OFFICE OF EQUITY TEAMRaquel Jimenez - Executive Director - Office of Equity
RAQUEL JIMENEZ is a second generation Chicana from Mexican immigrant grandparents and the first in her family to go to college. She has roots in Oakland that reach back to 1952 when her grandparents settled in Oakland to work in the canneries and booming construction industries. Raquel, an OUSD graduate and Fremont High School Alumni, was an active student leader with All City Council (1989-1992).
Raquel graduated from UC Berkeley in Chicano Studies in 1997, and completed graduate work at UCLA in 2002, receiving a Master of Arts in Education, with a specialization in Race and Ethnic Studies in Education. Raquel was a lead organizer getting Black Studies and Raza Studies at Castlemont in the early 1990s, and served as teacher of Latino History and Culture at Castlemont for three years, before initiating the Youth Together program at Castlemont, building the first One Land One People/Healthy Start collaborative, and organizing to get the Student Unity Center on campus and convert the empty building next door into multi-service community youth center (now known as Youth Uprising).
In 2007, after leading the Organize Da BAY Coalition Student Power campaign, she joined Oakland Unified School District, as the Student Engagement Specialist. Raquel managed district-wide student leadership programs and organizing campaigns, and innovative student-adult partnerships and initiatives as strategies to increase student attendance, achievement, and institutional accountability. Later, in her role as OUSD coordinator for Youth and Family Engagement in the Community Schools Student Services Department, she led site and district staff and parent capacity to implement OUSD’s Board adopted Family Engagement and Student Engagement Standards.
Jerome Gourdine - Director - Targeted Student AchievementJerome Gourdine has served the Oakland Unified School District for more than 27 years, as a teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Program Manager and now Director of Targeted Strategies. Among his many accomplishments is receiving the 2007 MetLife Principal of the Year Award, a distinguished title afforded to just twenty-five school leaders in the United States. Additionally, Gourdine served as principal to two teachers named California ‘Teacher of the Year.
Iminah Ahmad - Program Director - African American Female Excellence
Sistah Iminah is an Educator, Cultural Strategist, Singer/Songwriter, Dancer, Media Personality and Oakland native, with roots in Jamaica, Texas, Nigeria and the African world. A living example of redemption & radical transformation, Sistah Iminah's goal is to inspire the original greatness of Africa to rise again, through education, music and activism.
Her life journey can best be themed rising “From Ghetto to Goddess”. As a youth, she overcame many trials that trap young Black women in the sex trafficking & school to prison pipeline. A product of Oakland’s African centered schools and OUSD, she has dedicated her life to help all rise FROM GHETTO 2 GODDESS.
As an Educational activist, Sistah Iminah has been heavily influential in implementing key policies and initiatives aimed at improving life outcomes for students of color throughout the SF Bay Area. Her life's mission is to uplift the educational and life experience for African girls and women worldwide.
Samantha Aubry-Fenwick - Regional Family Engagement Liaison
email@example.comParent of two boys, both of whom are special needs and young men of color. Living in Oakland since 2008, and raising both children in West Oakland, Samantha Made it a priority to become involved in her children’s education initially through volunteering and attending Family Leadership Meetings to eventually being hired as a Family resource coordinator during which time she attended various training such as Innovate Public Schools Community Organizer Training. Through her personal and professional experience Samantha Learned the importance of parent engagement for overall campus culture and climate, but, for the purpose of empowering parents to advocate for their children's educational experience as a whole.
Taji Brown - Program Manager - Early Childhood Education
firstname.lastname@example.orgTaji Brown is a native of Menlo Park and Ravenswood School District. He has 20 plus years of experience in youth and family support, including case management, advocacy, and counseling in both public and private. His goal is to give back to his community.Phyllis Copes - Administrative Assistant lll
Arcelia Gonzalez - Regional Family Engagement Liaison
email@example.comI am a parent of three boys and grandparent to a 8 year old girl. Born and raised in Durango, Mexico, I attended elementary, middle school, and part of high school there as well. Living in Oakland since 1990, I arrived with a vision in mind, to continue my education and grow as a leader for my community. In 2004, during the Small Schools Movement, a new adventure began. Starting off as a founding parent and a full time volunteer at Think College Now, the journey of a parent leader soon became a commitment with the Latino community. In 2005, OUSD added a new member to the family; and just like that, TCN became the first step for me to grow as a leader and as a role model for families in the Education field. After many years of working in Think College Now, and International Community School as a shared site staff, developing my capacity in different roles within the school sites, I decided to move on to a new role at District level. 11 years later, I was hired and transitioned into the Meaningful Student and Family Engagement Team, as a District Family Engagement Specialist. My focus is to work with English Language Learners (ELL) families to define welcoming school climate and practices, and build family capacity for partnership with teachers, staff, and principals as specified in the Site Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) to achieve academic goals.
Marisa Villegas - Targeted Specialist - Latino Student Achievement
Having a deep passion for Chicana/o and Ethnic Studies, and growing up within the Chicano Movement of the 1970s in El Paso, Texas, Marisa Villegas-Ramirez is a lifelong educator dedicated to the historical/cultural grounding and overall well-being of her students. Having taught elementary, middle, and high school in East Oakland over a 24-year career, she is a tireless advocate for culturally relevant teaching and curriculum development, embedded college-transferable courses in Chicano and Ethnic Studies at the high school level, and uplifting student, family, and educator voices across the district.
Marisa has earned a B.A. in Chicano Studies from U.C Berkeley, a Masters in Education with a Focus on Equity and Social Justice from San Francisco State University, a Masters in Chicana and Chicano Studies from San Jose State University, and holds both a multiple and single subject teaching credential. She is currently in a new role as a Targeted Specialist for Latino Student Achievement for the Office of Equity in the Oakland Unified School District, as well as serving as an adjunct lecturer in the Mexican/Latin-American Studies Department for both Laney College in Oakland and Berkeley City College in Berkeley. She also sits on the OUSD Ethnic Studies Design Team and has supported the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for the state of California.Eve Delfin - Targeted Specialist - Latino Student Achievement
Eve Delfín is a second generation Chicana from Mexican immigrant grandparents who settled in East Los Angeles. Eve was raised in Berkeley and currently resides in East Oakland where she is active in the community working on several campaigns and supporting community initiatives. She has dedicated the last twenty years to underrepresented, at-risk youth and violence prevention in public schools and the community. Most recently, Eve was appointed to the Advisory on Alternate Responses, Programs and Investments Advisory Board which gathered and assessed data and made recommendations to the Oakland City Council about alternatives to policing that increased safety. Eve is a member of the Girls Task Force which advocates for girls and gender expansive youth support. Eve has participated in the Faculty Diversity Internship Program which provides high quality learning opportunities for our students, and to enhance the educational needs of our multicultural East Bay community. Additionally, Eve was accepted to the Racial Affinity Fellowship for Oakland Unified learning best practices for facilitating starting affinity circles in schools and communities. This summer, Eve was appointed to the Measure N Reauthorization Planning Committee, which is a parcel tax that supports work-based learning so students gain real-world workforce training and internships.
Eve has worked at several TK-12 Oakland Unified schools including Dewey Academy and the Juvenile Justice Center in the first cohort of Community School Managers, a critical role in schools as a high-level administrator managing, leading, and coordinating integrated community partnerships to support the academic mission of the school and students needs. For over 10 years Eve worked as a case manager, internship coordinator and crisis counselor advocating and mentoring adjudicated youth transitioning from juvenile hall back to the community in Alameda County. She specializes in coordinating, planning and curriculum development with emphasis on social emotional, restorative justice and development of youth leaders in the community. In addition, Eve mentors youth as the founder of Homegirl Visionz Latina Leadership and Violence Prevention in Oakland and has recently co- produced their first podcast.
Currently, Eve is a Latino Student Achievement Targeted Student Specialist in the Office of Equity for Oakland Unified School District. In this role she strives to create the educational and systemic conditions, culture, and competencies necessary to advance Latino student achievement within a full-service community school district. Together, with our community, we are providing Latino students the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in college, career, and life. As a previous director of a non-profit folklorico arts organization, she saw the potential that collaboration between community and schools could hold for our community. Eve truly believes in the power of community and community schools as safe places where students and families can be empowered emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Eve loves working with youth to guide them to their fullest potential.
Eve attended UC Berkeley, then transferred to UC Merced as the university’s first graduate, earning a B.A in Social and Cognitive Science. She later received her Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities with an emphasis on Chican@ Studies, also from UC Merced. Eve keeps in touch with her heritage and culture through traditional folklorico and has danced semi-professionally touring the U.S and Latin America. She continues to be committed to social justice and solidarity and her goal is to continue to lift the voices of youth and families inside and outside of schools. Her work stems from her own experience as a parent and advocate for youth and the Latin@ community.Lailan Huen - Antiracist Learning Coordinator & APISA Team SupportLailan Sandra Huen graduated from Skyline High School, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies from Columbia University and a Master of Arts from The New School. Her family first came to California during the 1850s and moved to Oakland Chinatown in 1906. Lailan has worked in education and youth development for 20 years, including with the OUSD Town Researchers, East Oakland Community High School, Avenues Project, Aim High, Oakland Leaf, Data Center and Youth In Focus.Sione 'John' Lauti - APISA Targeted Specialist
Sione ‘John’ Lauti is a proud Oakland native, graduate of OUSD and honored to serve Oakland’s Asian Pacific Islander students and community. Born to immigrant parents from the islands of Tonga, Sione’s family arrived to East Oakland in the 1960’s seeking a promising future for their family and future generations.
As a proud graduate of Sequoia, Bret Harte and Skyline, Sione is reminded of the foundation that an Oakland education laid for him as he pursued a career in business and education. Sione earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and a Master’s degree in Education. Sione’s work focuses specifically on early intervention amongst Pacific Islander youth and the positive impacts it could provide towards college access, career success and living a meaningful life.Wesley Hingano - Pacific Islander Case Manager
Wesley Hingano is a community-building enthusiast based in Oakland who actively works to empower people of Oceania in the diaspora. Wesley was born in Aotearoa, and his ancestral roots reign from the Kingdom of Tonga and Niue. Embedded in deep sea-level legacy and grounded in Oakland's rich history, Wesley has a passion for intersectional solidarity-building, active listening, and amplification of Pasifika/Black/minority voices. Wesley’s educational journey centers on his Pasifika identity to inform formal western education institutions of the gifts that Indigenous people have to offer.
Wesley holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a master’s degree in Education from Patten University in Oakland. In addition, Wesley is a Doctoral Candidate in the San Francisco State University's Educational Leadership Doctoral Program. His research shares the unique voices and lived experiences of “Hella Tongan - Hella Oakland'' students in Oakland. In addition to his work in OUSD, Wesley is an adjunct professor at the College of San Mateo in the Mana Learning Community, but most importantly he is in the community as a culture keeper, advocate, and bridge builder.
Jehan Hakim - Targeted Specialist - Arab American Achievement
firstname.lastname@example.orgJehan Hakim is a Bay Area Native and mother to four children. Her family migrated to California from Yemen in the 1970's. Jehan graduated from San Francisco State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She has worked with AMEMSA (Arab/Middle East/Muslim/South Asian) communities since her youth; from youth counseling, interfaith building, organizing and policy, to education.Kevin Jennings - Targeted Specialist - African American Male Achievement
Born and raised in Oakland California, after receiving my Bachelor’s in Mass Communications - Journalism, I spent a number of years in multiple roles working in media, youth development and academic programs throughout the Oakland community. Working for Student Program for Academic & Athletic Transitioning (SPAAT), Lincolns Oakland Freedom Schools (OFS), Heads Up Program via Head- Royce School and most recently The Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA).
After teaching in AAMA for six years and becoming an impactful facilitator I found myself in a unique situation, where I was able to teach black boys and have the opportunity to expand as a leader in cultural youth development. I was able to create an annual school wide empowerment conference for 200 boys of color, build relationships with local and national resources, manage cross country exploration trips for youth and most importantly foster a culture of empowering and engaging black boys within a school system through changing the narrative about who they are.
I recently finished my Master’s in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education '19'. Upon return to Oakland I wanted my work to foster systems and structures for equity and inclusion, growth and dynamic experiences in education through different mediums, which led me to continue my work with AAMA and join The Office of Equity.
Brian McGhee - Targeted Specialist, West Oakland Corridor - African American Male Achievement
email@example.comBrian McGhee is a West Oakland native and received his education in the Oakland Unified School District. He is a proud McClymonds High School graduate, along with his parents and his 6 siblings. After graduating from McClymonds he later received his BA degree from UC Berkeley and Masters from San Francisco State University. He is proud of being raised in Oakland and enjoys spending time with family, traveling, reading and celebrating milestones. His role as a Targeted Student Intervention Specialist with the Office of Equity is to support students and families in the West Oakland community. In addition, he is collaborating with District staff which includes Community School Managers, Family Navigators, AA Affinity Groups, and AAMA Manhood Development Classes.Citlali Espinoza - Student Engagement Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.orgCitlali Espinoza is an East Oakland native and OUSD alum. As a high school student, Citlali was an active student leader and an All City Council Governing Board member for two years. Through her work with All City Council (ACC), Citlali was able to support the newly elected governing board for the following 3 years in training, developing, and creating curriculum to strengthen ACC's work as a Meaningful Student Engagement Fellow. In 2020, Citlali received her BA in Sociology with minors in Education and Labor & Workplace Studies from UCLA.
Citlali's mentors and late mother, Gloria Vargas, instilled in her the importance of creating equitable educational experiences by uplifting and empowering parent and student voices. Seeing the active role her mentors and mother played in her community and educational experiences, Citlali is proud to be able to continue advocating for the needs of our students across Oakland.Munera Mohsin - Regional Family Engagement Liaison
I am a parent of four children ages 18, 16, 13 and 3, all in OUSD schools. I am a first generation Yemeni American, from Dearborn, MI, with deep commitment for supporting Middle Eastern families navigate home cultures, family and spiritual obligations with expectations and norms in US society and institutions. I’ve lived in Oakland for the past 20 years and have raised a family here, allowing me to develop strong relationships within the Middle Eastern community. In 2006, I emerged as a parent leader volunteering at International Community School, and served in various parent leadership roles. Soon after, I was hired by the East Bay Agency for Children as a Family Advocate, connecting families to resources and supports. In 2015, I transitioned into my role with OUSD’s Family Engagement Team, as a District Parent Liaison, developing parent capacity to partner with teachers and principals for their children’s learning. Now, in my role as Regional Family Engagement Liaison and Equity Partner for middle schools, my focus is on developing parent-staff teams to design and implement parent partnership strategies to advance student learning goals as written in the SPSA.
Cintya Molina - Program Manager - LCAP Engagement
Jamal Muhammad - Targeted Specialist - African American Male Achievement
Jamal Muhammad is a proud native of Richmond, CA. He has worked in the service of youth and families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in roles ranging from classroom teacher, case manager, coaching and in the foster care system.
Karina Najera - Regional Family Engagement Liaison
Sara Nuño-Villa - Family & Community Engagement Coordinator
Sara, an Oakland native and mother of 3, has worked in Oakland schools over 20 years to support students, families, staff and community. She has been involved with the Oakland Public Schools in many different capacities. Beginning as an AmeriCorps literacy tutor, then leading AmeriCorps teams at OUSD schools, Sara began to understand the complexity of the educational system. She then joined Oakland Unified in 2003 as a Student Attendance Compliance Officer and began reaching out to families of students who were experiencing serious challenges with attending school.This work forced her to dig deep and shed tremendous light on all the inequities in our school systems and society that keep many of our students from succeeding. This work propelled her to join the Meaningful Family Engagement Unit of the Office of Equity in Oakland Unified where she was able to more actively engage families, staff, leadership, including the school board, and community around the current status of the schools and what changes needed to take place. Sara has been a part of building the Family Engagement work in OUSD for the last 12 years and is currently serving as the Family & Community Engagement Specialist. She is continuing the work of advocating and organizing the Oakland community to improve public education.Tiago Robinson - Targeted Specialist, College and Career/Case Manager - African American Male AchievementProgram Manager, College and Career African American Male Achievement. His favorite thing about working with AAMA is helping our Kings and Queens get to the next level in their lives. Degrees that I hold are: A.A in Art, B.S in Recreation Therapy and M.S in Counseling and Student Services.
Nicole Wiggins - Regional Engagement Program Manager
Nicole Love Wiggins was born in San Jose, CA and is a single mother of two living in Oakland, CA. Nicole started her work in social justice in 2000 by getting involved with the Healthy Babies Project in Oakland helping young pregnant women and women with babies find shelter and resources.
In 2004 Nicole attended Merritt College in Oakland, CA where she received a certificate in Human Services. In 2008 she received an AA degree in Social and Behavioral Science and joined an organization in Sacramento, CA called “Save Our Youth” where she worked as a Parent Advisor supporting families from the Bay Area to the Central Valley. Nicole is currently a Family Engagement Liaison for AAMA’s High School network. She is also a participant of OUSD’s Family Engagement parent leadership series called “Parents Raising the Bar”.
Adrieanna Williams - Program Assistant & African American Female ExcellenceAdrieanna is an East Oakland native and has worked within Oakland Unified School District as an Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, and now Program Assistant for the Office of Equity. As a native Oakland resident, Adrieanna has a strong passion and commitment for the youth of Oakland, she believes in their ability and understands that opportunities are the first step in their lifelong success. In her roles she has provided administrative support, program design, and program evaluation. She received her BA in Sociology with a focus in Work and Society from California State University Northridge.Gerald Williams - Research Associate
Gerald Williams is the Oakland Unified School District Research Associate focused on Disproportionality and the data point person for The Office of Equity and African American Male Achievement. Gerald’s primary responsibility are to designs tools, conduct field study, analyze different types of data, fulfill external requests related to focus areas and implement findings in support of culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy. He is also involved in the design, collection, analysis and production of District surveys and internal evaluations.
Translation ServicesPlease CLICK HERE to fill out the new Translation Services Request Form, ideally 2 weeks in advance!David Copenhaguen - Spanish Translator/InterpreterDavid was born in Buenos Aires and studied Spanish at U.C. Berkeley. Later, he worked as an after school ESL tutor and substitute teacher in east Los Angeles county. He has contributed articles and translations to local magazines and scholarly journals. He holds a certificate in Legal Interpreting and Translation from Cal State L.A. and is currently completing his Master’s degree in Language Teaching. He has worked with OUSD since 2016.
Angel Ho - Chinese Interpreter/Translator Specialist
Carmen Jimenez was born in Oakland, California and speaks English, Mam, and Spanish. She is an alumna from Oakland Unified School District’s very own Fremont High School and the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned her B.A. in Linguistics. She has had the privilege of working and building community with students and families for the last 5 years in OUSD. She is deeply passionate about working with the Mam speaking community in Oakland and about language access. She hopes to continue to serve her community as a Mam interpreter.Cynthia Ovando - Spanish Translator/InterpreterAs an interpreter and translator in Oakland since 2011, Cynthia Ovando is committed to language justice and linguistically inclusive spaces for parents, students, staff and community. She was born in Mexico City, grew up in Colombia and Guadalajara, Mexico, and has lived in California since college. After graduate work at UC Riverside and UC Irvine, Cynthia served as an assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at Point Loma Nazarene and Fresno Pacific Universities and as director of the Spanish program at FPU. Her love of language and the powerful reverberations of personal narratives have further deepened while bridging languages and cultures for parents of children with special needs and the educators and specialists who work with them.
Lang Prasit - Cambodian Interpreter/Translator
Lang Prasit has worked in Oakland Unified School District for over 26 years. From 1994 to 1999, he served as an instructional assistant-Cambodian bilingual at Franklin, Bella Vista, Garfield, and Manzanita Year-Round Schools. From 1999 to 2001, he served as part-time IA at Franklin YR in the morning and as a part-time interpreter/translator at Bilingual/Bicultural Office in the afternoon. From 2002 to present, he is a part-time Khmer (Cambodian) interpreter/Translator. He’s proud to be a part of a group of OUSD interpreters/translators who do what they do for the love of the job, the students, parents, and the community and not for the desire of the dollar.
Alexander Quan - Mandarin Chinese Translator/Interpretor
Alexander Quan is the Mandarin Chinese translator and interpreter and has previous career experience as a former Teach for America corps member in Oakland, credentialed language immersion teacher in SFUSD, and research center coordinator at Stanford University. He has also worked in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China as an experiential education leader and educational consultant and hopes these experiences add on to his interpretation and translation work at OUSD.Husam Sowaity - Arabic Translator
Andres de la Torre
Andres De la Torre is a Spanish translator and interpreter. Among other previous career experiences, he is a former Bilingual Teacher in Mexico and California. Before the Educational filed, he has also worked as an interpreter and in communications in the Oil Ring Offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. He hopes that these experiences contribute to the interpretation and translation for OUSD community.
Eva Vargas - Spanish Translator/InterpreterEva H Vargas was born in Mexico City and grew up in Veracruz. She studied Communication Science and has been a photographer, journalist and radio commentator. She arrived in Oakland in 2001, and worked with the California Federation of Interpreters for over a decade, organizing continuing education events for court interpreters. She became an interpreter herself in 2015, and completed the Court Interpreter Certificate at SFSU. She’s found her calling in educational interpreting, as she appreciates the critical role of linguistic access to empower families to navigate a new educational system and help their children succeed. She is an active member of the Interpreters and Translators Workgroup, an organization working in professionalizing educational interpreters and translators nationwide.
Rebeca Walker-Marquez - Spanish Translator/Interpreter
I was born and grew up in Mexico in a family that prioritized unity, solidarity and justice over material goods and individualistic interests, and I have continued to carry those values with me all my life, both as a mother of a now adult child, and as a community member.
Before I moved to Oakland in 2000, I did a masters program in Social Anthropology and my research focused on identity, gender, class, and ethnicity. These experiences informed and steered my career toward social justice. Here in the Bay Area I have worked as an organizer, advocate, interpreter and translator for organizations that work with immigrants.
I am honored to serve now as a translator and interpreter of OUSD and be part of the Office of Equity as I continue my life’s work to end racism, discrimination, and inequity in our wonderful community.David Yuen - Chinese Interpeter/Translator Specialist
David was born in Hong Kong, and migrated to United States with his family when he was a child. David attended Lincoln, McChesney (Edna Brewer), and Oakland High. He was a graphic design student at California College of Arts and Crafts (California College or Arts). He earned his BA degree in Liberal Arts with Emphasis in Early Childhood Development in California State University Hayward (East Bay). In 1986, he joined OUSD and worked in school sites in various Bilingual positions before joined the Translation Unit in 2007. It’s full of fun and challenges in the journey with OUSD, as a student as well as an employee.