David was born in New York City and moved to Los Angeles in 1989. In 1995, he co-founded New Roads School, a progressive college preparatory school dedicated to offering independent education to students from families who might not otherwise afford it. Under his leadership, New Roads grew from a small middle school to a K through 12 school with nearly 700 students on four campuses in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. In 2013, David began teaching in the Economics Department at UC Santa Cruz. In addition to teaching, he consults with schools and non-profits, is completing a book on education, and has involved himself in local civic life. David and his wife, Shelly Graham, currently live in the Santa Cruz mountains where he remains eager for the next adventure.
“Early in the year 1989, I had recently returned to Southern California. A meandering conversation with an acquaintance, Jack Zimmerman, ended with his casual invitation: “I am involved with a place in Ojai where we do this thing called council…you might find it interesting…” I said yes. A month or so later I went to The Ojai Foundation for a Council Training workshop. Nearly 28 years later, I continue to return to the Foundation, sometimes with students for a program with their school, sometimes with adults in ceremony of one sort or another, and sometimes alone–simply to walk and wander and ponder and breathe and feel welcomed by this land. Recently, when I was asked to consider joining the board on the chance that some of what I may have learned over the years might serve, I paused. A chance to give back to my beautiful and wise old friend, this place, this land, that has given me so very much? I said yes.”