OUSD Welcomes New Leaders Into the Fold

OUSD is happy to welcome a host of dynamic, new leaders to its Executive Team this year. The additions bring a wealth and diversity of experience that will augment our efforts to boost student achievement. To learn more about the figures that will help shape the future of OUSD, please read on:

Maria Dehghanfard, Principal on Special Assignment for DHP Office

Maria Dehghanfard’s appointment as Principal on Special Assignment in the DHP office, is the latest in a career devoted to education, the past 15 of which have been spent as a site administrator – seven of those in the Oakland Unified School District. Maria comes to the DHP office from Garfield Elementary, where she served as principal from 2005 through 2007-08 school year. Prior to taking the top post at Garfield, Maria was the principal at Lazear Elementary from 2001 through 2005.

Prior to joining the Oakland Unified School District, Maria served as Principal of Roosevelt Elementary in San Leandro, as a Vice Principal in Mt. Diablo, as a Summer School Principal, Bilingual Program Resource Teacher and English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher in Hayward, and as a First Grade Teacher in both Oregon and Texas.

Maria’s career as an educator is distinguished by strong curriculum leadership, experience in mainstreaming and expanding the After School and Complimentary Learning Programs at Garfield and her dedication to providing all students with an equitable, first-rate education. Maria, who speaks Spanish and Farsi, boasts an extensive Bilingual Education and Language and Literacy background and personal experience that provides her with special understanding of issues specific to the various immigrant and multicultural groups in the Oakland community.

Dr. Angela Haick, Coordinator, Attend and Achieve Program

Dr. Angela Haick comes to OUSD’s Attend and Achieve Office, from Piedmont Avenue, where she served for five years as head of the North Oakland elementary school. In her new role, Dr. Haick collaborates with various District departments as well as government and community partners on ways to improve attendance within the Oakland Unified School District.

Dr. Haick’s eighteen years experience working in rural, suburban and urban school districts ­–­ both a teacher and as an administrator – has prepared her for this challenge. During the past five years at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School, Dr. Haick directed school reform, improved student achievement, and led her school through graduation from COMITEE and IIUSP status, all while building community partnerships and increasing student enrollment during a time of declining enrollment on a District-wide level.

Dr. Haick, who received her Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of La Verne, has also played a key support role to other administrators, serving as past membership coordinator for ACSA and past chapter president, and on the Executive Council of United Administrators of Oakland.

Geri K. Isaacson, Network Executive Officer, Elementary School (Network 2)

Geri K. Isaacson has been named OUSD’s new Executive Officer for Elementary School Network 2, the latest appointment in a 32-year education career. Geri began her time in the education field as an elementary school teacher in Minnesota before moving to California. She then spent 19 years with the Los Angeles Unified School District as a general education elementary teacher, a SDC special education teacher, and an early childhood teacher. She supported other teachers as a lead teacher, mentor and Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) provider. She was invited to be an elementary literacy coach where she trained teachers and site administrators District-wide. With such a varied background, Geri was then promoted to the district office as a literacy administrator before becoming an assistant principal of a large elementary school with over 1800 students. Geri became an elementary principal in Hayward Unified School District and then a principal with the San Leandro Unified School District. Most of her career has been spent in urban schools in multi-racial/ethnic/linguistic communities as well as in segregated urban schools with predominantly Latino students who were mostly English language learners. She has spent over ten years leading professional development at the site, district, and state levels in areas including language arts, educational technology, mathematics, curriculum strategies and differentiation, classroom management, curriculum standards implementation, grade level planning, and leadership team development.

Adrian Kirk, Director, Family and Community Office

Adrian Kirk joins Oakland Unified as Director of its Family and Community Office. Adrian, who speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese, brings ample experience as an instructor, administrator and leader of community outreach programs to his new role.

Adrian’s career in education is divided between 14 years as teacher and a decade in public school administration. Most recently, Adrian served as Principal of Oakland’s Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy. Prior to that, Adrian was the Director of Community Relations for the Los Angeles Region of Aspire Public Schools, Principal of Oakland’s Monarch Academy, a Co-founding Principal of Aspire’s East Palo Alto High School and an assistant principal in San Jose’s Willow Glen High School.

Adrian began his teaching career in Los Angeles and later moved to Washington D.C., leading classes in English as a Second Language at Bell Multicultural High School. As an instructor, he mentored student teachers and interns and collaborated with a math teacher to co-lead an experimental Spanish/Math class that engaged math-proficient Spanish learners. Adrian was also tapped to serve as Bell’s Redesign Coordinator; in this role, he coordinated a school-wide effort to reform the school into teams and houses, worked with block scheduling and alternative uses of space, and wrote proposals to secure funding to continue the redesign work.

Adrian earned his B.A. in Linguistics from the University of California Los Angeles, and was a member of the second cohort of New Leaders for New Schools.

Diana Lee, Coordinator, Office of School Portfolio Management

Diana Lee, formerly an Expect Success Program Manager, has been named Coordinator for the Office of School Portfolio Management. In this new role, Diana works with the Superintendent’s Cabinet and the Board of Education to manage the District’s portfolio of schools by analyzing factors such as enrollment, demography, academics and programming.

Previously, Diana worked in the Expect Success Office, coordinating community engagement initiatives for the Family and Community Office (FCO). Prior to joining OUSD, Ms. Lee spent four years at Yahoo! Inc. as a public relations manager and was responsible for developing communication strategies for the corporate division and the Internet search technology group. Previously, she worked at a hi-tech boutique public relations firm, Walt & Co., focused on technology and consumer products, with clients such as Sprint PCS and Epson. Ms. Lee also worked as an operations and strategy consultant for the ACE Public School Network in San Jose, California. In this role, she helped develop the business model and strategic growth plan as well as conduct an industry analysis and an internal audit of the Board. In addition, Ms. Lee serves as co-director of Locus Arts, a San Francisco-based community arts non-profit, as well as a Kellogg Board Fellow on the board of the Field Museum in Chicago. Ms. Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a specialization in Business Administration from UCLA, and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Jamie Marantz, Acting Network Executive Officer, Middle School (Network 1)

Jamie Marantz joins OUSD’s Executive Team as the leader of Middle School Network 1, a group that includes the Alternative Learning Community as well as Claremont, Cole, Edna Brewer, Peralta Creek, Roosevelt, United for Success, Urban Promise, Westlake and West Oakland Middle Schools.

Formerly a member principal in Network 1, Jaime was principal at Edna Brewer Middle School, the most recent position in a career that began at Skyline High where Jaime taught Biology and Physiology. After spending three years at Skyline, Jaime moved to Berkeley High where she taught Chemistry, IAC Chemistry, Biology, AP Biology and Anatomy, while serving as activities coordinator.

Following her time in Berkeley, Jaime returned to OUSD to accept a position as Assistant Principal at Westlake, before receiving the call to lead Edna Brewer. In her free time, Jaime likes to watch birds.

Arturo Michel, Chief of Police

Art Michel, formerly Interim Chief of Police, has been named Chief of Police for the Oakland Unified School District. Michel joined the Oakland Schools Police Department as a Lieutenant in July of 2007. Prior to joining OUSD, he spent 31 years with the Oakland Police Department, retiring as Sergeant in 2003. During his tenure with OPD, Chief Michel received numerous service-related honors including the OPD officer of the year award.

Chief Michel has always enjoyed working with children and has lectured on many public safety-related topics while at the police department and as a civilian. He is also a qualified subject matter expert on many law enforcement topics and served as an instructor in the police academy for more than 15 years. In addition, Chief Michel served on many committees and community groups while assigned to the community policing unit. Chief Michel has also earned both the Intermediate and Advanced Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certificates as well.

In civilian life, Chief Michel is a videographer who produces professional quality videos for businesses and police agencies in the area and described his family as the love of his life.

Ursula Reed, Director of Human Resources

Ursula Reed has been named Director of Human Resources, the latest post in an education career that spans more than two decades. During her time in the Hayward Unified and Oakland Unified school districts, Ursula has served as a teacher, a speech and language specialist, a principal and a central office administrator.

Before taking the position of HR Director, Ursula managed the Attend and Achieve program focused on increasing daily student attendance in the Oakland Unified School District. Prior to Attend and Achieve, Ursula worked as a Program Manager in OUSD’s Department of Student, Family and Community Services, where, among other duties, she processed inter-district and intra-district transfer requests and supervised the Pupil Disciplinary Hearing Panel (PDHP).

Ursula also served as Principal of Markham Elementary School in Hayward Unified, Vice Principal of Hayward High School and Hayward’s Ruus Elementary School, Teacher at OUSD’s Edward Shands adult school and as a Speech and Language Specialist in both Oakland Unified and Hayward Unified. Ursula earned her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology from Hampton University and a Master of Arts in Speech Pathology as well as a Clinical Rehabilitative Services Credential from San Jose State University.

William S. Riley, Ed.D, Assistant Principal for DHP

Dr. William S. Riley has been appointed Assistant Principal for DHP, the latest position in an education career that spans more than three decades, and includes over 25 years of administrative experience. During his tenure with OUSD, Dr. Riley has served as Head Counselor and Student Activities Coordinator, as a Principal, and as an Assistant Principal, for a period totaling nearly twenty years.

Dr. Riley, who is a Trustee of the Peralta Community College District, has also worked as Pupil Services Coordinator for the Alameda County Office of Education; Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Bay Area Athletic Foundation; Commissioner, City of Oakland Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission and Program Quality Evaluator for the California Department of Education.

Dr. Riley earned his Masters in Education Administration from San Francisco State University and both his undergraduate (Sociology and Physical Education) and doctoral degrees (Education Policy) from the University of San Francisco.

Gia Troung, Network Executive Officer, Middle School (Network 2)

Gia Troung is the second of OUSD’s two Network Executive Officers for Middle Schools. Fresh from her tenure as Principal for Urban Promise Academy, Gia will oversee Middle School Network 2, a group that includes Alliance Academy, Bret Harte, Elmhurst Community Prep, Explore College Prep, Frick, Madison, Melrose Leadership, Montera and Roots International.

This latest challenge continues a career in education that spans 13 years and a series of classroom and administrative positions in the Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland school districts. After receiving a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Asian-American Studies from San Francisco State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, Gia accepted a position at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High school. While at Nathan Hale, Gia provided all students access to the traditional honors curriculum and was one of a dozen teachers responsible for designing the school’s 9th and 10th grade academies.

After three years in the Pacific Northwest, Gia returned to the Bay Area as a teacher at San Francisco’s Leadership High School, where she later became an instructional coach. During her time at Leadership, Gia taught social studies, leadership and math and teamed with colleagues to design challenging curriculum units tailored to student abilities and interests. Among other duties, she also coached Humanities and Leadership teachers in curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Prior to the start of the 2003-04 school year, Gia joined OUSD as Assistant Principal for Urban Promise Academy, making her both a resident and the first Assistant Principal in the New Leader for New Schools program. In her initial year, she helped restructure the bell schedule to support teacher collaboration and professional development and worked to build a strong academic culture. Gia began the next year as the Principal at Urban Promise, which saw its API score rise from 524 to 649 during her four years as head of the school. As principal, Gia focused on coordinating and leading professional development for her faculty and served as a New Leaders for New Schools Mentor Principal. Gia now joins Jamie Marantz as one of OUSD’s two Middle School Network Executive Officers.

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A Message to OUSD Employees Regarding Personal Information

During the evening of September 2, 2008, individuals broke into the District’s Human Resources Department. In spite of the fact that the area was secured, the intruders were able to take several desktop computers which may have contained the personal information of a limited number of current OUSD employees.

We deeply regret that this incident occurred and sincerely apologize for the concern and inconvenience this situation may cause. Rest assured that we are working diligently with law enforcement agencies to apprehend the responsible individuals and to ensure that personal information is not abused. We have notified the FBI and the Alameda County District Attorney, and continue to work with both the Oakland Police Department and our own Oakland School Police Department. In addition, we have mailed certified letters to employees who may have been affected, detailing steps they can take to guard against potential misuse of personal information. These letters should arrive early on the week of September 8.

If you are an employee who receives a letter, there is a possibility that your personal information may be misused and we suggest that you closely monitor your credit report for the next several months in order to detect any unauthorized use of your personal information.  We are currently working with the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to arrange for potentially affected parties to monitor their credit reports free-of-charge for a set period of time.  We will provide those parties with more information about this service within the next ten business days.

In the meantime, please know that if you are concerned about potential fraud or identity theft, you can request to have a free 90-day fraud alert placed on your credit file. This lets potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft. A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures that will protect you. It may also, however, delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a fraud alert in your file by calling any one of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies or by requesting a fraud alert online. As soon as the agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two, which then must also place fraud alerts in your file.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com

Experian: 1-888-397-3742; www.experian.com

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com

Under current law, you are already allowed one free copy of your credit report per year from any one of the three agencies listed above.  If you have not already reviewed your credit report this year, it is a good idea to do so. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act provides for anyone residing in the United States and its possessions to receive three free credit reports a year at Annualcreditreport.com.  Through the site, or by phoning the toll-free 1-877-322-8228, you can get one report each year from each of the three major credit reporting companies — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. (The hearing impaired can use the TDD service at 18777304104). If you have not already reviewed your credit report this year, it is a good idea to do so.

Some indicators of identity theft are: (a) Charges on your accounts that you did not authorize; (b) You are denied credit due to poor credit ratings, despite good credit history; (c) You are contacted by creditors regarding amounts owed for goods or services that you never authorized; (d)Your credit card and bank statements are not received in the mail as expected; and (e) A new or renewed credit card is not received.  If you suspect that you are the victim of identity theft, you should immediately contact the police and the fraud departments of the three major credit reporting bureaus to place fraud alerts on your credit file.

Again, we will be in touch in approximately ten business days with information about how you can access your personal credit report free of charge.  In the meantime, we apologize once more for the anxiety and difficulty posed by this situation.

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Update on HR Theft and Personnel Implications

Dear OUSD Staff,

During the evening of September 2, 2008, individuals broke into the District’s Human Resources Department.  In spite of the fact that the area was secured, the intruders were able to take several desktop computers which may have contained the personal information of a limited number of OUSD employees. At this point, we have identified the employees that we believe are most directly impacted and we will be sending a certified letter to those individuals at their home address.

Rest assured that we are diligently working with law enforcement agencies to apprehend the responsible individuals and to ensure that your personal information is not misused.  We have notified the FBI and the Alameda County District Attorney, in addition to continuing to work with both the Oakland Police Department and our own Oakland School Police Department.

Because there is a possibility that the scope of individuals affected may go beyond what we have identified so far, we suggest that you may want to monitor your credit report for the next several months in order to detect any unauthorized use of your personal information.  The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act provides for anyone residing in the United States and its possessions to receive three free credit reports a year at Annualcreditreport.com.  Through the site, or by phoning the toll-free 1-877-322-8228, you can get one report each year from each of the three major credit reporting companies — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. (The hearing impaired can use the TDD service at 18777304104). If you have not already reviewed your credit report this year, it is a good idea to do so.

Some indicators of identity theft are: (a) Charges on your accounts that you did not authorize; (b) You are denied credit due to poor credit ratings, despite good credit history; (c) You are contacted by creditors regarding amounts owed for goods or services that you never authorized; (d) Your credit card and bank statements are not received in the mail as expected; and (e) A new or renewed credit card is not received.  If you suspect that you are the victim of identity theft, you should immediately contact the police and the fraud departments of the three major credit reporting bureaus to place fraud alerts on your credit file.

Thank your for your understanding as we continue to investigate and address the concerns created by this unfortunate situation.

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OUSD Responds to Break-in at Main Administration Building

The central office of the Oakland Unified School District was burglarized on the night of Tuesday, September 2. The crime, which resulted in the loss of 10 computers, was discovered this morning and immediately reported to local and federal authorities. OUSD is working closely with its own police officers, the Oakland Police Department, the Alameda County District Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to help solve the crime and implement measures that enhance the security of the District Office.

Because yesterday’s robbery occurred in the Human Resources Department, the perpetrators obtained computers containing certain personal information; the scope of this information and the employees impacted is still being determined. The District is currently in the process of notifying all employees whose information may have been comprised to outline precautionary measures against fraud or identify theft. Local authorities are closely involved with these and other deterrent efforts.

OUSD sincerely regrets that this crime may have resulted in anxiety and exposure for some of its employees and wishes to extend an apology to anyone who may be a victim of last night’s crime. The District is determined to avoid a repeat of this burglary and is undertaking a comprehensive review of its security procedures to determine how it can best secure the building, its effects and the information housed within.

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Writing to Learn – Education Week

The following article, which features several OUSD teachers and writing coaches, appeared in the August 27, 2008 issue of Education Week.

Writing to Learn

The National Writing Project has been around more than 30 years. But it now showcases writing as a tool to unlock students’ critical thinking and analytical skills as much as their creativity.

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

Oakland, Calif.

For all the respite and reflection that might be expected in a summer writing workshop in the California hills, only limited talk of poetry and prose is going on among attendees here. The workshops sponsored by the Bay Area chapter of the National Writing Project have drawn a steady and loyal following over more than three decades among teachers seeking to refine their own skills, reflect on their practice, and learn strategies for teaching their young scribes.

But at a time when the demands of high-stakes testing have led to a curriculum dominated by reading and mathematics instruction, discussion in the seminars these days is more likely to turn to the practical challenges of fitting writing into the school day, and how to show that it makes a difference in student achievement.
> read more

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Art, Soul and Education – Visit OUSD at This Weekend’s Fair

Many of you are no doubt familiar with the Art & Soul Festival, Oakland’s annual celebration of art, food, music and other aspects of culture, both popular and obscure. This year’s edition takes place from Saturday, August 30th through Monday, September 1st and OUSD will be among the many vendors setting up shop. The only thing we’re selling is information, though, as Board Members, top administrators and staffers from various departments will be on hand to answer your questions about Oakland Public Schools. Who knows, maybe one of them will even be moved to dance?

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OUSD Receives $4 Million Grant for Early Literacy

In a development that will aid District efforts to ensure that students enter kindergarten with the foundation required for reading, the federal government awarded OUSD a $3,967,979 grant for early literacy programs. The funds, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education’s “Early Reading First” program, are designed to help children from low-income families develop the cognitive and language skills required for kindergarten and beyond.

OUSD emerged from a field of more than 800 applicants to become one of just 32 grant recipients. School districts, county education offices, community colleges, universities and education non-profits from across the country competed for the award, which “supports the development of early childhood centers of excellence that focus on all areas of development, especially on the early language, cognitive and pre-reading skills that prepare children for continued school success and that serve primarily children from low-income families.”
> read more

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