaker (Ph.D., American Studies, University of New Mexico), former faculty at Bowling Green State University's Department of Popular Culture/School of Cultural and Critical Studies (Bowling Green, OH). Dan is an alumnus of beleaguered Antioch College, and was deeply involved in alumni efforts to prevent the college's closure in 2008, serving briefly as co-chair of the College Revival Fund's Direct Action Committee and as a member of the Antioch College Action Network. Dan is also a 1990 graduate of the Scholar Intern Program of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, an immersive experience in the philosophy of nonviolence and the history of the Civil Rights movement.  At BGSU, Dan took part in the nationally recognized BGX program (The Bowling Green Experience!), which emphasized ethics and values questions across disciplines for incoming freshmen. Subsequently, Dan was tapped to teach pilot sections of the Inquiry courses, which were intended to undo the damage wrought by No Child Left Behind education policies. Dan lends his expertise in progressive education and experiential learning to Board oversight of Woolman's educational programs.
Sarah Tyrrell, Treasurer
Sarah graduated from John Woolman School in 1978.  She has been active on the CPFEA board for many years, and is a dedicated and ardent supporter of all things Woolman! Sarah is a Release Engineer, currently working with Cisco Corporation.  
   Pat Phillips, Member at Large
Bio pending.  

Paul Jolly

Paul Jolly is a graduate of John Woolman High School ('78)  and holds a BA in English from the University of Maryland.  He is a published poet and an active member of the Religious Society of Friends (Strawberry Creek Monthly Meeting).  He has worked as a fundraiser at Scattergood Friends School, Pendle Hill Retreat Center, the ACLU, the Wilderness Society, and many other organizations.