Oakland SOL & Multilingual Coordinator for OUSD

UC Santa Cruz: BA- Language Studies
CSU East Bay: MA- Educational Leadership
Harvard University: EdLD- Educational Leadership, Teaching & Administrative credentials, BCLAD authorization

I did not go into education on purpose. I became a substitute teacher in 1995 because I thought it would be a good job while I found my real job. The first position I took was a 30-day first grade assignment at Manzanita Elementary School––with half of the students in a bilingual program. I knew that the first grade students would have a revolving door of substitutes if I didn’t stay on for the year, so I got into an emergency credential program and I stayed. For eight years. I then had the opportunity to lead a design team to redesign the school and open one of two new schools on the campus. So I did. Then we opened Manzanita SEED in 2005 and I was principal for eight years.

When I was in my second, or maybe third year, at Manzanita, I was teaching a bilingual kindergarten class. Others were in ‘sheltered classes’ for non-Spanish speaking English Learners, and other students in English Only classes. The bilingual classes were Latino, the sheltered classes mostly Asian, and the EO classes mostly African American. One day one of the African American students said, “Why are all of the Mexicans lining up over there?” I am a strong believer in bilingual education, but that was a moment when I realized that it was segregating students, which was unacceptable.

This led me to the work I’m doing now––creating PreK-12 pathways in OUSD that support multilingualism. I am currently the Multilingual Coordinator for OUSD, and I’m leading the design for the New Dual Language Middle School, which is a key part of this emerging dual language pathway. I am motivated by this work––supporting more adult learning, and developing the capacity of others––and it is exciting to see everything come together.

It has also been invigorating to actually write the school proposal and put our vision on paper. I’m very interested in K–12 trajectories, and am working hard to create a strong curricular thread for all students as they make their way through OUSD. There are so many people who care about public education––especially the community organizations that support our work––and this makes me hopeful for the future of public education in Oakland.