I grew up in Richmond and had family there and in Oakland; this area has always been home for me. I went to Morehouse in Atlanta and then to South Carolina for a few years, but I decided to come back home and try to make a difference.
I serve Oakland education by developing leadership within the schools and in the community. I serve as the Executive Director for New Leaders in the Bay Area, Commission Chair for OABE (Oakland Alliance of Black Educators), and on the NAACP’s Education Committee. In each role, I keep the focus on being a straight-shooting, clear-minded, advocate for kids.
…we need people who can lead us into insecure places and bring us safely to the other side.
I love challenging people and organizations to get out of their comfort zones. Everybody talks about wanting change, but few have the appetite for it. I read a book called ‘Change or Die’ which told how heart patients usually went back to their unhealthy lifestyle even though they knew it would kill them. They knew better, but they just couldn’t change. I look at school the same way, it is in our nature to resist change; we need people who can lead us into insecure places and bring us safely to the other side. My favorite part is getting people to take up the mantle of leadership and take responsibility for young people.
I had my own business at 9 years old, started in horrible schools but was later given a chance to attend one of the best schools in the country, and developed an abiding faith and indomitable work ethic. All of those things led me to do what I do now. I’m industrious and working hard to make quality education available to everyone not just those who are given “A Better Chance”.
Also, at an early age I learned to interact with people from different cultures and races. I don’t think you can be in my line of work without being reasonably comfortable with people from different walks of life.
Oakland is a hard-working town. It’s a place where many people have a job and a side-hustle to pay their bills. It’s a place where elders are respected and consciousness is valued. It’s a port city with trains, cranes, and “ain’t that a shames”. I love its history and its future. Most importantly, I met my wife in Oakland.
Big dreams need tight habits to become reality.
Choose your own heroes and goals… and choose wisely.
You are the one most responsible for your life. Own it.
Commit to mastering the art of questioning. Students must develop skills to examine and evaluate the world around them: technological and media, institutional, financial, moral, political, environmental, communal and relational.
Each school would have good, highly-trained leadership that helps create conditions and systems for teachers and students to thrive.
The delivery systems of education, within Oakland, would be diverse and much less important than the outcomes produced.
Sports and Arts: Reimagine OAL, extend it K-12, Partner with local Sports Foundations, Parks and Rec, and Non-Profits.
Use assessments as the beginning of instruction, not just the end. Teachers must see and understand the road map to proficiency.
Every adult teaches reading; every child learns a second language.
Delivery systems (schools) split operational from instructional responsibility.
Personalized learning, leveraging people and technology, begins in first grade.
Tie educator salaries to a 5-year index of county home prices.
Longer school day, and more of them.
Real-time portal for parents showing academic and social information (along with community resources). Enrollment team supports and monitors, community groups help identify need for the types of information and supports with training.
Creating gaming conditions for kids to learn from their mistakes.
Common Enrollment and partnering with city. “Not choosing” a school for your child sets off a tight web of social alarms.
Principal and teacher training programs report the student achievement results of their trainees.