Orinda Academy is a Co-Ed, College Preparatory, Independent School for Students in Grades 8-12, and has a Convenient East Bay Location.

Staff Bio: Norm Coleman


Norm Coleman is the Academic Dean/Assistant Head of School and College Counselor of Orinda Academy.  Norm is a founding member of the Orinda Academy community beginning in June, 1982 as a mathematics and social science teacher, being credentialed in both areas.  Norm earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and his teaching credential at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Norm has been an integral part of the Orinda Academy Community.  Norm taught every math class from Business Math through Pre-Calculus as well as World Geography, United States History, Civics, Physical Education, Creative Writing, and created the film version of Visual and Performing Arts.  Norm formalized the Student Council and served as their advisor for many years.  Norm helped Mitch Goldman originate the Orinda Academy basketball team and served as Assistant Basketball Coach for ten years.  Norm can still be found operating the scoreboard at home games.  Norm has enjoyed attending a variety of school activities with Orinda Academy students and colleagues from the nearby California Shakespeare Festival to far away venues like Los Cabos, Mexico.  Norm enjoys time with friends and family, movies, music, and sports (particularly baseball).

Building a Foundation of Academic Success at Orinda Academy

Happy Graduates!

Orinda Academy is dedicated to providing every student with the optimal environment for a quality education. With our small classes and valuable educational resources, we give your children the foundation they need to surpass all academic expectations.

Our student teacher ratio is 8:1, which gives every student the opportunity to get the one-on-one attention that he or she deserves. We give our teachers the chance to adapt lessons based on classroom needs. Our college prep curriculum is designed to help students make the most of their educational opportunities so they can achieve all of their goals.

If you want to give your children the best chance to succeed, turn to Orinda Academy. As one of the top preparatory schools in the East Bay, we provide the right kind of learning environment to help your kids succeed in the academic world. To learn more about our program or our admissions policies, visit us online or call (925) 357-9719.

Staff Bio: Mollie Mowat


Mollie Mowat is in her second year teaching Humanities at Orinda Academy.  She is the Middle School Dean and this year is serving as the Learning Support Coordinator. It is her 16th year teaching 8th grade Humanities and she still finds this part of her job exciting and rewarding!  In addition to teaching English and History, she has taught numerous electives and currently teaches a Freshman Study Skills and Health class here at OA.  Mollie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, with an emphasis on adolescence, a Masters Degree in Urban Education, and a single subject credential in Social Science.  She is currently enrolled at Mills College in the Educational Leadership program. She grew up in Santa Barbara spending lots of time swimming and surfing the beautiful waters of the west coast. She moved to Oakland, California in 1987 and still lives there today with her husband, two rescue poodles and a kitty.  For fun, she enjoys spending time with family, camping, exploring our world, going to baseball games (GO GIANTS!), cooking and meditation.

New Eagle Mascot Logo

This is our new Eagle mascot logo. This will be turned into a new logo with our name. It features our traditional three rings which promote Parents, Students, Teachers Working Together. This will be developed further and available on school clothing and merchandise soon. This is a sneak preview:

Orinda Academy Logo

Exploring the Benefits of Small Class Sizes

The right education gives your child access to a wide range of opportunities. When you are looking for the right school environment for your kids, think about how they can benefit from smaller class sizes. Keep reading to find out what a focused school with limited class sizes can do for your children:

Female High School Teacher Taking Class

It Offers More Student-Teacher Time

When there are fewer kids in a classroom, the teacher has the chance to provide one-on-one attention. When a student has easy access to the teacher, it makes it easier to understand and retain the information. One-on-one time between student and teachers ensures that every student is learning at his or her own pace. This time also helps the teacher give each student personalized feedback that shows them how they can succeed even more in school.

It Creates Classroom Environments that Are Easier to Control

Smaller classes are often easier to control, which helps the teacher stay on task throughout the duration of the lesson. Without as many children creating distractions, the teacher has a better opportunity to take control of the classroom and to teach the lessons of the day. If you want your child in a focused classroom where the teacher is in charge, you might want to look into prep schools with small class sizes.

It Allows the Teacher to Incorporate More Lessons

With smaller classes, the teacher can modify a lesson to cater to the needs of the students. This helps every student remain on task and get the best education. Classes with fewer children help the teacher present lessons on a more personalized level so students actually learn valuable knowledge that can help them succeed in future academic endeavors.

At Orinda Academy, we know what it takes to offer your children the best educational opportunities. Our private college prep school in the East Bay has dedicated teachers and small class sizes to give your kids the chance to excel in and out of the classroom. To learn more, visit us online or call (925) 357-9719.

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