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    ABOUT THE OUSD VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENT

    The Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Department's goal is to advance teaching and learning in the arts as core, sustained, integral components of a comprehensive, robust education ecosystem.

    We engage the collaborative energies and expertise of students, teachers, schools, district leaders and community stakeholders to bridge the gaps, advance equity, and foster cross-disciplinary rigor and excellence in learning through the visual, performing and digital arts. Aiming for outcomes that inspire and deepen understanding, motivate life-long learning and effectively prepare students to enter the colleges and careers of their choice, we offer inquiry-based approaches and integrative frameworks that engage student, school, and district priorities.

    Current OUSD Visual and Performing Arts priorities include:

    • Developing Arts Curricular Pathways (PreK-12 flow) and College/Career Art Pathways
    • Ensuring Middle School & Secondary School Electives in the arts at beginning through advanced levels
    • Convening visual arts, music and dance/drama teachers networks to strengthen teaching practice and arts education community
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VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS TEAM

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Degrees and Certifications:

Masters in Educational Leadership, Cal State East Bay; credentials in Music Education, Science and Administrative Services, B.A. in Music Education, San Francisco State.

Phil Rydeen

Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Director

Phil Rydeen has been a music educator and administrator for three decades, supporting the creative lives of Oakland Unified School District students. As the Director of Visual and Performing Arts, he has been responsible for rebuilding visual and performing arts programs and moving the OUSD towards the goal of a quality arts education for every student. Mr. Rydeen provides instructional supervision for the 24 Itinerant music specialists, professional development support for arts teachers, and plans and implements student events including the OUSD Jazz Festival, OUSD Orchestra Festival, Elementary Music Festival, and the Summer School Jazz Camp. Additionally he oversees the Arts Incentive Grant, a three-year funding program to catalyze innovative arts programs in Oakland schools in partnership with community organizations. With a focus on quality instruction in the arts programs Mr. Rydeen has assembled a leadership team to expand arts equity and teacher leadership throughout the district. Past initiatives that Mr. Rydeen has supported include: The Arts Learning Anchor Schools; the Music Integration Literacy Enhancement, a US DOE grant-funded project; Orff Levels training for all music teachers; the Dance Infrastructure project, and numerous others.

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Degrees and Certifications:

B.A. Music UC Berkeley; teaching credential Holy Names U. Orff Levels certification.

Sarah Willner

Music Teacher on Special Assignment and VAPA Support

Sarah specializes in culturally relevant pedagogy and arts integration with students and teachers of OUSD.  Sarah was  faculty of the Integrated Learning Specialists Program of Alameda County, and is a past President of N. CA Orff Association, presenting at local and National Conferences. Sarah has studied and performed the music of Bali since 1988, with Bay area’s Gamelan Sekar Jaya, and with many revered teachers in Bali, specializing in traditional and modern music for shadow theater (gender wayang). She also performs with the contemporary shadow theater troupe, ShadowLight Productions in large-scale original works that have toured to major U.S. venues. Currently she is a member of a project of  OUSD teachers, Indigenous Voices in the Music Classroom. 

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Degrees and Certifications:

M.Ed., Urban Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Holy Names University; BFA, Industrial Design, University of Washington

Aimee Espiritu

Consultant, Arts Incentive Grant Program Officer and VAPA Support

Aimee Espiritu, M. Ed (she/they) launched Espiritu Consulting in October 2017 based on her 10 years of experience providing Management in the Arts as well as Strategic Planning and Partnerships for non-profit organizations and school districts. Prior to this, Aimee was an Arts Educator and Administrator for 14 years with a primary focus of engaging young people in classrooms, museums and arts programs through creative youth development, curriculum design, exhibit development, and peer-to-peer training.

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Degrees and Certifications:

Ed.M. Art in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; BA Education for Environmental Responsibility & Social Justice (self-designed), Fairhaven College, Western Washington University

Indi McCasey

Consultant, Arts Incentive Grant Program Manager and VAPA Support

Indi McCasey (they/them) is a creative facilitator and community catalyst who believes that the arts can transform education. They have spent the past 15 years working at the intersection of arts, education, and community health with non-profit organizations and school districts in Boston, Santa Fe, Seattle, and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. As a Creative Education Consultant, Indi facilitates professional learning communities of local, national, and international educators, thought leaders, and organizations. They are a former faculty member of Alameda County Office of Education's Integrated Learning Specialist Program and Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom and currently serve as the Executive Director of the Arts Education Alliance of the Bay Area.



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