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Oakland Unified School District

Our Team

Arcelia Gonzalez

Regional Family Engagement Liaison

I am a parent of three boys and grandparent to an 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 at Think College Now (TCN), and International Community School (ICS) 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 in partnership with teachers, staff, and principals as specified in the Site Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) to achieve academic goals.

Lailan Huen

Anti-Racist Learning Coordinator & APISA Team Support

Lailan Sandra Huen went to Joaquin Miller, Montera and Skyline, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Asian American & Ethnic Studies from Columbia University and a Master of Arts from The New School. Her family first came to California during the 1850s Gold Rush 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. She served as the Senior Field Representative for Assemblymember Sandré Swanson on education, youth and community development, and has been involved in policy development and advocacy at the local, state and federal levels. Lailan co-founded OUSD's Racial Justice Taskforce in 2019 with Principals and equity leaders across district departments, and serves on the Sanctuary Schools Taskforce, Curriculum Adoption Committees, and the district's Continuous School Improvement Team.

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 toward college access, career success and living a meaningful life.

Dr. 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 a 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 at 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.

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 the 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 at 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 young people 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 returning 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.

Sabria Hassan

Arab American Targeted Student Intervention Specialist

Vacancy

Targeted Specialist, West Oakland Corridor - African American Male Achievement

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Citlali Espinoza

Student Engagement Specialist

Citlali 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 late mother, Gloria Vargas, and mentors 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 a deep commitment to 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 support. In 2015, I transitioned into my role with OUSD's Family Engagement Team, as a District Parent Liaison, developing parents' 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 for over 20 years to support students, families, staff and the 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.

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. Her two children attended and graduated from Oakland public schools, her son in 2016 and her daughter in 2018. Nicole started her work in social justice in 2000 by getting involved with the Healthy Babies Project in Oakland, helping young pregnant mothers find shelter and resources.

In 2004, Nicole attended Merritt College in Oakland, CA, where she received a certificate in Human Services, and 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 District Family Engagement Specialist for the High School Network and supports the African American Achievement Department. She is also a support staff liaison working in partnership with OUSD's parent committee called "Committee to Empower Excellence in Black Student Education" (CEEBSE).

Tiago Robinson

Targeted Specialist, College and Career/Case Manager - African American Male Achievement

Program 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.

Adrieanna Williams

Program Assistant & African American Female Excellence

Adrieanna 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 to 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 on 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 responsibilities are to design 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 Services

Please fill out the new Translation Services Request Form, ideally 2 weeks in advance!

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David Copenhaguen

Spanish Translator/Interpreter

David 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.

David Copenhaguen

Tareq Alsamman

Arabic Translator/Interpreter Specialist

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Fathiya Saleh

Arabic Translator/Interpreter Specialist

My name is Fathiya Saleh. I am a mother of five amazing young children. I have been an educator for a very long time. I taught English at international schools and taught Arabic as well. I am a translator and interpreter. I graduated from King Khalid University in Saudi Arabia. I have been living in Oakland for the past five years. I am very passionate about working with the Arabic speaking community in Oakland and I hope to be able to help and support them and the students of OUSD. 

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Angel Ho

Chinese Interpreter/Translator Specialist

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Mam Translator/Interpreter

We're Hiring!

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Cynthia Ovando

Spanish Translator/Interpreter

As an interpreter and translator in Oakland since 2011, Cynthia Ovando is committed to language justice and linguistically inclusive spaces for parents, students, staff and the 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.

Cynthia Ovando

Lang Prasit

Cambodian Translator/Interpreter

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 a part-time IA at Franklin YR in the morning and as a part-time interpreter/translator at the 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.

Lang Prasit

Alexander Quan

Mandarin Chinese Translator/Interpreter

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 at 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.

Alexander Quan

Andres de la Torre

Spanish Translator/Interpreter

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 field, he 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 the OUSD community.

Andres de la Torre

Eva Vargas

Spanish Translator/Interpreter Specialist

Eva 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 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 on professionalizing educational interpreters and translators nationwide.

Eva Vargas

Rebeca Walker-Marquez

Spanish Translator/Interpreter Specialist

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.

Rebeca Walker-Marquez

David Yuen

Chinese Translator/Interpreter Specialist

David was born in Hong Kong, and migrated to the 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 of Arts). He earned his BA degree in Liberal Arts with Emphasis in Early Childhood Development at California State University Hayward (East Bay). In 1986, he joined OUSD and worked in school sites in various Bilingual positions before joining the Translation Unit in 2007. It's full of fun and challenges throughout the journey with OUSD, as a student as well as an employee.

David Yuen

Samantha Aubry-Fenwick

Regional Family Engagement Liaison

Parent 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

Taji 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.

Raquel Jimenez

Executive Director

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 Achievement

Jerome 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 by rising “From Ghetto to Goddess”. As a youth, she overcame many trials that trapped 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 helping 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.

Phyllis Copes

Administrative Assistant III