previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrownext arrow

Peace Academy Summer 2021 Program

Details and Registration Information Coming Soon

Program starts the first week of August. Program Theme and Registration will open soon!

Our Teachers

Dara Stepanek is an educator and community leader who graduated from Cal Poly with a Mathematics Major, Physics Minor, and Teaching Credential. She taught math at Central Coast New Tech High School for 6 years, where she served as the club advisor for the Social Justice League, a group of students who worked to educate, activate, and lead our communities into a world that is just for all. Dara enjoys time with her son and now manages operations for her family business, Bliss Cafe, to promote and serve locally grown vegan, organic cuisine. She recently became a Climate Reality Leader and is excited to graduate in March 2020 as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Her hope for this Enrichment Program is to reinvigorate our democracy by empowering students to be global citizens. Always looking for innovative ideas within the broad spectrum of educational possibilities, Dara is very excited to be a part of Peace Academy’s team and vision.

Dr. Ingrid Kovacs, an award winning credentialed music teacher. She has taught general music and orchestra in both the private and public school sector for over thirty years, for all grade levels. She is all level certified in both Kodaly and Orff Schulwerk methods and a certified Suzuki Violin teacher. Dr. Kovacs earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in Music (Music History) from the University of Southern California. In 2010 Dr. Kovacs completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at Boston University. Dr. Kovacs is active as a journal editor and presenter at state and national conventions. Her research interests included string pedagogy, classroom management, and historical studies, and her work is frequently published. As an orchestra director, Dr. Kovacs is well known for her innovation, pedagogical expertise and ability to engage students of all ages. Dr. Kovacs is excited to be working with the Peace Academy because she wants to help young people begin to develop a sense of belonging to a common humanity.

Sandra Sarrouf is a cultural worker, arts advocate, educator, and community organizer. She received her MA in Cultural Sustainability and BA in Environmental Studies and Political Science with a minor Global Peace and Security through UC Santa Barbara. As a professional dancer, she harnesses the power of creativity and movement as tools to embrace diversity, build just communities and learn about our multicultural world. Sandra is passionate about cultivating deeper understanding of the varied ways we participate in culture and brings a multi-layered perspective to the table. As a Middle Eastern woman who immigrated to the U.S. at a young age, she offers tools for those seeking to build inclusion and cultural equity into their organizational framework. Her radiant joy and deep cultural pride is most evident in the vibrancy she brings as an instructor and performer in dance.

Stephanie Krouse is a freelance artist and credentialed teacher. Raised in Los Osos, California, she attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and received a BS degree in Ecology & Systematic Biology with a minor in Spanish. Doing art, caring about the natural environment, speaking in Spanish and serving her community have always been her passions. As an elementary school teacher she loves to help her students create art with positive messages that are inspiring and hopeful. She currently works in Santa Maria and prior to this position she was a dual immersion teacher in Lompoc. Krouse is fascinated by color and design principles. Her style combines pastel colors and realism. Her home studio, set as an island amidst row crops, in Guadalupe, is an ideal place for creating art. It is also in this location that she lives with her husband, two children and her two border collie puppies.

Brandon Hurd is an engineer (BS+MS) by training and an “ecologist cowboy” by self-driven interests to join the revolution in regenerating land and reconnecting with food. He is a part of The Lavra community farm as a garden and livestock manager and will receive his Permaculture Design Certificate from Santa Cruz Permaculture this spring. Currently, he is researching sustainable communities, agroecology, and ethnobotany.

To learn more about the Lavra, check out their website here.

Dee DiGioia is a Certified Mindfulness & Life Skills Coach and Educator and resides in Los Osos. After working with youth for over 35 years, including special education, Dee founded Mindful Kindful YOUniversity (MK YOU) ( to offer mindfulness-based social-emotional learning programs intentionally designed to address the challenges youth, and adults, face in school, and in life, which interfere with learning/working, relationships, and mental well-being. As an educator in the public school setting over the years, Dee believes mindfulness is an essential and missing piece (and peace) in our schools and in our communities today. By setting the intention to practice mindfulness and kindfulness in our daily living, we can plant the seeds for positive habits to transform our inner peace and happiness. As a result, each one of us is positively contributing to a thriving, resilient, compassionate and peaceful world beginning within ourselves, and positively impacting our relationships at home, school, and in our communities. Dee is overjoyed to collaborate with “Peace Academy” on this mission of inspiring our youth to become peacemakers.

Peace Academy of the Sciences and Arts
Tax ID: 83-0651198
PO Box 13024
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406