About Sam



Sam Davis was elected to the Oakland school board on Nov. 3, 2020, representing District 1. He is a former Oakland school teacher, and the father of an Oakland Tech High School student. 

He currently works at the University of California on an education data project to help California high schools better prepare their students for college eligibility. He is also active with the Oakland Tech PTA, and a volunteer board director with Faith in Action East Bay.




Sam moved to Oakland in 2001, and taught for Oakland Unified’s adult education and family literacy program for eight years, as well as for the Building Skills Partnership, an educational project of the Justice for Janitors union movement. He has also taught remedial math courses at Cal State East Bay, Contra Costa College and Laney College.


Sam’s family literacy work led him to the Manzanita campus, where his son went to elementary school and where he was the Family Outreach Coordinator for three years. OCO (now known as Faith in Action East Bay) was organizing parents at Manzanita to fight budget cuts and to advocate for more funding to schools, and Sam got involved in that work as a volunteer activist, eventually joining the board of OCO for six years.




Since the 2016 elections, Sam has also been an activist for immigrant rights, through both OCO and his temple, Kehilla Community Synagogue. This work included accompanying and helping asylum seekers in Oakland, and organizing monthly protests outside the ICE detention center in Richmond, which contributed to Contra Costa County ending its contract with ICE for immigrant detention at that location in July of 2018.




Sam cares deeply about fighting for fairness, and against racism and sexism in all its forms in our society, and he believes that our schools have the potential to be a tremendous engine of opportunity and positivity in our city. He looks forward to being on the school board because he is not afraid to do the hard work and have the difficult conversations that we need to have to move our district forward.




Showing 2 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Sam Davis
    Thanks Jack and Scott for your comments. We need to make decisions based on data, and though OUSD has not been transparent about this, it seems probable that the school closure/consolidation process has driven a large number of families to out-of-district and charter schools, worsening the finances rather than improving them. OUSD’s high per-pupil costs compared to other districts are partly due to the very high percentage of students with special needs (14%) compared to 8% at charter schools, and there is a similar disparity with other high-needs groups like newcomers and alternative education students. Most districts in California work more cooperatively and successfully with their teachers’ unions, and I think that will be a key for us to have a stronger, better organized district.
  • Scott Law
    Very good web site and blog. Thanks for doing this, vary rarely have I seen such a comprehensive presentation from a candidate from any of Oakland’s candidates. However, I believe your position on closing Oakland schools is completely unrealistic. There is a financial drain of overseeing so many schools with low enrollment along with management oversight. Here are Grand Jury reports on OUSD – would be curious of your reaction to these reports…especially the findings and the recommendations.