In her January 2017 newsletter, District 1 School Board Director Jody London stated that “January is going to be very busy for the School Board, as we study the budget, determine our priorities for 2017-2018 and beyond in order to ensure our fiscal solvency, and launch the search process for Oakland’s next permanent Superintendent.” See below for additional information about the superintendent selection process, plus some opportunities for community members to get engaged in these two issues.
Interim OUSD Superintendent to Address Claremont PTA
Last November, OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson announced that he would be leaving his position in Oakland effective in February 2017. The school board subsequently appointed Deputy Superintendent Dr. Devin Dillon to fill the position on an interim basis. (Dr. Dillon also will have the option to apply for the long-term position.) In December, the board proposed a time frame of about six months to fill the vacancy, which would allow OUSD to begin the 2017-18 school year under new leadership.
Director Jody London and Interim Superintendent Devin Dillon will be guest speakers at our next Claremont PTA meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. Claremont PTA meetings are open to the public, and we encourage all members of the Claremont community to attend this meeting to meet the interim superintendent and learn more about how our new superintendent will be selected.
Claremont PTA Board Expresses Concerns to Director Jody London
Following the announcement of Antwan Wilson’s resignation, the Claremont PTA Executive Board held a discussion about the need for transparency and community engagement in the process of selecting a new superintendent. The board also discussed the benefits of replacing the outgoing superintendent with a qualified candidate who holds a deep, long-term commitment to quality public education in Oakland, and who is not likely to leave Oakland for another city after only a few years on the job. As a result of these discussions, the board sent a letter to Director Jody London raising some specific concerns about the selection process, and about the kind of candidate who would best serve the long-term interests of Oakland public schools. The letter stated, in part, that:
“…the Claremont PTA joins those who have called for the Board to recruit candidates already familiar with Oakland’s many challenges and many strengths. In this respect, we believe it is essential that the Board champion candidates who are committed to Oakland – not as a stepping stone to a more prominent position in another city, but as a destination to build and grow. While urban school district superintendents may have brief average tenures, we should not be satisfied with a superintendent that merely intends to hit this mark. Candidates with ties to Oakland and an abiding and demonstrated interest in our city are essential considerations.
“Finally, the Claremont PTA Board urges the District to push for candidates who are fierce advocates of traditional public schools. It is time to put an end to the divisiveness caused by plans to expand the District’s charter school profile. Charter schools will have a future in Oakland, but the Board does not need to be their champion. Nor does the Board need to hire a leader whose focus is on charter school innovation rather than traditional public school development and improvement.”
More Community Engagement Opportunities
The following public meetings provide opportunities for community engagement in the district budget process:
- Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6 p.m., La Escuelita Education Center, 1050 Second Avenue, Second Floor. The Board will continue the discussion about budget priorities.
- Monday, Jan. 23, Board of Education Community Engagement Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Castlemont High School Auditorium, 8601 MacArthur Boulevard. The topic for the monthly community engagement meeting will be Measure N and linked learning, by which high schools are building out pathway programs that connect what kids are learning to what they might do when they graduate. These meetings are held on the fourth Monday of every month, with a different topic every month.
- Wednesday, Jan. 25, 5 p.m., Oakland City Hall. This is the Board’s regular business meeting, fearing continued discussion of the budget. This will include information on the anticipated State budget. There will also be an update on English Language Arts.