OUSD Announces Several Major Changes in Academic Leadership

OUSD NEWSROOMPRESS RELEASE Matin Abdel-Qawi.Lucia Moritz.Cliff Hong.Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Contact: John SasakiCommunications Director 510-214-2080 [email protected]

Oakland, CA — The Oakland Unified School District is announcing three major changes in the leadership team of academics across the District. Oakland High School Principal, Matin Abdel-Qawi has been chosen to become Superintendent of the High School Network. Former Roosevelt Middle School Principal, Cliff Hong is now the Superintendent for the Middle School Network. And Lucia Moritz, current High School Network Superintendent, will be taking over as the Executive Director of College and Career Readiness.

Matin Abdel-Qawi became Principal at Oakland High School in 2012, after nearly twenty years of service to students in Oakland, as an educator, assistant principal, principal, and program director with OUSD. He began as a substitute teacher in 1994. “As the new High School Network Superintendent I am excited about the opportunity to work with all of our high schools,” said Abdel-Qawi. “I look forward to lifting up and sharing the great work happening at our schools. I’m also excited about identifying and abolishing systems and practices that interfere with our students’ journey to greatness. My excitement is tied to our ability to make sure all of our students graduate college, career, and community ready regardless of their zip code or which school they attend.”

Cliff Hong taught middle and high school in the Bronx and Syracuse in New York and at Edna Brewer Middle School here in Oakland. He then served as an assistant principal at Brewer before leading Roosevelt Middle School, where he just finished his 10th year as principal. He is a fierce advocate for public education, which he sees as being absolutely necessary for a democracy to thrive. “These unusual times give us an opportunity to reimagine not only education, but our entire society,” Hong said. “Let’s take ourselves to the next level of being socially just and environmentally responsible, and teach our young people to embrace these values. I am looking forward to helping Oakland move towards that vision. We can accomplish anything if we are positive and solution-oriented, and constantly choose to see each other as teammates.” Hong replaces Mark Triplett, who left OUSD this summer to become Superintendent of Newark Unified School District.

Lucia Moritz has worked as the High School Network Superintendent and the Executive Director of Alternative Education. Graduation rates have steadily increased and the dropout rate has decreased on average 15% over the past four years in alternative education schools. In addition, all alternative education schools in OUSD have developed robust Linked Learning pathways offering wraparound academic, career technical education, work-based learning and comprehensive student supports to ensure all students are graduating college and career ready.

“We’re going to do great work in the Linked Learning Office,” said Moritz. “There are lots of opportunities to transform systems in support of college and career readiness. I will make sure we are building systems and producing articulated pathways that enable our students to earn college credits, the beginnings of an associate’s degree, or even a certificate that our graduates can use to go straight into the workforce. I am excited to tackle these new challenges.”

Chief Academic Officer, Sondra Aguilera, says this transition will pay big dividends for OUSD’s high school students. “We initiated these changes in the High School Linked Learning Office, which includes counseling, to create a better structure to build out our high school programs. This will benefit students across the city, further ensuring that some will see their education align with their career goals, and allowing others to more clearly visualize their possible futures, by introducing them to career paths they might never have considered. Matin and Lucia will provide great leadership for our high schools and our linked learning.”

Aguilera added the District is excited that Cliff Hong is now leading the Middle School Network. “Having served as a middle school principal for a decade, Cliff has been an integral part of so much of what we do district wide including serving on the Budget Advisory Committee, the 7/11 Committee, and as Co-Chair of the COVID Work Group for Finance. Cliff brings a wealth of knowledge to the Middle School Network Superintendent role.”

Lucia Moritz will remain the High School Network Superintendent until the District hires the next principal for Oakland High School and Matin Abdel-Qawi can transition to the HS Network Superintendent role.
###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 81 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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