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Greetings!  I want to let all of the OUSD staff know that the Board of Education is delighted with the appointment of Dr. Gary Yee as the Superintendent of Schools for the 2013-14 year.  His official tenure began on July 1, 2013.  As we welcome Gary into this new role, we also bid farewell to Dr. Tony Smith, who has ably led our district for the past four years.  Dr. Smith articulated a clear vision for a Full Service Community School District and a plan for implementation that is embodied in the five year plan:  Community Schools, Thriving Students.  Dr. Yee and the Board have expressed their commitment to continuing this implementation, while making refinements and appropriate adjustments according to the on-going results identified in annual review processes.

Coming from a family that has long experience in OUSD, Superintendent Yee has spent his own lifetime in service with the Oakland Public Schools – as a student, teacher, and principal; as a central office administrator; as a partner through the city and higher education systems; and for the last ten years as an OUSD school board member (including serving as the board president).  During the last months of Dr. Smith tenure, Dr. Yee worked with the Superintendent and the executive leadership with the expressed goal of providing a smooth transition. Gary is working throughout the summer, and I’ve asked him to provide a brief letter outlining some of the challenges and opportunities that he has identified, and what priorities he will be setting in the short and long term.


As your new Superintendent, I am so excited about the challenges and opportunities for myself and for our district, even as we say goodbye to Dr. Smith.  Tony’s visionary leadership and his clear challenge to us to work toward transforming the conditions in our communities that will lead to equitable outcomes for all students have certainly set the stage for my work in this coming year.  I want to share with you a few places where I hope to begin my own work this fall.

First, the school board has established clear expectations for the superintendent through its Superintendent workplan, which is based on the Balanced Scorecard (adopted last year) for the entire district.  The workplan’s highlights include: 

· Improved achievement and reduced disproportionality according to the Balanced Scorecard goals, especially in our high schools and our priority schools 

. Implementation of a Quality Improvement Plan for Special Education

· Improved system-wide operational expectations

· Implementation of the Board policy on Asset Management

· Implement improved Board-Superintendent communications protocols

For myself, I’ve set operational goals for our 2013-14 school year.  This includes:

· full staffing of our schools,

· transition from the temporary quarters for the administrative team to temporary, but more centrally-located offices at 1000 Broadway,

· adoption of an Asset Management Plan that includes recommendations on facilities utilization 

· implementation of our School Quality Review process,

· implementation of two important board resolutions (Site Governance and Quality School Development), and

· commitment to build upon the excellent work with our collective bargaining units that led to our 2012-13 collective bargaining agreements and two pilot agreements with teachers and principals.

Since May, I’ve been meeting with a wide variety of community members in all kinds of settings.  What I’ve been most impressed with, is the desire of most that we continue the implementation of the five year plan, Community Schools, Thriving Students, while at the same time, reviewing our current progress and making adjustments to improve system performance and student success.  Through your daily work, you have been instrumental in making the plan a living document.  I'm really excited about the concrete ways I've seen our educators move toward full implementation of the Common Core.

Thank you for the hard work over these past years, where we have experienced really deep budget cuts.  We’ve each had to make difficult decisions in order to preserve the core of the work that serves our community.  With the passage of the Local Control Funding Formula, I believe we may finally have some certainty about the funding for the immediate future; it’s not enough, but it is at least predictable.  And the with the U.S. Department of Education's approval of our School Quality Improvement System (also known as the CORE Waiver) we will have the opportunity to design an innovative alternative to NCLB.  

I’ve known so many of you over the years, and to continue the work, I will need your support and active engagement, and I promise you my commitment to helping us serve the children and families of Oakland. Together with our Board, we will present to the community a clear plan for the search for a permanent Superintendent. During this coming year, you can count on our continued hard work reviewing our policies, advocating at the state and federal level for our schools, and planning for a bright future for the city, its residents, and its families.  I look forward to a great year!

Oakland Board of Education President
David Kakishiba 
OUSD Acting Superintendent
Dr. Gary Yee, Ed.D
Last Modified on August 23, 2013