Yes, their hats are in the ring

At a closed session special meeting tomorrow night, the Oakland school board receives a short list of semifinalists from Ray and Associates, Inc., the firm hired to help with the district’s superintendent search. The rumor mill is churning, of course, and I’m working to confirm some of the names I’ve been hearing again and again…

For now, I present you with two would-be leaders of the Oakland Unified School District: Michael Moore Sr. and Hae-Sin Thomas. They won’t know until tomorrow night whether they are among the candidates that the school board and its advisory committee will interview.

Michael Moore is a 29-year veteran of Oakland Unified who graduated from Oakland High School in 1975. He started out as a school security officer, and has since served OUSD in a dizzying array of capacities (15 in all, he said), from a food service truck driver to a middle school teacher and dean to a Senior Change Leader for the district’s Expect Success project. Now, he heads the Oakland Athletic League and supervises the district’s Procurement and Distribution Division.

His philosophy, in five words? “You don’t fix, you build.”

Moore says he’s not looking to build his resume, though. “I hope it’s obvious from my body of work that I love Oakland and I love the district,” he told me today. “I know I can do the job.”

Hae-Sin Thomas also confirmed today that she is in the candidate pool. Thomas is the president and CEO of a new educational consulting non-profit, urbanED Solutions. Before that, she oversaw the design and opening of Oakland’s new, small schools as a Network Executive Officer for OUSD’s New School Network. Thomas, a former Teach for America teacher, was the founding principal of ASCEND, a small elementary school in East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood.

You can see her public profile here.

Have some leads on other candidates or their qualifications? By all means, send them my way, at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Pepe

    Hmmm…I don’t see anything that proves they are capable of leading OUSD where it needs to go. They both seem rather short on experience, although maybe a hybrid would make up for each one’s shortcomings–Hae-Mic Thomoore?

    Any word on how short the short list is?

    If I looked at someone’s resume, and they had a different job every two years (on average) for 30 years, I think I would question both motives and ability.

    For Ms. Thomas, she seems to lack the executive experience that would be needed for such a large bureaucracy.

    I don’t know who would want this type of job.

  • Katy Murphy

    I think the short list will consist of at least five people, quite possibly a few more.

    Also, to your point about Michael Moore: I don’t know about the beginning of his career, but more recently, he was recruited to assume certain roles — such as Senior Change Leader for Expect Success (in that case, by Randy Ward) and, now, OAL commissioner.

  • Turner

    Experience? Well, Barack Obama was also short on experience yet he is now the US President. And,thus far, he has the confidence of the American people.

    Experience may be good but it should not be the only factor to consider. A person like Michael Moore who has had many jobs in the same district understands the point of view from the worker’s point of view. He has also spent time with the students so he also understands what they need. The only knock against him would be his lack of teaching experience.

    But, he makes up for it in other areas of expertise.

    Michael Moore would be the “out-of-the-box” choice who would really shake up the district. Why not try something different? We have done just that for our country.


  • ex OUSD staff

    Given the two names we have so far, I’d go with Moore.
    Thomas’ resume is filled with the type of edu-buzz vocabulary that makes a classroom teacher’s eyes glaze over:
    prioritize deliverables
    aligning practices
    districtwide strategic projects
    Multiyear Academic Acceleration Plan
    vision, design and make operative

    Are we growing children or planning an amphibious assault on hostile territory?

  • Citizen of Oakland

    Well, I don’t know much at all about Hae-Sin. How can we not consider a qualified individual who is more familiar with the district at all levels, than any other candidate. Born and raised in Oakland, matriculation through OUSD, and worked as a district staff member, teacher, and senior administrator. Persons that were only interested in their own agenda, would be moving around with no results. There is no way that you can operate in such a rapidly changing district at a senior level, without proven success and staying power. When most have been jumping ship during the hurricane, Moore has mended sails, and is now catching the wind! He would be an excellent choice!

  • http://contracostatimes.com Richard Cooper

    In the last five years that I witnessed the OUSD go into a spiral of leadership, changes and challenges it has been clear that Mr. Moore has been an instrument of untapped resources and district based knowledge. He has shown to be pliable in any position and illustrated great leadership skills. Also because of his background knowledge in all areas and tenure would be the reasonable candidate.

  • Tracy Meggerson

    It stands to reason, that a man of integrity and solid character ,would see the areas that need change , and not just assess them , but access the problem and implemnet change. There are far too many people in places of position, who close their doors after getting into office, and kick their shoes off in victory , leaving the problems in place while siting excuses as to why the change cannot take place. Micheal Moore has been there done that and can make all of his experience in diversity work for the forward movement of our children’s education.

  • Nextset

    I’d be surprised if either candidate has anything in mind that will change the disasterous course OUSD is on. But then, if they ever said something about such plans they’d never be hired.

    Good luck to all. My money is on the Charters.

  • Allison

    If these two names reflect the names of others on the short list, all I can say is “God help us all, especially our children.”

  • Judy

    I agree with Allison. Neither of these candidates would be considered as finalists in any other district. Here we go again!!!

  • Katy Murphy

    As I wrote in the above post, we don’t yet know who the finalists — or semi-finalists — are.

  • cranky teacher

    People are misunderstanding the process. These two are applicants who were willing to share their interest with Ms. Murphy. They are both longshots, based on lack of experience, and may be just trying to get their names out there to be considered “players.”

    Traditionally, a superintendent of a district of this size should have been superintendent of a smaller district. Of course, with the Broad Foundation running things, all you had to have was year of indoctrination at their center.

    Presumably this search will turn up more independent and experienced folks than the folks that have been running things since Chaconas was pushed out.

  • Katy Murphy

    I do have some other names that I will hopefully be posting soon.

  • Pingback: Another OUSD veteran who would be chief - The Education Report - Reporter Katy Murphy’s blog on Oakland schools()

  • Sara

    Does any one know where Mr. Moore received his college education and what sort of degree he got?

  • Katy Murphy

    According to Moore’s resume,

    B.A. in religion and philosophy at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas; M.S. in Educational Leadership at (what was then) Cal State Hayward, plus teacher credentialing and ACSA’s Superintendents Academy.

  • Nextset

    I am underwhelmed. This district needs a CPA – or maybe a HR person from a large bank as the CEO. The business of the Chief executive here is administration not education – the principals handle that.

    Maybe a military general officer should be recruited, perhaps a gray haired black female command staff officer.. (not joking, I’ve met one..) somebody who is polically correct enough but can manuver this oil tanker of a district through all the rocks and rough seas. I know nothing of Moore but his resume sounds like a no way candidate.

    It sounds like Cranky really knows what he’s talking about.

    The district should consider the military option – find someone with experience in logistics, personnel, training, discipline, deployment and budgets. Somebody who gets it how chain of command and organizational skills operate. Somebody with political skill – and I’ve seen how Pentagon types operate. Somebody with a command presence who isn’t into hugging and singing Kumbayah. Somebody on par with that asian woman in DC. A candidate who is self assured and somebody who would inspire confidence in them and therefore in the district. Somebody with a little gray hair maybe – and who has dealt with bad scenes worse than OUSD.

    These people exist and are out there. If OUSD’s board wants to have a little fun they might reach out for some non-traditional candidates – encourage others to apply. I know a retired woman who fits all the above (After leaving the Navy she finally retired from state service as Sr. Staff Counsel from one of the large state agencies).

    There are lots of interesting people with more significant professional and work experience. Don’t look at me, I don’t have the patience for this job.

  • Donna Dias

    Having known Michael Moore personally for the past 18 years are longer. I know him to be a man that is full of compassion. He is a man that I would like to liken to a Pit Bull in his work ethic. “He will not let go until the job is finsihed” I have seen Michael work and research an issue until the wee hours of the a.m. until he is satisfied that he has done his very best. As a fellow person in the belief that our students deserve the very best to equip them for life from Pre-school to 12TH grade. I will state today that Michael Moore will achieve much for Oakland. I would like to leave the following quote for those that read this note from Frederick Douglass.” It is easier to fix a young child with problems than it is to fix an adult. Would you agree?

    Michael keep that Pit Bull analogy up. You will surely change lives one day at a time.

    D. Dias

  • Oakland Teacher

    Michael Moore’s work ethic, desire for academic rigor and knack at streamlining procedures is exactly what OUSD needs. Often money is wasted because higher ups don’t take the time to collaborate with those on the ground (classrooms, lunchrooms, warehouse). He continued to be promoted because he has reduced costs by increasing the use of technology on a number of levels. He is one who always has the latest research at the tip of his tongue. He is an organizational genius and a force to reckon with. OUSD needs the integrity, gifting and work ethic of Michael Moore

  • Nextset

    Oakland Teacher: Moore may be a saint, but that is not our issue. What is he (and the OUSD board) going to do about students who have no intention of learning – who loathe classwork – who are attracted to sex and intoxicants? Does he think you can beat learning into them?

    OUSD is a lowest common denominator school. It gets the people who can’t or won’t go to the private schools. Like all the urban schools OUSD is loaded with underclass children who have the needs of underclass children. What is he going to do for them, teach them algebra 2? And while the board is diverting funds from the remaining (lower) middle class children to beat algebra into the underclass, what hope do the more functional kids have to catch up with the private school kids?

    Running an urban public school is an excercise in Triage and Asset Allocation. These educrats don’t even want to acknowledge these problems. They want to wreck education for the middle class while frustrating the hell out of the underclass at the same time. And here come the Charters.

    I don’t care how saintly Moore is, I hear nothing that is going to save OUSD from him or anyone else associated with OUSD governance. If they continue their “saintly” ways all we are going to get is more degradation of OUSD stats and more employers abhorring their products as a rule.

    What I’m looking for is new management that says early and often that OUSD will put resources where results are to be had. And openly start transferring kids based on performance until they have a lineup of certain public schools that can match Lowell and Piedmont. Students who do not perform, or are violent, should be transferred to holding pen schools with minimal resources. I’d also like to see some campuses offering classes year round, or a more aggressive summer school program allowing those that qualify for admission to pick up classes on an accellerated basis. Students who are serious about academics should not have to sit with, or attend a campus with, students who are not serious about academics. And no one shouls care what race they are. Losers of any race shouldn’t impede public school winners – because they don’t in the real world for long and the kids need to get trained for the real world. They will all be better for the early start.