O-Higher Ed was founded in 2019. Its mission is to help students of the Ojai Valley access higher education, with a focus on those who are first in their family to go to college. Students who are first in their family to go to college may start in the program as early as seventh grade and stay in the program through twelfth grade.
Founder Kara Hooper spent twelve years as the Associate Director of College Counseling at The Thacher School before founding O-Higher Ed. While working at Thacher, she also served as a dorm head, and coached girls soccer for nine years and girls lacrosse for sixteen years. Beyond her work with O-Higher Ed, she serves on the Troop Committee for BSA Troop 504 in Ojai and volunteers regularly at the food pantry for the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Ojai; she also serves on the board of the Ojai Valley Library Friends and Foundation (OVLFF). She lives in Ojai with her husband, Jeff, their two boys, and their dog, Karma.
Board of Directors
Maria Morales-Kent, President
Wendy Hubbell, Treasurer
Brenna Furness, Secretary