College & Beyond - School One Alumni

Alumni Profiles

Our graduates have pursued an impressive array of careers, from visual and performing arts to law and engineering. Here’s a sampling, plus how School One influenced their decisions.

Patty Bowman '98

“There is not a doubt in my mind that had there not been a place like School One, my life would have ended up much differently,” says Patty. After failing at her previous high school she became an engaged student at School One with a passion for art. She went on to attend the Pratt Institute in New York, earning a BFA in 2003. From 2004-09 she and a business partner operated Trackstar, a bike shop and courier service in Manhattan. All the while Patty continued to take art classes and illustrate on the side. Eventually she completed a children’s book, The Amazing Hamweenie, published in October 2012 as part of a two-book deal by Penguin Group. Reflecting on her high school experience, she says, “what drew me to School One was the sense of community, which made it an ideal learning environment. The teaching method was all encompassing and interactive, inspiring me to actually want to learn and participate.”

Elicia Castaldi '97

The cover to the book, Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf by Elicia CastaldiNow an award-winning author/illustrator, Elicia cannot remember a time when she didn’t love making art. After graduating from School One she received a BFA in Illustration from RISD and then moved New York City. She illustrated the children’s book Miss Polly Has a Dolly (2003) and Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf (2007). The latter has won several awards, including an ALA Notable Book Award, Publishers Weekly Starred Review and Susie Wilde Award. Looking back on her high school experience Elicia says, “School One tore down every pre-conceived belief I ever had about what school had to be like. [It] taught me so many things: to challenge tradition, to take risks, to make my own path, to live life passionately, and to be ME. I don't know if I can find the right words to convey the immense impact School One has had on my life.” She is currently working on new picture book on healthy foods, which will be her first published work as an author. You can follow her career at

Seth Lepore '92

Seth is a writer/performer who has toured the country with several one-man shows, beginning with I am not Fragile: A Confessional, and produced music collaborations, including his solo project Older Than Hours. Before School One, Seth says, “I was trapped in a public school system that was more about surviving and social status than getting an education. I blossomed creatively at School One, where I was encouraged to express myself through poetry, theatre and music.” Seth is currently writing a trilogy about the underbelly of the self-help movement. The first installment, Losing My Religion: Confessions of a New Age Refugeewon an Encore Award at both the Boulder and Minnesota Fringe Festivals. The second, SuperHappyMelancholyexpialidocious, is premiering this spring. Seth has a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus on Creativity in Education from Naropa University in Boulder. Find out what Seth’s up to at

Allysen Callery ’87

Allysen is an internationally touring alternative folk artist known for her British Isles-influenced sound. Paste magazine listed her as one of Rhode Island's Top Bands to listen to in their50 States Project, whose critic wrote: "her lilting voice and heartfelt lyrics are eerily close to the work of the late British songstress Sandy Denny, the highest compliment I could hand down to this brilliant artist."
Allysen took up music in earnest while a student at School One. Before that, she says, it had been “something I had in me, but took for granted. Lon E Plynton was my teacher, and still is. He said to keep going, and I have.” Allysen attended the school when it was located on John Street in Fox Point. Even then, she valued its informal and close-knit community, where each person’s voice was heard.

Allysen is signed to German label JellyFant Schallplatten, and the domestic label 75 or Less Records. Listen to her music here!

Karen Owen Talley '86

"Before I found School One, my primary goal was to turn 16 so I could drop out of high school. The place truly turned my life around," says Karen. "While I was interested in learning, the public school I was attending wasn't able to recognize or build on those interests. It was the respect and individualized education I found at School One that set me on a more positive path." At School One, Karen got an internship with an attorney on a high-profile case involving efforts to impeach RI Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Bevilacqua. This sparked her interest in pursuing a career in law. After attending Antioch College and doing co-op placements with the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and Amnesty International, Karen continued on this path, graduating from law school in 1995. Since then, she has specialized in mental health law, advocating for civil rights and community integration for people with mental disabilities. She currently works in the mental health litigation division of the Massachusetts public defender office in Boston and is also an adjunct professor in the Online Mental Disability Law program at New York Law School.

Michael John Carley '83

Michael John Carley“I haven't yet found the words to describe what it's like to go from near-outcast in one educational setting to a heralded prodigy in another. It's almost 30 years since I was a student at School One, and I'm still not over the shock (and gratitude).” Michael earned an MFA at Columbia University after getting his Bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College. During the next 15 years he wrote several staged plays, and worked in Bosnia and Iraq as the UN Representative of Veterans for Peace. In 2003 he founded the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership, which is now the largest organization in the world comprised of adults on the autism spectrum. Michael has written extensively about AS, most notably in Asperger’s from the Inside Out and been featured in The New York Times, the BBC and NPR’s Fresh Air, among others. He lives with his wife and two sons in Brooklyn.

Shauna Sampson '83

"School One was an empowering experience for me," says Shauna. "I learned to look at the world more broadly and think independently. It's where I found my courage, voice and developed friendships that have lasted a life time." Shauna received her B.A. in Communications and Cognitive Science from Hampshire College. She worked in television and film production before attending the graduate Cinema Studies program at NYU. There she curated film and video exhibitions focused on the intersection of art and technology. Shauna moved to San Francisco in 1994 to help launchWiredmagazine and Hotwired, the first commercial website dedicated to technology news, culture and storytelling. She became a producer for MSNBC and helped launch the first technology cable channel, now G4TV. Shauna moved into interactive media and became a User Experience designer and product manager, working with clients such as LVMH, Wells Fargo, Wal-Mart, Intuit and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Considered an expert in her field, she now works for Microsoft helping partners and industry leaders build services that leverage Microsoft technology. Shauna lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.

Debra Mann '77

After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Debra performed extensively as a solo pianist/vocalist throughout the Boston area, and joined Reminiscence, a six-piece vocal-jazz ensemble, as pianist, vocalist, composer and arranger. After several years in Boston she relocated to Los Angeles and worked as a studio singer and solo performer. Returning to RI, she formed Pizazz, a general business band, and also released a self-titled recording of original songs. She then went on to form the Debra Mann Jazz Trio and Quartet, which performs at festivals and clubs, and has recorded three CDs. In 2010 Debra was on the Official Ballot for the Grammy Awards in several categories, including Record of the Year. “When I left School One,” says Debra, “I was incredibly curious and open to life. I credit School One with giving me a head start on life, on getting to know who I was and having the freedom to follow my heart’s desire.” Keep up with Debra’s performing career here!

Ted Orson '74

Ted has the distinction of graduating in one of School One’s first classes and being the first to send his own child to the school! (His son Jacob graduated in June, 2011.) After earning a BA from Hampshire College Ted pursued a law degree from Northeastern University. He has since co-founded the firm Orson and Brusini in Providence. Ted is also the current chairperson of the RI Chapter of Turnaround Management Association, and has served as a mentor to young attorneys through a program managed by the RI Superior Court. Read about Ted’s and Jake’s experiences at School One in our fall 2011 newsletter (PDF, 690KB).

Calling School One Grads!

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