Just before the Corona Virus Shutdown, OEA asked all school board candidates to answer a questionnaire - I will publish my answers in this space one by one over the coming days.
- Please provide us with a brief summary of your background. Education, length of time in the community, family members in our district, union involvement, boards you serve on, and any other information you believe pertinent to your candidacy.
My career has been in education. I was a teacher in adult education for 10 years, 7 of which were in Oakland as a member of OEA, the last 5 on the Manzanita campus as a family literacy teacher. I was an OEA site rep for Adult Ed's Family Literacy Dept. for two years and a member of the OEA contract bargaining subcommittee on adult education issues.
After severe cuts to adult ed in 2011, I became the Family Outreach Coordinator at Manzanita SEED Elementary, which coincided with my son’s first years as a student at Manzanita SEED. That year is also when I got involved in parent organizing with Oakland Community Organizations (OCO). I went with OCO many times to school board meetings during the waves of budget cuts to advocate for maximizing resources at school sites and making the cuts from central office. I served on the board of OCO for 6 years and just rejoined the board now that it has the new name of Faith in Action East Bay.
I got a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics in 2013 from Cal State East Bay, and I taught remedial math for a year at the community college level. (My BA is from UC Berkeley, also in math.) I took a break from teaching for a few years and I currently work at UC Office of the President in the IT department with a high school data project, the Transcript Evaluation Service, helping school districts to evaluate their students’ A to G completion for college eligibility.
For the past three years I have taught an afterschool class in coding and robotics at Oakland SOL Middle School. Iin the future I plan to return to teaching community college part-time once I have gotten settled in to being on the board.
I want to address what motivates me to do this work. I grew up in a rough part of Queens, New York, as one of the few white middle-class kids in a neighborhood that was mostly working-class people of color. I saw the effects of racism and classism on the streets around me every day, and I had leftist parents who explained to me why things were that way. The unfairness of it made me angry, and this was intensified when for middle school and high school I took the bus across town to suburban schools that were very tracked and segregated. Those experiences fueled my commitment to social change and equity, and are what motivate me to this day.