Note: These staff members are all employees of Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center (501c3), our sister organization.
Jonathan Klein, Executive Director
Richard Pelayo, Operations Manager & Executive Assistant
Richard supports GO Public Schools with office management, event logistics, and program support. He started his career in Richmond, California teaching multiple subjects at Nystrom Elementary School in West Contra Costa (WCC) County. As a fully credentialed teacher in WCCUSD, he also worked alongside a dedicated principal and staff to implement a School Improvement Grant at Lincoln Elementary School, a designated turnaround school. Prior to joining GO Public Schools, he developed his passion for community organizing while engaging in efforts to build awareness of political and social issues around West Contra Costa. The first to graduate from college in his family, Richard studied Sociology and Political Science to earn his undergraduate degree from San Diego State University.
Ryan Phillips, Communications Manager
Ryan Phillips, Communications Manager
As the communications manager, Ryan helps tell the story of Great Oakland Public Schools. Among other duties, Ryan is in charge of the Board Agenda Watch program, writes informational documents for the community and manages social media for GO. Ryan is an experienced journalist who has been published in The New York Times and the Washington Post and joins GO after reporting on Oakland for the community news website Oakland North. Ryan developed an interest in education policy and reform while covering the OUSD board while at Oakland North. He has a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.
David Orphal, Manager of Teacher Leadership
A teacher at Westlake Middle School, Angela works for GO part-time to strengthen GO's network among OUSD teachers and to connect OUSD teachers with leadership opportunities within the district and beyond. Angela began her teaching career in 2007 with Oakland Teaching Fellows and was placed as the Resource Specialist at East Oakland School of the Arts. While there she participated in Teachers for Social Justice conferences and the Bay Area Coalition of Equitable Schools Impact 2012 Initiative. Since joining Westlake in 2009 as a Special Day Class (NSH-SDC) teacher, Angela has served on its Instructional Leadership Team and worked with the OUSD Talent Development Office to create a Special Education Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program. She has a BA in Political Science from Dickinson College, MA in International Relations from University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK), and Mild/Moderate Disabilities Education Specialist California Teaching Credential.
Mary Prime Lawrence, Manager of Parent Leadership
Mary has been a member of the Great Oakland Public Schools Board of Directors since 2012. She moved to Oakland in 1993 to attend Mills College. She instantly fell in love with Oakland and Mills, where she received a B.A. in Political Science. Mary is currently an after school intervention specialist in Mathematics and English Language Arts at Monarch Academy, teaching some of the most amazing students for two years, and will be a junior high math or science teacher in OUSD in the fall of 2013. She's a member of the Parent Advisory, Black History Month and Women's History Month Committees at Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy. Mary is married to her husband of 12 years, Joseph, and has three kids, three animal shelter cats, (Magic, Bird, and Jordan), and two dogs, Shadow and Kylie. She lives in the Foothill Square area of East Oakland.
Aurora Barajas, Manager of Parent Leadership
Aurora Barajas was born and raised in Oakland. She attended Oakland public schools, and has experienced the need for improvement in Oakland's education. Her passion and love for education has driven her to work in Oakland's schools, and with GO. She has managed after school programs, worked as a parent facilitator and community advocate, and is an active parent of her two kids in OUSD schools. Aurora is also a member of the Education Policy Committee with National Council of La Raza, where she helps organize Advocacy Day in Sacramento, which takes as many as 50 Oakland community members to speak to legislators about education, housing, and health bills. Aurora received her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Sociology at Cal State East Bay.
Tyfahra Singleton, Ph.D., Data Manager
Originally from South Central Los Angeles, Dr. Tyfahra Singleton came to the Bay in 2003, fell in love with Oakland and now serves on the Housing Rent and Relocation Board. She received her bachelors in Comparative Literature from Oberlin College and her doctorate in the same field from the University of California, Berkeley.Tyfahra is also presently a Visiting Scholar at Cal in the Department of Comparative Literature. Tyfahra's scholarly work deals with jazz and blues as a testimony to the trauma of the legacy of slavery in America. She also researches the connection between 20th century lynching and 21st century police brutality. Her commitment to racial justice, through equal opportunity for education, has led Tyfahra to want to make a bigger difference at the K-12 level after having the opportunity to teach only 5 African American students out of 479 over the course of 9 years at Cal. For fun, Tyfahra likes to sing jazz, build things, and spend time with her dog, Chaka Khan. She lives with her best friend from Oberlin and her nephew, a student at Laney College.