McClymonds to lose a principal

Yetunde Reeves, left, during a 2007 peace walk. Tribune file photo

When the two small high schools on the McClymonds campus in West Oakland merge into one slightly bigger school this fall, a new leader will be in charge.

Yetunde Reeves, the principal of EXCEL High School since it opened in 2005 — and a teacher at Mack before that — has announced she has taken another job, at East Palo Alto Academy High, a charter school run by the Stanford Schools Corporation.

I wonder how many of her young teachers will follow her out the door. Here’s her letter:

Dear EXCEL Families,

I first came to McClymonds in 2000 as a third year teacher and was hired to teach Social Studies and serve as the Activities Director. In 2003, I co-led a design team and from that work, EXCEL High School was created. Our mission was to prepare our students for college and to be leaders in our community. I became the Principal of EXCEL High School in 2005. It has truly been an amazing, challenging, and exciting journey. EXCEL teachers, parents, students, and staff have worked together to make EXCEL a great school and together, we have a lot to celebrate. Over the past four years, we have raised CAHSEE scores and increased our graduation rates.

I have accepted a principal position at East Palo Alto Academy High School and will end my tenure with OUSD on June 30, 2010. As a native of East Palo Alto, this position will allow me to give back to this community and continue to grow as an educator. While I am saddened to leave the West Oakland community, I am so grateful and appreciative of my ten years in this community.

Together we have moved this school community a long way. There are numerous services and supports that we want to see evolve into their next level and not lose momentum. Over the next few months, OUSD will work with the community to select the next leader and I encourage you to become involved in the hiring process. There will be parent, student, staff, and community representation on the committee and the committee will work closely with Alison McDonald, High School Network Officer.

In addition to helping to select the new principal, this is an opportunity to help shape the future of EXCEL High School. Your ideas and suggestions will help strengthen the school and continue the wonderful progress that has been made. There will be a series of community meetings to discuss school safety, enrollment, the selection of the new principal, and other issues. Please attend the first meeting on Thursday, March 25th at 5:30 pm in the library.

It is my commitment to help ensure a smooth transition at EXCEL. Again, I appreciate your support, love, and trust. This has truly been a blessing and a privilege to serve as your principal. Thank you again for your being such a huge part of my life and career.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Nextset

    The spread of Charter Schools means more opportunities such as this. The public schools are no longer the only game in town. As the budget cramdowns go on, there is going to be opportunity for principal/managers/visionaries who can figure a way to re-engineer schooling to get more production for less money (ie: computerization of secondary schooling). The Executives who become the leaders in this are going to make good money. And they will probably move around a lot (Company to Company if not geographic moves) also.

    There is real change coming.

    Great Luck to Ms. Reeves.

  • Principal

    What a loss for Oakland! Yetunde is exactly the kind of leader we need to keep in OUSD. I wonder what conditions would keep her in Oakland…

  • Teacher


    Why do you think that East Palo Alto Academy spends less money per student than OUSD or other traditional public schools? I think you’d be very surprised to discover the facts.

  • harlemmoon

    Yetunde’s departure is a true loss for OUSD. She is one of the few whose heart and mind are in the right place. Her focus is on the success of her students and the empowerment of the teachers in that endeavor.
    EPA Academy, a success story in its own right, will be an even better institution of learning as a result of her arrival.

    If there is a bright spot here for OUSD, it’s that they re-evaluate and re-calibrate as a way to respond to what will surely be a continued exodus from a district that has never seemed to position itself for success.