My name is Mary Prime-Lawrence, and these aretwo of my kids. I moved to Oakland to attendundergrad at Mills College and never left. I fell inlove with this city- warts and all. I am workinghard to help treat some of those warts.I met my husband in Oakland and we fell in loveand started our family. I am the proud parent ofthree amazing children. My children attend apublic charter school. We are fortunate enoughto have the time, energy, and resources toundertake the tough task of finding a greatschool for our kids. We found a great charterschool that embraced not only our children butour whole family. I want every family to find aschool for their children that welcomes, affirmsand lifts up children the way that my childrensschool does.Much, if not all I do in Oakland is influenced bychildren: My own children, your children, OURchildren. They are why I am so active in Oakland.They are why I help with youth sports, publicsafety, healthy food access, you name it. Theyare why I am going back to school to become ateacher. They are why I am a part of GO.
My name is Minh-Tram Nguyen, and I am the founding Principal ofEnCompass Academy. Democracy to me is so much more thanhaving the opportunity to vote. My family escaped as politicalrefugees from a communist state. Our Elders sacrificed everythingso that we could have educational opportunities under ademocracy; I try to do my part as a school leader to help bring thispromised democracy closer to its ideal. That’s why it is sorefreshing and uplifting to have organizational allies like GO toengage Oaklanders in meaningful democratic action on behalf ofpublic schools. Thank you, GO!
My name is Eleanore Terrell-Stovall. I live and work in Oaklandwhere I teach 3rd grade atFruitvale Elementary. Over thepast 16 years that I have beenprivileged to teach,I realize how much the city has tobe proud of; it’s naturallandscape, Mediterranean climateand close proximity to some of theworld’s finest universities. Mydream is thatone day, in the near future, I will beable to say that Oakland has aworld class public educationalsystem too and all thechildren, regardless of socio-economic status are learning athigh levels throughout our city.That day is approaching!
Im Dave Orphal. After teaching for ten years in Humboldt County, I washappy to return home to the Bay Area and to join a community of dedicatedteachers in Oakland schools. I am a proud member of the OaklandEducators Association and the California Teachers Association. Im the sonof one of the founders of the New Mexico branch of the ACLU, and thegrandson of one of the organizers of General Motors for the United AutoWorkers. I guess unionism and agitating for the rights of working folks is inmy DNA.I am GO because I believe that the Oakland community has the capacity andthe desire to make positive school reform for our children. I know thatsometimes it looks like compromise is a pipe dream as OEA and OUSDsquare off on a reform idea. However, I am in favor of these arguments. Ourchildren are too important not to argue when we have honest disagreementsabout the best way forward. GO Public Schools can help us bridge ourdivides, heal our old wounds, and come together to try again to find our way.Its my hope that we can have these arguments together. Knowing thattogether (school officials, parents, teachers, and Oakland communitymembers) we can disagree without being disagreeable. Together, we canargue until we find a solution that we can all agree on. Together, we canmake Oakland better for our kids.
My name is C.J. Hirschfield. At my dayjob, I’m lucky enough to be surroundedby over 100,000 preschool kids eachyear. It’s wonderful. I see theirexcitement, how they fully use theirimaginations, how their diversitymakes for such a rich environment inour city.Their potential seems limitless. I seetheir parents full of pride and joy asthey focus on ensuring that their kidswill someday be able to follow theirdreams. And each of these kidsdeserves the opportunity, once theyget a little older, to attend a qualitypublic school.Effective teachers, strong partnershipsbetween families, teachers, principalsand students—and mostimportantly, all of us pulling togetherwith one goal: Our precious kids, onwhom all of our efforts should befocused. Let the kids play—and let allof us adults work hard on their behalf.They’re worth it.
My name is Jennifer Rakowski. My wife and I have chosen to raise our children in Oakland, CA. My daughters both attendOakland Unified Elementary Schools. We first selected the school through the options process and liked the school so wellthat we moved our family to the neighborhood. My older daughter is heading to an OUSD middle school next year.I am active as Chair of Glenviews School Site Council and as a member of the District Advisory Council because issues ofeducational effectiveness across language, race, culture, and class matter to me. GO has been a partner to Glenview schoolproviding volunteers at the beginning of the school year. They have been a partner to me by providing me with clearinformation in formats accessible for a working parent. GO keeps both my head and heart engaged towards positive change.GO does not ask me to adopt a single doctrine but rather ask for my input and the input of others across perspectives andexperience.
Im Susie Wise. I am an OaklandMom and one of the founders ofUrban Montessori Charter School. Iam passionate about the role designthinking can play in building diverseand inclusive school communities.My dream for Oaklands educationecosystem is to nurture and catalyzeschools where children learn to beconfident in their creative abilities. Iwant to live in a city where ALLchildren know deep down that theyhave the power to change the world.
My name is Mirella Rangel and I live and work in Oakland. I raise my children here and I’ve worked in Oakland’seducation system for 14 years, first as a math and science teacher, and now as the Executive Director ofOakland Leaf. I adore Oakland and its people. I am proud of Oakland’s rich cultural legacy but saddened by thefact that our children and youth suffer because people refuse to put their personal agendas aside. I fear that weare on the verge of failure. It is time to come together and put the needs of Oakland’s children first. Me llamo Mirella Rangel. Trabajo y vivo en Oakland. He trabajado en el sistema de educación en Oakland por 14 años y aquí crío a mis hijo e hija. Adoro a Oakland y la gente que vive aquí. Como maestra de ciencia y matemáticas y ahora como directora de Oakland Leaf se que la riqueza cultural de Oakland no se encuentra en ningún otra parte del mundo, pero nuestros niños y jóvenes sufren las batallas entre los adultos y temo que estamos en el precipicio de fallar. Entre nosotros tenemos que buscar soluciones basados en las necesidades de los niños y las niñas de Oakland. Yo soy GO.
My name is Finis Altheimer, and I am a senior at Metwest HighSchool in OUSD.This semester I am an intern at GO Public Schools.I am involved with GO Public Schools because education isimportant - especially to those who have problems learning. Iam working with GO as an intern to help schools fight forautonomies that in danger, the autonomies that help schoolscater to their children with special needs.
My name is Charles Wilson. I am an elementary school principal in Oakland. Ihave worked as a researcher, teacher, and administrator with OUSD since 1994.I have worked with our community to make our school, the Fred T. KorematsuDiscovery Academy, the most improved elementary school in Alameda County.Our schools community should be able to make decisions about what theyneed in their school. Decisions need to be focused first on the needs of ourstudents instead of the needs of adults.
My name is Carmelita Reyes, and I moved to Oakland adecade ago to participate in the small schoolsmovement. After teaching 10th grade humanities andjournalism for 6 years, I embarked on a new challenge ...opening a high school that served the unique needs ofnewly arrived immigrants and refugees. OaklandInternational High School serves OUSD students from 32countries speaking 29 languages other than English. AtOIHS, we provide academic programs and offer servicesto support this vulnerable community of newAmericans.It is my hope that we can become a model of success forurban districts. We will honor and support teachers tocreate curriculum and programs that meet the needs ofour community. It is my hope that the businesscommunity, non profits, local government, unions,teachers, school leaders, and district administration canwork together strategically to align resources and createthe conditions necessary for studentachievement. Behind every decision should be thisquestion, "Is it good for kids?"
My name is Vee Thomsak.I am a teacher and a parent oftwo school-age children inOakland.I am involved with GO because Ibelieve that ALL children inOakland deserve nothing morethan the best educationpossible.Education is a right but excellenteducation is a necessityespecially for our Oaklandstudents. I am hopeful. I believewe are on the right path.I know that we must really worktogether in making this dream areality. Every child, no matter wherethey live, no matter who theyare, deserves the best qualityeducation.Let us work together to achievethis goal. Together we can makea difference.
My name is Allison Rodman, and I am the parent of 2 Oakland kids who have hard-working, dedicatedteachers. Without them, my kids would not be successful.My hope for public education in Oakland is that all kids have the opportunity to reach their potential.GO Public Schools, and in particular the All Kids, All Schools, Our Decisions campaign, is helpingteachers teach!
My name is Ashley Keller Thomsak. Imoved to Oakland in 1991 as aTeach For America charter corpsmember. Now more than ever Ibelieve that ALL children need anexcellent education.Transformational schools can andshould exist in each and everyneighborhood. This belief has ledme to building bridges between myown neighborhood schools and theresidents and by becoming amember of the school design teamsat the two Oakland Public schools inmy own community.My own children now attend one ofthese schools. Great Oakland PublicSchools provides me theopportunity to network with othersthat share the same vision to ensureall Oakland students have theopportunity to attend quality publicschools.
My name is David Stein. I am a nativeOaklander and a product of the OaklandPublic Schools. My youngest, Steven, is aboutto graduate from Oakland Tech. Based on mylong held belief that Oakland’s future will beshaped by the quality of Education of herchildren, for decades I have been involved inand supported many efforts to improve publiceducation in Oakland.GO is about the children. No organization Ihave ever been involved with, and I have beeninvolved with many very good organizations inOakland, has a laser focus on the children likeGO. Just as importantly, that laser focus iscoupled with a plan and a week to week, dayto day, hour to hour commitment to makechange happen for Oakland’s Children.Everyday that we don’t move public educationforward is a day that one of our children fallsbehind. The time is now and GO is thevehicle to support the change!
My name is AnaghaDandekar Clifford. I am anOakland resident, I work inOakland and I am raising mythree kids here.My oldest startskindergarten in the fall.Soon, the District will tell mewhich public school he willattend.Oakland has some greatpublic schools, but I’mworried my son will not getassigned to one. I love thistown, but we desperatelyneed to come together tocreate better options for ourstudents.