OUSD Set to Start 2019-20 School Year with Excited Site Leadership, Including New Principals at 20 Different Schools

OUSD Press Release
Oakland, CA —
 The first day of the 2019-20 school year is Monday, August 12. Five days earlier, on Wednesday, August 7, teachers return to their campuses to get their classrooms ready to welcome all students. But this week is when school leaders came back to work at the Leadership Institute (pictured above), a gathering of hundreds of principals, assistant principals and District leaders where everyone is focused on ensuring schools are prepared for the new school year. Among the principals are new leaders from 20 different elementary, middle and high schools.
New McClymonds High School Principal, Jeffrey Taylor.Among OUSD high schools, at McClymonds High, Jeffrey Taylor has taken over for former principal, Jarod Scott. “I’m excited, I’m looking forward to having a great year, I’m looking forward to working with all the partners here to move our students forward, getting them ready for college and career,” said Taylor. He adds he grew up partly in West Oakland, and knows the community well. Taylor taught at Frick Middle School and RISE Community School, among others, was an assistant principal, worked in San Lorenzo and was principal at Frick Impact Academy. Most recently in OUSD, Taylor served as the middle school sports regional manager for the Oakland Athletic League. “I’m not here to be anyone’s friend, but I’m here to move these kids to the next level. That’s my charge,” he said.
Former Castlemont High School Principal, William Chavarin at the 2019 graduation.Ralph Bunche Academy principal Betsye Steele retired and has been replaced by Dwayne Bartholomew. Former assistant principal Michael Scott is now principal at Castlemont High, where William Chavarin left to take a position as Director at the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) overseeing sports at schools across the state, especially high school championships in basketball, badminton and tennis. He was principal at Castlemont for five years. “I’m incredibly excited for the growth of the leadership team and the campus over the five years, and very sure of the leadership team led by Michael Scott and very sure that the team will see continued success with our students.” Chavarin says he is still living in Oakland and looks forward to working with OUSD on athletics.

Street Academy’s new principal Bukola Lawal has taken over for Gina Hill.
Among the middle schools, there are three new site leaders. At Frick Impact Academy, Michael Ray has taken over for Ruby DeTie. Tierre Mesa is the new principal at Urban Promise Academy taking over for Claire Fisher. At Oakland SOL, Katherine Carter has handed off the reins to someone who has deep roots in OUSD, Amapola Obrera. “I want to really be able to contribute to a quality education to students in Oakland, especially East Oakland, because I grew up in East Oakland, still live in East Oakland. Dual language is really important to me. Students who can read and write in both languages, as many languages as possible. And I think it’s a unique opportunity to bridge communities through languages.” Obrera says she has always been here, having graduated from Fremont High School. And she has worked in the District since 1999, as a community school manager, teacher, teacher on special assignment (TSA), working in Americorps and in other positions. Obrera says she is excited to take over at Oakland SOL. “It really aligns with my personal values and it really feels like a good fit and I’m honored they invited me to interview and then invited me to be their leader.” 
New Oakland SOL Principal, Amapola Obrera and her mother, former Melrose Leadership Academy Principal and new High School Network Executive Director, Moyra Contreras
Amapola Obrera has another deep connection to the District as her mother is longtime Melrose Leadership Academy principal, Moyra Contreras, who just stepped down to take an executive director position with the District’s high school network. “I joined the Melrose community 31 years ago,” she said. “It took me a couple years to get used to the idea of not being there anymore… But I really wanted to do something different… I’m really committed to dual language, and finding ways for particularly black and brown kids to be in classrooms together, where they can work with each other and build strong relationships.”
New Global Family Principal, Juan Vaca.There are 13 elementary schools with new leaders. At Global Family Elementary, former community school program manager, Juan Vaca has taken over for principal, Dante Ruiz. “It’s a great opportunity. I’ve been here three years, I know the community, I feel like I have a lot of support,” said Vaca who adds he looks forward to engaging his families in his new role. “We have a strong community and we want to make sure every voice is heard.”

Manzanita Community School’s principal is now Amy Jones, who took over for Eyana Spencer. At Melrose Leadership Academy, where the aforementioned Moyra Contreras just left, Brianne Zika is the new principal. 
New Montclair Principal, Maite Barloga.At Montclair Elementary, where last year longtime OUSD principal Denise Saddler oversaw a transition year in which TSA, Maite Barloga assumed the role of principal, Barloga is now the permanent principal. “I really appreciate Montclair because they’re working through transitions right now, cause they used to be half the size, and majority just neighborhood kids and families,” she said. “And then 5-6 years ago, they built the new building, so now the school is doubled in size. So, over 40% of the students are coming from outside the neighborhood, so it’s made the whole school richer, definitely more diverse, brings more perspectives. So, it’s an exciting time to be there.”

Principal Renee Bullie has left Sankofa Elementary and has been replaced by administrators emeritus, Denise Saddler and Angela Aquino. Karen Schreiner has taken over as principal at Think College Now after Madeline Noonan moved on. Julissa Lambert-Yank has taken over at Acorn Woodland for Leroy Gaines. Casey Beckner is now the new principal at Grass Valley, replacing Tammie Hollis Prime. And Jacqueline Cedillos is now in charge at New Highland Academy, taking over for Yolanda Cater.
New Sequoia Elementary Principal, Ada Carter.At Franklin Elementary, a collection of administrators emeritus are running the show. They are Yolanda Carillo, Deitra Atkins and Maureen Hartney, who took over for Ingrid Seyer-Ochi. Faris Jabbar was principal at Alliance Academy, which has now merged into Elmhurst United Middle School under principal, Kilian Betlach. Jabbar has taken over for Jeff Franey as principal of La Escuelita. Mukta Sambrani, who was an assistant principal at Edna Brewer Middle School has taken over as principal at Lincoln Elementary for outgoing principal, Ivanna Huthman. Lastly, Ada Carter takes the reins at Sequoia Elementary from Donald Bertolo, who moved to South America to run a school in Colombia. Ms. Carter moved to the Bay Area from Maryland where she was an assistant principal at a middle school on a military base. “I didn’t necessarily have a connection here to want or need to land here,” she explained. “But once I really got to know Oakland and what their intentional focus is, it became incredibly attractive to me, the focus on equity, is I know like innovative anyway, but was especially attractive to me from where I’m coming from to be part of a system that values equity and joy.”

“This is a remarkable group of new site leaders,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “We are all very excited to start the new school year, and we know that these leaders will build strong relationships quickly with their staffs, their students and the school communities. Having talked with all of them and having heard what drives them as educators, I know that each one of them will bring the right mix of innovation, leadership and love to their schools, to foster the warm, supportive and nurturing environments that all of our students deserve. We look forward to seeing them, our entire school staff and our young scholars on August 12.”
###About the Oakland Unified School DistrictIn California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 86 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success. 

To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
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