About Us

Four Key Founding Pillars

An Overview of Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy


Restoring local access to education

Restoring education to the Hopland community is essential to a thriving future for Hopland students, families, and our greater community. Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy (SVA) is a culturally responsive, community school where all students are valued and supported. SVA students will be prepared to lead and successfully participate in our rapidly changing multicultural society, they will contribute to the community with creative solutions and a resilient, culturally competent and collaborative mindset.


A thriving and resilient community

We envision a future in which all children are honored with equitable access to high quality education that results in success in community and career. SVA will empower all students to become critical thinkers, innovative problem solvers, and effective leaders through a dynamic and collaborative curriculum. SVA partners with families and the community to provide a program that reflects student needs and celebrates diversity.


We develop our STRENGTHS, design a common VISION, and together we ACHIEVE.

Innovative learning opportunities for students at SVA will include access to outdoor education, blended-learning, native and community school gardens, science, agriculture, technology, engineering, art and math integration, with strong support for multilingual students. Curriculum and instructional practices will reflect the needs of the diverse student population of Hopland, promote equity and prepare culturally competent, well-rounded, lifelong learners.

Community Based

We believe in the power of community

Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy will form a powerful school community that will enrich and energize the greater Hopland community. We hope to gain access and restore the Hopland Elementary School site with our committed local partners, giving our small town a place to gather and support the promise of our young people and families. Implementing a culturally responsive, inclusive, restorative and rigorous curriculum will contribute to local pride and local industry.

Reimagining Education

How we got started

The decision to start a charter school in Hopland was a natural conclusion that arose from ongoing community conversations since the closing of Hopland Elementary School over 10 years ago. With local access to education in this community for over 80 years, the closure of the school had ripple effects that were far reaching. Throughout the years, much has been discussed regarding the school site, and what arose was a clearly articulated desire for a more cohesive community gathering place, and a central location where families and children could receive the community support needed to build a thriving and cohesive town. 

With the fiscal impacts on Ukiah Unified, it had previously been determined that a District-operated school was not an option. After that decision was reached, the Hopland School Committee, a branch of the Hopland Municipal Advisory Council was then formed to build a vision and eventually to design and write a charter school plan and petition. Despite the disruption of covid-19, and the ensuing difficulty in meeting and garnering community support, the SVA founding team has been able to gather a core group of committed individuals with expertise in business, marketing, teaching, curriculum development, youth development, restorative practices and school finance who are willing to put the time and energy to making this initiative happen for the community.

Understanding Charter Schools

Frequently Asked Questions

How do charter schools work?

Charter schools are public schools operating under an independent contract or “charter” authorized by a school district such as Ukiah Unified. The charter provides the school with operational autonomy to pursue specific educational objectives regarding curriculum, staff, and budget. It also holds them accountable to the same (and often higher) standards of district public schools.

Are charter schools public schools?

Yes, charter schools are independently-operated, public schools. Charter schools provide a high-quality education option to public school students, upholding high standards that meet and often exceed the district and state metrics.

How do I enroll my child in this charter school?

Once we receive approval to operate, we will notify parents and then can submit applications for the school. If you are interested in attending this charter school, please submit our online intent form.

How can I teach at this charter school?

Once we receive approval to operate, we will begin hiring staff in a variety of different positions. If you are interested in teaching at this charter school, please submit our online teacher sign up form and submit your resume.

Do charter schools have attendance boundaries?

Charter schools do not have traditional school boundaries like district schools, which allows many charter schools to attract a diverse student body. We welcome students from Sonoma County, Lake County, and Mendocino County.

Do charter schools have admission requirements?

No, charter schools do not have admission requirements or entrance exams. Admission processes are similar to public schools.

Do charter schools charge tuition?

No, charter schools are tuition-free, public schools.

Are charter schools operated by a nonprofit?

Yes, our charter school is run by a nonprofit. We accept monetary and in-kind donations. If you are interested in contributing to our school, please email [email protected] for more information.