On April 30, 2014, I was presented with a tremendous honor and great responsibility. On that date, I accepted the opportunity to be the Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and with this the responsibility of helping the District with realizing its vision for the city’s public schools. Oakland is a city rich in diversity, culture, and civic involvement that deserves a strong education system that prepares young people for success in school and in life. I am excited to work with our educators, students, families, and other stakeholders towards the day in Oakland when “Every Student Thrives!” This simply means that while attending quality schools “all students graduate from high school as caring, competent, critical thinkers and fully informed, engaged, and contributing citizens prepared to succeed in college and career.”
I embrace this vision for the OUSD! It is one that resonates with me because it speaks to the hopes and desires we should have for every student. Such hope and the opportunity to be influenced by some positive role models with high expectations for my success surely contributed to me being here in this position today. Coming from a background where hard work and dedication in pursuing an education was my only chance at upward mobility, I understand how essential our school system is to the lives of our students and their overall development. I will do my best to lead in such a way that brings a sense of urgency to our efforts on behalf of students and families. The work we do is too important to be satisfied with not having a strong school district.
As Superintendent, I must also ask our stakeholders some critical questions:
By answering these questions with careful examination and relentless honesty we can improve in a way that is worthy of our children and allows every student to reach his or her potential. The Board and I are bonded in the belief that we can achieve our vision if all Oakland students:
My role is to assess the obstacles that stand between OUSD and its vision, identify and prioritize the resources that will help us overcome them, and oversee their successful implementation in the service of schools and students. This document provides a look at how I will tackle the job during my first 100 days and how we’ll build a framework for a school system that provides high quality education for all students, regardless of background, and destroys idea of demography as destiny. The end result will be to present a priority framework for implementing our strategic plan. This priority framework will clearly state the goals, priorities, and strategies we will uplift from Community Schools, Thriving Students strategic plan.