Dennis Guikema, Principal
Dennis Guikema began serving children and families in Oakland Unified School District in 1994. His career in teaching and school leadership spans all levels, kindergarten through 12th grade. After taking a year’s sabbatical and visiting 14 countries on 5 continents, he became principal of Kaiser Elementary in 2016. In 2019-20 he led the design process for the merging of Kaiser and Sankofa Elementary Schools. Mr. Guikema is the founding principal of Sankofa United Elementary School.
Mr. Guikema holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan and earned his teaching credential from CSU East Bay and administrative credential from UC Irvine.
Mr. Guikema believes that a world class education should be a right for every child. He is a fierce advocate for racial and social justice and equity in our schools and community. Since 1994 he has lived within walking distance of Sankofa United Elementary and is deeply committed to our community. Mr. Guikema lives with his wife and daughter. Family time, cooking, cycling, running, and connecting with nature are all essential to Mr. Guikema.
Erica Macklin, Community School Manager
Erica Macklin has worked with students and families for over a decade with the Oakland Unified School District. Throughout her career she has held many roles in leadership from a paraeducator to Resources Specialist. She has been on the Sankofa campus since 2014 as an advocate for students, families, and the community at large.
As the Sankofa United Community School Manager, her role is critical in integrating the partnership work of the school with its academic mission. Erica serves as a high-level administrator by managing, leading, and coordinating the community work to support school and student needs. This work is accomplished by conducting ongoing needs assessments to provide proper alignment with school, student and family core values. Mrs. Macklin serves with a strong equity lens and strives for equality in education for all students.
Erica earned a bachelorś degree from Holy Names in Oakland, California and is a wife and mother of two daughters.
Velisa Woods, Ed.S, Teacher on Special Assignment
Ms. Woods is a native of Memphis, TN. She brings to Sankofa United 10 years of teaching experience in elementary and high school grades. Velisa has taught 2nd, 5th, and 9-11th grade English and Broadcast Journalism. She is a graduate of Jackson State University in Jackson, MS and the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). Ms. Woods has a Bachelor and Master's degree (B.S & M.S) in Elementary Education and a Specialist degree (Ed.S) in Educational Leadership. She enjoys traveling and hip hop concerts. Ms. Woods is the mother of two adult children, Alexandria and Aaron.
Derrick Wesby, After School Program Coordinator
Derrick Wesby, affectionately known as ¨Mr. D", is the Bay Area Community Resources After School Program Coordinator. Derrick began his career with BACR in 2006 on the Sankofa campus as an instructor. Derrick has over 15 years experience within the education and social justice realm and has held titles such as program assistant, intervention specialist, and resource specialist. Derrick supports students, families and staff through programs that not only enrich student academic learning but also support student social emotional growth. Derrick’s mission is to provide a safe space for youth, support student agency, and advocate for the Sankofa United community. Derrick has received many awards and accolades including the 2019 Superintendent Recognition Award. Derrick is a proud father and community member who is committed to social change in the community.