Lots of new principals in Oakland schools

Twenty of Oakland’s 98 schools will have new principals next year, according to a list that OUSD’s spokesman sent to me this afternoon (with a caveat that there might be some errors; it’s July, and the fact-checkers are on vacation). This is the longest list I’ve posted in blogging history (See 200720082009 or 2010, though those weren’t necessarily complete).

Here are the schools that will have new leaders this fall, according to the list from OUSD, which is posted in full below:

Elementary: East Oakland PRIDE (TBD), Emerson, Futures (TBD), Grass Valley (TBD) Hillcrest, Kaiser, Parker (TBD), REACH, Sequoia, Bella Vista (TBD), Laurel

Middle: Alliance, Roots International, West Oakland Middle, Bret Harte (TBD)

High: Coliseum College Prep (grades 6-12), East Oakland School of the Arts, Freshman Prep Academy (this is new, part of the restructuring at Castlemont), Mandela (Fremont), Media Academy (Fremont), and Metwest. (All three high schools on the Fremont campus will be under one principal, Dan Hurst.)

Below is the list from Oakland Unified, with the principal changes highlighted in yellow.

Principals in OUSD (changes highlighted in yellow)


OUSD’s latest personnel report

Some of you have asked for the district’s latest official reporting of new hires, promotions, departures, etc. I know this list isn’t up to date — e.g. Ash Solar, who headed the effective teaching task force, has left OUSD, but his name wasn’t on there — but here you go:

Personnel Report June 2011


Leadership changes on Oakland teachers union board

Challengers have unseated at least three incumbents on the executive board of the Oakland Education Association.

Ben Visnick, an Oakland High teacher and former union president, beat out incumbent Mark Airgood as treasurer. Toni Morozumi, a teacher at Montclair Elementary, unseated Tania Kappner; and Benjie Achtenberg, of Melrose Leadership Academy, will replace Craig Gordon.

Other seats will have new leaders, as well.

Isabel Toscano, a Castlemont Business Information & Technology teacher, won the open position currently held by Bob Mandel. Kei Swenson, a Fruitvale Elementary School teacher, will be the second vice president; she ran for an open seat against Mark Rendon.

Remember Oakland TIES, the group I blogged about last month? The group didn’t officially endorse any candidates, but sent out an email before the election noting that “several members of Oakland TIES” had endorsed Morozumi, Achtenberg, Toscano and Swenson.

All of them won.

Here’s the complete list of results, posted by OEA President Betty Olson-Jones: Continue Reading


An Oakland school’s transformation

April 15, 2010 parent strike at Lazear Elementary School. (Bay Area News Group file photo)A year ago this morning, I interviewed parents who were on strike and picketing outside of Lazear Elementary, a school located right off the 29th Avenue/Fruitvale exit of Interstate 880. They said they were fed up with some teachers — one, especially — and with their principal’s response to their concerns.

I returned to Lazear this month to see how it was faring under new leadership. I visited twice, and must have talked to half the teaching staff about their experiences. I was struck by the power of morale (low and high) and trust in this school’s story.

You can read about it here.

(Below is a photo of Kareem Weaver, left, Lazear’s new principal.)
Lazear Elementary Principal Kareem Weaver (left). Photo by Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group


Yee to serve another term as board president

Gary Yee, Oakland school board presidentJody London

Gary Yee will be president of the Oakland school board for 12 more months. Jody London was elected vice president at the same meeting this week.

In his acceptance speech, Yee said he believed the district should focus on high-quality teaching; safe and healthy schools; ensuring that all students have a “college prep course of study”; and a renewed commitment by the board to govern effectively and broadly, rather than in each member’s own interests.

Here is the full text, via OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint: Continue Reading


Meet CA’s new state superintendent

Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction. AP file photoTom Torlakson was sworn in as California’s superintendent of public instruction yesterday at Mt. Diablo High School, where he once taught and coached track. It sounds like it was quite a pep rally.

Torlakson will likely have more authority than his predecessor, Jack O’Connell. KQED reports that Gov. Jerry Brown will not appoint a secretary of education, as previous governors have.

What do you hope Torlakson will accomplish during these difficult times? Are there any policies embraced by O’Connell, such as the high school exit exam requirement, that you think he should support — or try to reverse?


New (and old) Oakland principals

This isn’t a complete list, I’m sure, but here’s what was on the latest personnel report (on tonight’s agenda).

Cenne Carroll-Moore – West Oakland Middle School
Gina Hill – Youth Empowerment School
Clifford Hong – Roosevelt Middle School
Troy Johnston – Skyline High School
Greg Klein – Alliance Academy (Elmhurst)
Eduardo Munoz – International Community School
Michael Scott, CBIT High School (Castlemont)
Betsye Steele – Leadership Academy (Castlemont)
Nima Tahai – Garfield Elementary
Kevin Taylor – EXCEL High (McClymonds)
Kareem Weaver – Lazear Elementary Continue Reading


Former Oakland principal, Hayward supe are finalists for San Diego post

Dale Vigil retired a few months ago from the Hayward school district after almost five years as superintendent, but I guess he’s not ready for a life of leisure quite yet. He’s in the running to lead San Diego Unified, reports Emily Alpert of Voice of San Diego.

Debbra Lindo, former principal of Oakland’s Castlemont High School and the CEO of College Track, is another of three finalists for the superintendency.

Interesting that two of the three finalists hail (at least recently) from the East Bay. I don’t recall either of them applying for the Oakland post last year, though.

If you were San Diego’s school board, would you pick either one?


Two top OUSD staffers out the door

Laura MoranBrad Stam

As leaders came and went from Oakland Unified’s 1025 Second Avenue headquarters, Chief Services Officer Laura Moran and Chief Academic Officer Brad Stam stayed put, helping the state-run district weather one transition after another. They worked under Randy Ward, Kim Statham, Vince Matthews, Roberta Mayor and, now, Superintendent Tony Smith.

But soon they, too, will be gone.

Continue Reading


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:
Continue Reading