Jessica Stewart, Managing Director
Jessica Stewart is a graduate of Auburn University,
where she was the President of the Alabama College Democrats State Federation and the Auburn College Democrats, as well as the first college graduate from her family. She was a middle school math and science teacher at Elmhurst Middle School in East Oakland, and a founding teacher at Elmhurst Community Prep Middle School. In her second year, she was named the Alameda/Contra Costa County Math Teacher of the Year. As a teacher, Jessica was involved from the very beginning of Great Oakland Public Schools. She joined the GO team in June 2011 as Managing Director. She lives in Oakland with her husband Jonathon. She is an alumna of the New Leaders Council Fellowship and a member of the 2013 Cohort of Leadership Oakland.
Marc Tafolla, Policy Director
As the Policy Director, Marc leads GO Public Schools in developing policy and advocacy to improve the quality and accessibility of education in Oakland, California. He works with stakeholders (parents, teachers, district staff, etc.) from across the city to ensure that GO Public Schools remains an effective partner in improving public education in Oakland. Prior to joining GO Public Schools, Marc received a Skadden Fellowship to Direct the Education Equity Project (EEP) at the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights. As director, Marc helped establish and broaden the reach of the EEP, which focused on the implementation of the Williams v. California Settlement Legislation (a class-action lawsuit regarding equity in education). At the EEP, Marc was instrumental in supporting parents and teachers from across the Bay Area in understanding and asserting educational rights under Williams. He also worked closely with Districts to help them access resources and improve their systems. In addition to working on Williams, Marc provided legal services across a wide array of educational issues. Prior to law school, Marc taught high school history for five years in public schools in California and Oregon. As an undergraduate, Marc spent two years in AmeriCorps working on a youth anti-violence campaign. Marc holds a B.A from the University of Nebraska and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
Kathleen Harris, Director of Collective Impact
Kathleen Harris joined GO in 2013 with responsibility for working with district, community and civic leaders to ensure all Oakland's children receive a quality education. Her prior experience as an educator includes preparing middle schools students for the college track, training aspiring teachers to excel in the classroom, and completing the New Leaders principal program. As an advocate for educational equity, she represented the interests of public schools with legislators in Illinois and Washington, DC to increase school funding, transform teacher certification, and promote charter schools. Most recently, Kathleen was program director at the Marin Community Foundation, where she led its strategic initiatives for affordable housing and ending the cycle of poverty. She remains active in philanthropy as a volunteer, donor, and co-chair of Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy (BABIP). She earned her BA and teacher certification from San Francisco State University and a Master's in Educational Leadership from National-Louis University.
Iman Mills Gordon, Director of Special Projects
As a proud Oakland native, Iman is excited to contribute her energy and skills to improve public education for our students. Prior to joining GO, Iman was a Program Manager for Education Pioneers where she recruited and developed a growing network of change agents committed to equity in the urban education landscape. While in grad school, Iman worked with GO and UrbanEd Solutions on various projects including developing aspects of Oakland's city-wide Promise Neighborhoods application and leading the West Oakland Education Brain Trust's community-wide asset mapping committee. In 2011, Iman served as a consultant for The California Endowment's Boys and Men of Color Initiative. In this capacity, she aided Endowment staff in identifying the requisite conditions to create a viable infrastructure for collective impact to ensure the life-long success of boys and men of color in Oakland. Prior to earning her Master's degree from UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy (w/ emphasis in education equity and education reform), Iman worked at PolicyLink. In addition to her Master's, Iman holds a Bachelor's degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Iman lives in Oakland with her husband and daughter.
Christopher Perrius, Director of Development and Communications
Chris joined GO Public Schools in 2013 to lead fundraising and communications efforts. Chris began his career in "social profit" organizations when he was a Ph.D. student in English at the University of Chicago, where he held positions as Director of Communications for the Humanities Division and Associate Director of the Cultural Policy Center. Following that, he helped raise funds and communicate results to the public for the Des Moines Art Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, and First Graduate in San Francisco. Most recently he spent six years as the Director of Development and Communications for the National Equity Project, where he supported the expansion of coaching and consulting services to improve outcomes for vulnerable students in districts around the country. Chris is a member of the Board of Directors of Oakland Kids First. An Oakland resident with two children, he has a B.A. from Ramapo College of NJ and masters degrees from North Carolina State University and the University of Chicago.
Mirella Rangel, Director of Community Engagement
Mirella Rangel is excited to transform education by increasing community voice and power as the Director of Community Engagement at GO. Mirella grew up in the Bay Area and León Guanajuato, México. While earning a degree in Environmental Science at the University of California at Berkeley she became a leader in the student movement to demand affirmative action and established a student of color coalition that sparked the resurgence of the Third World Strike. Immediately after graduating from Berkeley she joined the staff at Oakland Charter Academy as a math and science teacher. She soon became the school's Principal and Academic Leader tremendously increasing student academic performance. As the Executive Director of Oakland Leaf she built the infrastructure, impact, and programs launching the organization as an industry leader in youth development.
Sarah Schuppisser, Finance & Operations Director
Sarah Schuppisser is a Bay Area native and graduate of University of the Pacific (B.A. Political Science, Philosophy) and San Francisco State University (M.A. Political Science). Sarah has worked in education since graduating from SF State in various roles. While her current focus at GO is efficient operations and financial management, she has taught pre-school, worked as a substitute teacher, and taught underclassman through her graduate program. Sarah joined the GO team in August 2013. She lives in Oakland's Laurel neighborhood with her husband Michael, and is expecting her first child, a girl, in December. She is an avid sports fan, sporting A's and Raiders colors at the Coliseum regularly.
Angela Badami, 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.
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.