Who We Are

Our Vision

Every child in Oakland’s 78 square miles, regardless of income, race, neighborhood, or background, will have access to a world class public education

Our Approach

Through strategic giving and leadership, we support the creation of high quality schools and the policies that enable them, strengthen practices to attract and retain educators, and amplify the voices of families and community on public education issues.

Our Core Values

  • Connected: Working collaboratively, engaging and empowering others, and finding common ground in a diverse and treasured community
  • Authentic: Being consistent, transparent, true to our beliefs, and humble in our work
  • Purposeful: Acting with intention and urgency towards our long-range goals
  • Equity-centered: Challenging ourselves and others to ensure our work contributes to transformational outcomes across race and class
  • Solution-oriented: Persistently exploring the possible with creativity and nimbleness to get things done in a complex ecosystem

Our Board

Gloria Lee

Gloria Lee has been a leader in Oakland public education for the past 15 years. She most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer at NewSchools Venture Fund (headquartered in Oakland). During that time, she established the Oakland Fund and also helped create NewSchools’ Seed Fund to invest in early stage education technology. Previously, she launched Teaching Channel, a not-for-profit professional development resource for teachers (also located in Oakland) and founded Yu Ming Charter School, California’s first Mandarin Immersion charter school. She was co-founder of the high performing charter management organization Aspire Public Schools, serving as Chief Operating Officer over the organization’s first 8 years (as it grew from 1 to 17 schools) and then as Bay Area Superintendent (including 7 schools in Oakland). Under her leadership, Aspire’s Bay Area schools grew 66 points on the state’s Academic Performance Index (4.5x the state targets for growth) over 3 years, received parent satisfaction ratings of 90%, and increased enrollment by nearly 40% to over 2700 students.

Gloria has been a consultant for McKinsey & Company, and managed a not-for-profit school leadership training program affiliated with UCLA. She received an MBA and Masters in Education at Stanford University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics at Cornell University.Gloria teaches a class on education entrepreneurship at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and serves as on the Board of Directors for Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center and the National Equity Project. She loves biking to work around Lake Merritt and cooking with the delicious food from Grand Lake Farmers Market, and is inspired by the creativity and spirit of Oaklanders.

Bela Bhasin

Bela is an educational leader with a passion for creating equitable and inclusive educational systems where all students have access and opportunities to succeed. She is steadfast in her belief that education is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time and educational equity is the key to a more equitable and just world. Throughout her career, she has been committed to using her training and skills as an educator to make educational settings more racially and culturally proficient. She believes in the power of leadership to transform schools and districts. 

Bela began her career as a teacher in Boston. Most recently, she worked at Partners in School Innovation helping transform low-income urban public schools and districts to accelerate student achievement. Her work included coaching district leaders, school leaders, and teachers to develop mindsets and skill sets to better understand the students they serve so they can be proactive and responsive to their needs. Most recently, she focused on ensuring the coherence and consistency of implementation of Partners approach across several Bay area districts. Bela received a B.A. from St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, India and an M.S. in early childhood education from Wheelock College.
When not working you can find her rock climbing, hiking trails, practicing yoga or hanging out with her family and friends.

Carolyn Gramstorff

Carolyn Gramstorff has been an innovative educator and school leader in the Bay Area for the past 20 years. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS). Under her leadership, NOCCS doubled it enrollment through a successful expansion to a K-8 model, increased its Academic Performance Index increased by 64 points, and developed an education program that is recognized on both a local and national level for its innovative practices.  Previously Carolyn worked as a school leader in two Oakland public schools.

She began her career as a teacher in San Francisco and served in the very first cohort of the AmeriCorps members through Partners in School Innovation.  Carolyn holds two Masters Degrees, one from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the University of California’s Principal Leadership Institute.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Syracuse University.  Her interests include photography, biking, and collaborating on elaborate design and construction projects with her daughter.

Carrie Chan

An East Bay native, Carrie grew up and attended public schools in Oakland and Alameda.  Reminded of her childhood experience of being a first-generation socioeconomically disadvantaged student seeking quality education in Oakland, she decided to shift career focus from chemical engineering to addressing a more personal issue: educational inequalities.  As an analyst for Educate78, she has the opportunity to go back and serve her local community, leveraging her analyses skill set to offer data-driven insight.

As a recipient of the QuestBridge National Match scholarship, Carrie attended Stanford University, where she received her BS in Chemical Engineering.  Prior to returning back to the East Bay, she previously interned and worked at Clean Energy Conversions Lab at Stanford University, DuPont Industrial Biosciences (previously Genencor), and Stanford Center for Stress and Health.  Her interests include volunteering with a local tutoring center for ESL students and aboard the USS Hornet as a STEM instructor, melding her interests in education and science.

Daneen Keaton

Daneen joined Educate78 in August 2017. Her educational career began as a high school student when she tutored at her former elementary school. Since then, it has always been a priority of hers to learn and grow in order to best serve young people, especially students of color and those who live in poverty. Most recently, Daneen leveraged her leadership experience to coach school leaders and facilitate professional development with the National Equity Project. As a school leader Daneen’s strengths were uniting people around a student centered vision and creating school wide systems and structures focused on improving adult practices that in turn increase student achievement.  She was the principal at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School Capitol Hill Campus in Washington D.C. where she led the school in transforming its grading practices and improving school culture – changes that resulted in the school graduating the largest class in its history. Prior to her time in D.C., she was a founding teacher and leader at East Oakland Community High School in Oakland, CA and a math teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School in San Francisco, CA. Daneen holds a BA in secondary mathematics education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in Educational Leadership from CalState Hayward. She is also a member of the New Leaders 2008 cohort. Most of what she has learned comes from years of listening to and collaborating with students, families, teachers, and other colleagues. Daneen loves this work and the people she serves. Everyday, she continues to be grateful for the opportunity to impact the lives of our young people and therefore our world.

David Phillips

David joined Educate78 in January 2018. He is amazed at the bravery, creativity, resilience, and joy of children, and is committed to serving the families of Oakland.

Prior to joining Educate78, David served as an Associate Director at FSG, a nonprofit strategy consulting firm. During his 6 years at FSG, David advised a variety of organizations – nonprofits, school districts, philanthropies, collaborative initiatives, government, and businesses – to create effective strategies and organizational learning systems. Working side-by-side with his clients, David formed a perspective on what it takes to improve outcomes for youth: that adults must collaborate in ways that are deep, strategic, and in the best interest of kids.

Earlier in his career, David worked as an Education Pioneer Fellow at the San Francisco Unified School District, and as an Associate Director of Data Analysis and Tools at CEB, a management think tank in Washington, D.C. David holds an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University (with concentrations in Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership & Ethics) and a BA in International Studies from Rhodes College.

Outside of work, David has worked toward equitable educational outcomes in a variety of ways: as an adult ESL teacher, co-chair of the Education Pioneers Bay Area Alumni Board, volunteer at numerous after school programs, and founding member of the PTO at his son’s elementary school. In his free time, David enjoys bicycling and traveling as far off the beaten path as possible.

Rachel Garcia James

Rachel Garcia James grew up in Los Angeles, CA attending public schools in various districts. Experiencing the inequities first hand are part of what fuels her desire to create great schools for all students. Rachel spent most of her career in the non-profit sector in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Most recently, Rachel spent two years at NewSchools Venture Fund supporting the office of the COO and managing other operations related projects. Previously, Rachel spent 10 years organizing high school and middle school youth around educational equity and justice issues in South Los Angeles with the Community Coalition. She also spent two years at the University of San Francisco as an Operations Manager for the Division of Student Life and the Executive Assistant to the Dean of Student Life. She earned a BA at Loyola Marymount University.

Sara Solar

Sara Solar joined Educate78 after moving back to Oakland from Memphis, TN, where she was the Portfolio Director for the Memphis Priority Schools Talent Strategy, a collaborative, city-wide effort to retain, develop, and recruit exceptional teachers and school leaders to transform Memphis’ lowest-performing schools. Working closely with local philanthropic partners, operators of priority schools, and key talent partners, Solar led the design and implementation of initiatives to make Memphis a great place for teachers and school leaders to live and work.

Solar launched her career teaching in Oakland at Markham and Maxwell Park elementary schools. After earning her MA in education leadership at Stanford, Solar joined Bridgespan and advised leading education organizations on their core strategies to amplify their impact on students, teachers, and communities in California, Kentucky, Tennessee, and DC, among others. After moving to Tennessee, Solar was dean of instruction at Cameron College Prep, a turnaround middle school in Nashville run by LEAD Public Schools.

Solar will work with schools, networks, and partners across Oakland to make the city a magnet for educator talent.

Gloria Lee

Gloria Lee has been a leader in Oakland public education for the past 15 years. She most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer at NewSchools Venture Fund (headquartered in Oakland). During that time, she established the Oakland Fund and also helped create NewSchools’ Seed Fund to invest in early stage education technology. Previously, she launched Teaching Channel, a not-for-profit professional development resource for teachers (also located in Oakland) and founded Yu Ming Charter School, California’s first Mandarin Immersion charter school. She was co-founder of the high performing charter management organization Aspire Public Schools, serving as Chief Operating Officer over the organization’s first 8 years (as it grew from 1 to 17 schools) and then as Bay Area Superintendent (including 7 schools in Oakland). Under her leadership, Aspire’s Bay Area schools grew 66 points on the state’s Academic Performance Index (4.5x the state targets for growth) over 3 years, received parent satisfaction ratings of 90%, and increased enrollment by nearly 40% to over 2700 students.

Gloria has been a consultant for McKinsey & Company, and managed a not-for-profit school leadership training program affiliated with UCLA. She received an MBA and Masters in Education at Stanford University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics at Cornell University.Gloria teaches a class on education entrepreneurship at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and serves as on the Board of Directors for Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center and the National Equity Project. She loves biking to work around Lake Merritt and cooking with the delicious food from Grand Lake Farmers Market, and is inspired by the creativity and spirit of Oaklanders.

Amy Omand

Amy Omand is the Director of Finance at NewSchools Venture Fund, and has been working in accounting and finance roles in both nonprofit and for profit companies for over 15 years. Amy is responsible for managing the annual forecasting and budget cycles, maintaining sound internal controls, and reporting on the overall financial performance of NewSchools, both internally and externally. Prior to joining NewSchools, Amy was the Director of Finance & Operations at Tipping Point Community, as well as the Controller at Oakland-based Revolution Foods. At both organizations she helped define fiscal policies and procedures in growing organizations. She started her career as an auditor at PwC and then worked in various finance and accounting roles at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream/ Nestlé. Amy received her BS in Accounting from Georgetown University, and MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. She is a Certified Public Accountant as well as a Certified Non Profit Accountant. She is actively involved in Oakland education, as her daughters attend Montclair Elementary School where Amy volunteers on the Parent Teacher Association.

Brian Stanley

Brian Stanley is Executive Director of Oakland Public Education Fund, where he leads the development and investment of community resources in Oakland public schools. Previously, at the San Francisco Education Fund, Brian refined and strengthened program strategy, used data to deepen impact, and led the implementation of two strategic plans. In his last role as Director of Programs he led an array of programmatic work with students (Peer Resources) and teachers (Teacher Professional Development), and rallied the community (Post-Secondary Success and San Francisco School Volunteers) to support public education in San Francisco.

Brian has also worked at California Tomorrow as Senior Associate for Public Education, Advocacy, and Alliance Building for the Community College Access and Equity Initiative. In this position, Brian oversaw policy development and legislative advocacy focused on developing and strengthening access and equity for vulnerable student populations in California Community Colleges. He also spent seven years as the Director of Black Student Programs providing academic advising, advocacy, and support for Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American, first-generation, and low-income students at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga. Brian graduated from Oakland High School, received his B.A. at Saint Mary’s College of California, and earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Mills College. He currently lives in West Oakland with his wife, two sons, and their chocolate lab named Wags.

Julayne Virgil

Julayne Virgil is the CEO of Girls Inc. of Alameda County where she leads the investment in thousands of girls in grades K-12 in the East Bay as they navigate gender, economic, social and racial barriers to realize their full potential and to become the strong, smart and bold leaders of tomorrow. Prior to this role, Julayne was with Education Pioneers for seven years where in her last role as Vice President of Leadership Development she developed, redesigned and scaled programs across more than 20 locations around the country. Previously, she launched and led the organization’s Chicago office.

Julayne has also cultivated resources for community and school-based health centers with Access Community Health Network, and managed campaigns focused on advancing critical social change initiatives in education, health, and public safety for national non-profit and federal agency clients of The Advertising Council in New York City. She also designed and facilitated several cohorts of a life skills course for girls at The Prospect Park YMCA in Brooklyn and collaborated on a women’s health capacity-building project in Bamako, Mali. Julayne received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California where she currently serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.  She is an Oakland native who lives in Oakland with her husband and their two daughters.

Renato Almanzor

Beginning January 2017, Dr. Renato Almanzor will be the Executive Director of East Oakland Building Healthy Communities. Renato’s experience emerges from over 25 years developing leaders committed to equitable communities, multicultural organizations, and social justice. He has been invited to teach at many universities (e.g., Humboldt State University, California State University East Bay, University of San Francisco, Alliant International University and Argosy University), courses ranging from organization theory and organizational behavior to working with diverse populations and designing multicultural organizations; in addition to chairing dissertations and research projects.

In addition, Renato has held executive roles at UC Berkeley and Oakland Unified School District. As a leadership expert, he has delivered keynote addresses, workshops and seminars on issues related to leadership for equity, cultural diversity, organization development, and social change. His professional practice ranges from executive coaching and strategic planning to change management consulting and team development. For his efforts, he was awarded the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Fellowship in 2015 and recognized for Transformative Leadership by the California School Age Consortium in 2016.

Dr. Almanzor received his Ph.D. and M.A. in organizational psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, his M.S. in counseling from San Diego State University, and his B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Davis. He completed certification as a Life Purpose Coach through Transformation Services, Inc.; a year-long program Practices in Transformative Action at the East Bay Meditation Center where he also served as an apprentice the following year; and certification for Zumba Instruction.

From 2008 – 2016, Renato ran all of the programming for LeaderSpring, including their two-year fellowship program for nonprofit executive directors and their LeaderSpring Consulting Group that supports community leaders working with low-income communities and communities of color (www.leaderspring.org). In this capacity, he strengthened the leadership and management competencies of leaders, developed communities of leaders, and supported the transformation of the systems in which they work.

Robin Lake

Robin Lake is director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) a non-partisan research and policy analysis organization developing transformative, evidence-based solutions for K–12 public education. Her research focuses on U.S. public school system reforms, including public school choice and charter schools; innovation and scale; portfolio management; and effective state and local public oversight practices.

Lake has authored numerous studies and provided expert testimony and technical assistance on charter schools, district-charter collaborations, and urban school reform. She is the editor of Unique Schools Serving Unique Students: Charter Schools and Children with Special Needs and editor of Hopes, Fears, & Reality: A Balanced Look at American Charter Schools. She co-authored, with Paul Hill, Charter Schools and Accountability in Public Education. She has provided invited testimonies to the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee as well as various state legislatures.

She presents regularly at conferences and summits around the United States, and has advised on charter school implementation in South Africa and the United Kingdom. She was named to the summer 2016 class of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program, designed to support exceptional leaders reimagining U.S. public schools.

Lake holds a BA in International Studies and an MPA in Education and Urban Policy from the University of Washington. She currently serves as Affiliate Faculty, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, at the University of Washington Bothell.

Susan True

Susan is an accomplished social impact leader. She excels in bringing communities together to solve problems through effective philanthropy, results oriented program design, data driven analysis – plus simple kindness and nurturing for the place she calls home.

Born in Minneapolis, she has been a Santa Cruz County resident since 1991. Susan holds a BA in Community Studies from UCSC and Master’s from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Susan has served as the Executive Director at CASA of Santa Cruz County and First 5 Santa Cruz County. Most recently, she led the programs for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation in Oakland. She was appointed as CEO of the Community Foundation in October, 2017. She is the proud mother of a 27-year-old son who is a sixth grade teacher in Monterey. Susan is a baker with a big sweet tooth. She is also a nature lover and you can find her hiking, running, and mountain biking whenever she gets the chance.