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Oakland Teacher Honored in Race for National Teacher of the Year

I’Asha Warfield, a seventh grade teacher Frick Middle School, was honored today as a California nominee for the National Teacher of the Year Award.

Although not among the finalists or beating out Jeff Charbonneau, a Washington teacher who received the award, Warfield was the only California teacher nominated for the national award. The English teacher is one of five teachers who were recognized as Teacher of the Year for California.

Go here to see the article about Warfield.

Go here to see more about Charbonneau.

 

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OUSD Board’s Gary Yee candidate for acting superintendent

The Oakland Board of Education will host a press conference on Monday April 22nd to announce Dr. Gary Yee as a candidate for the position of Acting Superintendent in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). The Board will formally consider the matter during its next Regular Board Meeting on Wednesday, April 24 when a vote will be taken on the replacement for current Superintendent Tony Smith…Read the full announcement here.

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Teachers demonstrate today at five corners

Just when you thought AIMS and Tony Smith were the stories in town, OUSD educators will rally at five street corners in Oakland at 4 p.m. to drum up support for their demand of a 3.5 percent pay raise.

- 35th and MacArthur
- Grand Lake Splashpad Park  (where the Saturday farmers market is held)
- 51st and Broadway
- 98th and International
- Seventh and Market streets

Here is their explanation:

Escalating their fight for a fair contract, Oakland Unified educators will take to the streets at 4 p.m. this afternoon (Wednesday, April 17) on five street corners for their “Hour of Power” event to mobilize the community about their struggle. Oakland teachers are leaving the district due to low pay. The district, despite its $25 million in excess reserve funds, is refusing the Oakland Education Association’s proposal of a 3.5 percent raise for this school year. The protests are to educate the public about the district’s lack of priorities: For this school year, the district budgeted for 234 fewer certificated employees (teachers, counselors, etc.) and 36 fewer classified employees, but 37 more administrators.

 

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Update: Tony Smith and AIMS

At 6 p.m. tonight, the OUSD board is expected to speak publicly for the first time about the resignation of schools superintendent Tony Smith last week. There is nothing on the agenda but the board will say a few words and maybe we should expect some public comment.

In the meantime, at 5 p.m., AIPCS teachers will be “laying all details on the table” about efforts to oust AIMS board members Jean Martinez and Nedir Bey.  The teachers have invited parents and the public tonight (at the AIPCS II campus, 171 12th St.) to hear why the two should leave the board — as of tomorrow, Thursday. I can’t get to the rally tonight because of a breaking story and the OUSD board meeting at 6 p.m.

“Our goal is to inform the public, and put pressure on Dr. Jean Martinez and Nedir Bey to resign,” an AIMS teacher wrote in an email about their efforts.

Bey and Martinez are allies of former AIMS Director Ben Chavis, accused of fraud by state auditors. The OUSD board yanked the schools’ charter on March 20.

As long as Martinez and Bey are on the board, the thinking goes, Chavis is not far behind pulling the puppet strings. And as long as that’s the case, AIMS doesn’t stand a chance of keeping its charter. The teachers and other board members blame Bey and Martinez for standing in the way of hiring an outside consultant to get the AIMS finances in order. It was one of the key requirements of the OUSD board and may have cost them the charter.

“In order to bring Chavis down and hold him accountable for his actions we need to remove these two members from our school board,” the teacher wrote.

If the Alameda County Board of Education declines to overturn the OUSD revocation, AIMS can go to the state. That will be playing out in the coming months. But about a 1,000 pupils, their parents and teachers might not know the fate of the charter until summer break.

Bey is the “spiritually adopted” son of Your Black Muslim Baker founder Yusuf Bey. In 1994 Bey (Nedir) was charged with abducting and torturing a man who ran afoul of the bakery. He pleaded no contest to a felony charge of false imprisonment. He launched a failed health care company with more than $1 million in city money he never repaid. He also received public financing for a 2002 run for City Council. He was once a school site council leader at Fruitvale Elementary School. He used his birth name Victor Foster in documents filed to open a public charter school in West Oakland that he later withdrew. BART awarded him a contract for lighting work but had to reverse the decision because Bey had none of the required licensing and bonding.

But I am curious about business and other ties he and Martinez have to Chavis and I’m betting there are some of you who know a bit more.

 

 

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Superintendent Tony Smith Resigns

Staff Photojournalist
photo by D. Ross Cameron/Oakland Tribune

Superintendent Tony Smith announced in a closed session with the board last night that he is resigning as superintendent, effective June 30.

His reasons are family-related, as his wife’s father was recently hospitalized, and he and his family will now be moving to Chicago.

Smith wrote a letter to the board about his resignation, saying how proud he is of the accomplishments that have been made since working with the board.

While there is still much work to do, the district is well positioned to achieve the objectives outlined in the balanced scorecard and meet the goals described in our ambitious strategic plan.

Click here to read Smith’s letter to President David Kakishiba.

The board also released a statement on the district’s website to the community about the board’s reaction.

Also read Tribune reporter Angela Woodall’s story regarding the resignation.