ELLMA Team Members

  • Hello my name is Ivone Gutierrez and I am extremely excited to be serving my community, more specifically as the new Elementary Newcomer Intake & Wellness Specialist for the Refugee/ Asylee Program. I am a first generation Mexican Salvadorian- American born and raised in East Oakland. I have been in the education sector since I could work, and take pride in helping my community. I love being a face that families and more specifically students can identify and connect with. I am especially excited to be working with Refugee/ Asylee families as both of my parents were once in their shoes. It is with great pleasure that I look forward to helping newcomers succeed within OUSD and in life.
  • Hello! Hola! Namaste! My name is Anita Iverson-Comelo and I am happy to join the ELLMA team as part-time Director and Program Coordinator for Multilingual Programs. I attended OUSD as a newly arrived immigrant high school student at Oakland High. Since 1991, I have worked in OUSD as a substitute teacher, Spanish bilingual teacher and TSA at Bridges which was then Melrose Elementary for thirteen years and later as a principal at Bridges for seven years from 2015-2022. I have held other positions in OUSD: TSA at Melrose Leadership Academy, adult school teacher teaching ESL and citizenship classes as well as ELA specialist and Peer Assistant and Review coach in OUSD central office. I am excited to work in ELLMA to create excellent OUSD dual language schools that serve all students successfully as well as to create collaborative systems and structures across our district in service of multilingual programming.
  • I collaborate with Oakland's brilliant middle school educators. Our focus is improving instruction and outcomes for English Language Learners. I love seeing students grapple with new ideas and hearing them express complex thinking as a result of a teacher trying something new in the classroom.
  • I help provide direct support to unaccompanied immigrant students and coordinate school-based and community services that support them academically and socially. My favorite part of this work is working with a great team to support our students.
  • I support Language and Multilingual Literacy development for Oakland Unified School District. As a multilingual and Language Learner person myself, I enjoy supporting the Language needs of Language Learners. I also aspire to inspire and empower individuals and collectives to pursue the journey of becoming multilingual: to develop academic achievement and career opportunities in several languages, cultural awareness and sensitivity, emotional intelligence and flexibility, and advocacy to become social change agents.
  • I support our ELLs and multilingual community in Oakland. Our culturally and linguistically diverse students need strong multilingual skills to become biliterate and bilingual. I enjoy providing that support to help our scholars use their home languages and cultures as meaningful and powerful assets to their own learning. I believe in multilingualism as a vehicle for social change and community growth, and I enjoy partnering with educators and leaders in developing language enrichment opportunities in our schools.
  • I was born in Mashad, Iran and immigrated to the US as a toddler after my family was granted asylum. I grew up in the East Bay and went to college at UC Berkeley, getting my bachelors in social welfare. While there I interned with a Foster Family Agency and fell in love with working with youth and families. I've been lucky enough to work with Bay Area families ever since - almost 20 years! Along the way I got my MSW at New York University and became licensed as a Clinical Social Worker. I feel committed to practicing my values of ensuring justice through my clinical and programmatic work, and draw often on the experiences of my family as refugees. When I'm not working I like to spend time with my loved ones, travel, eat ice cream, learn new languages, and do crossword puzzles in my hammock.
  • I work supporting the ELLMA team and all the OUSD programs serving Newcomer students. I enjoy supporting teachers and leaders in the dreaming and scheming of how to best serve and learn from our young people.
  • I've been teaching in Oakland since 2007. I taught 5th and 3rd grades as well as teacher of newcomers and ELD Coach at Bridges Academy for 15 years before joining ELLMA. I'm a GLAD Certified Agency Trainer and was honored as OUSD and Alameda Teacher of the Year in 2021 and a Finalist for CA Teacher of Year 2022. I'm excited to continue supporting elementary newcomer students across Oakland! I'm looking forward to working closely with our amazing ENTLs, learning with and from their experiences in our different school communities. I hope to highlight the incredible growth and accomplishments of our newcomer students and share their stories while connecting with their families to fulfill our mission as a full service community district serving the whole child.
  • My name is Bernadette Pilar Zermeño and I am passionate about dual language learning in the earliest grades! I love working at ELLMA because I get to combine two of my biggest passions - ECE and language learning.
  • My name is Katia Dunkel and I am delighted to join the ELLMA team as an Elementary Language Specialist for Network 3. I have worked in OUSD since 2007 in various roles and at different schools. I am excited to join the ELLMA team and support schools in building their capacity to serve English Language Learners and I am eager to face new challenges and embed myself in new learning. I enjoy studying language and how it can change the ways that we think, process our world, and communicate with each other. When I am not working, I enjoy going to baseball games, walking around Oakland discovering new places (a major positive of shelter in place), watching a good show/film, hacking things so they are easier and more convenient to use, and puzzling. I love Oakland students, families, and educators and am thrilled to join such a great team!
  • Sonia Hansra is a Secondary Language Specialist who works with teachers of long term ELLs at the high school level. She loves seeing teachers inspired and rejuvenated after a professional development experience.
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