September 15, 2014
In Latest News
September 15, 2014
Great Oakland Public Schools (GO), a nonprofit network of educators, families and community leaders, has endorsed four candidates for the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education in the November 4, 2014 general election.
The endorsed candidates are:
GO's Board of Directors made the endorsements after a comprehensive process of gathering feedback from over 100 teachers, parents, and other community members and thoroughly reviewing the qualifications and positions of each candidate. GO hosted candidate forums where they fielded questions from community members, and surveyed candidates on their platforms and experience.
"Aimee, Nina, Saleem, and Renato are thoughtful advocates for Oakland students and longtime community members," said Mary Prime-Lawrence, OUSD middle school teacher, parent of three Oakland public schools students, and Vice President of the GO Board. "All these very strong candidates will bring valuable skills and perspectives to our school board."
GO's dual endorsement in District 4 provides two strong top choices for voters in the election's ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank up to three candidates when marking their ballots.
GO Public Schools is conducting field campaigns to support endorsed candidates. These four endorsements will mobilize hundreds of volunteers to contact voters about the candidates. In 2012, GO endorsed three candidates in the Oakland school board elections and each won their race.
How you can support these candidates:
District 2 - Aimee Eng
Aimee Eng, a fifth-generation Oaklander and the granddaughter of Oakland's first Asian-American elected official, has devoted her professional career to expanding educational opportunity for children in the East Bay. As the Senior Program Officer at the Thomas J. Long Foundation, Ms. Eng manages a $30 million education initiative to improve student outcomes. She has direct experience working with programs related to many of Oakland's most critical issues, including college readiness and access, early childhood education, and chronic absenteeism.
"Aimee has shown true dedication to Oakland's students," said Alexandra Bernadotte, founder of award-winning education nonprofit Beyond 12 and Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center Board Member. "She has worked throughout her career to engage parents, teachers, and school communities in bringing new resources and powerful innovations to Oakland schools. Aimee is a strong, creative, and committed leader who will work hard to bring the solutions our schools need and to make them a reality."
District 4 - Nina Senn and Saleem Shakir-Gilmore
David Stein, President of GO's Board of Directors, is proud to endorse two such strong advocates for students.
"I am impressed by both Nina's and Saleem's integrity and leadership," Stein said. "Both bring perspective as parents and advocates. Saleem will bring a deep understanding of what it takes to make systems-level change for all students. As a professional mediator, Nina knows how to listen and help people figure out fair and productive ways to move forward. I'm confident that these two candidates should be the top two selections in the ranked-choice ballot this year."
Nina Senn's work as a mediator involves bringing together parties facing difficult issues and helping them navigate towards win-win solutions. Over the past seven years, she has volunteered with Oakland schools to institute Restorative Justice programs. These programs support teachers in building community and help students to resolve conflicts productively. As the former board president of SEEDS Community Resolution Center, she helped others learn how to affect positive change in diverse communities and challenging environments. Ms. Senn is a small business owner who opened her own dispute resolution practice in Oakland earlier this year.
Andreas Cluver, District 4 parent and secretary-treasurer of the Oakland Building & Construction Trades Council, believes Nina will bring a strong combination of personal experience and professional expertise to our school board.
"Nina has a thorough understanding of our schools through her work as a parent leader," Cluver said. "She has financial know-how and a deep understanding of how to build consensus. I'm confident that her skill set will be an important addition to the board to get great things done for Oakland kids."
"We are proud to endorse Nina for School Board in District 4," said Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of Great Oakland Public Schools. "Building on her experience as a mediator, community leader and her direct perspective as a public school parent, she will bring a collaborative approach and a strong commitment to quality education for students across the city to the Board."
Saleem Shakir-Gilmore is an Oakland native and parent, and has had a long career in education marked by a deep dedication to Oakland youth. Saleem taught middle school science, served as Executive Director of a youth development organization, and was a faculty member in the education department at Holy Names University. In recognition of his expertise and commitment, Mr. Shakir-Gilmore was appointed as the Chair of the Measure G Oversight Committee, which is charged with overseeing over $20 million for retaining great teachers, reducing class sizes, and maintaining libraries. Mr. Shakir-Gilmore is currently a site manager at the W. Haywood Burns Institute, which focuses on improving the juvenile justice system through community-based, restorative practices.
"Saleem has consistently shown high character and dedication to Oakland students," said Sheilagh Polk, an Oakland parent, nonprofit leader and GO Public Schools Board Member. "He has the leadership qualities, expertise and unique understanding of our community that our School Board needs."
"Saleem has shown throughout his career that he is a strong advocate for children across the city, and is focused on bringing resources to our most vulnerable children," said Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of Great Oakland Public Schools. "His perspective and skills would be a very valuable addition to the School Board."
District 6 - Renato Almanzor
The proud parent of a Skyline High graduate, Dr. Renato Almanzor has been active in the Oakland education community for over 15 years. Dr. Almanzor's deep experience includes serving on school site councils at Oakland elementary, middle, and high schools; teaching as a professor in CSU East Bay's educational leadership for social justice doctoral program; coaching Oakland principals and teachers on how to improve schools; leading community engagement programs at Oakland Unified School School District as the Director of Family & Community Office; and training Bay Area nonprofit leaders in organizational development.
Parents and educators on the GO Board of Directors applauded the decision to endorse Dr. Almanzor.
"As an Oakland principal, I know first hand both the potential and challenges involved in building strong schools," said Carmelita Reyes, principal of Oakland International High and a GO Board member. "I am confident that Renato has the drive, leadership, and skills to effectively serve our students."