These are the 2013 Fellows – The inaugural cohort:
A teacher at his alma mater Fremont High School in Oakland, Ashanti began teaching for Upward Bound at Mills College in 2000 while working as a civil engineer. In 2002, he enrolled in the credential and Masters program at Mills College. In 2004, while in his first year at San Lorenzo High School, Ashanti created The Ever Forward Club, to attempt to decrease the number of young men of color who were failing classes. In 2005, Ashanti served as the AVID coordinator and teacher as well as the Link Crew co-leader. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2007 to teach mathematics in India. In 2008, Ashanti worked as a math specialist at Saint Mark’s School in San Rafael, and in 2010 he returned to Oakland’s ARISE High School to lead the math department, part of a team that helped double the CAHSEE passage rate for 10th graders. He currently works a co-director of the ASAP student support center at Fremont High School.
Reina S. Cabezas is a graduate of the University of San Francisco. At USF, Reina helped students organize and petition the student council for a Multicultural Programming Board to bring more diversity to university life. She was an advocate for survivors of domestic violence for 10 years before becoming an elementary and middle school teacher. Reina received her multiple subject credential and Master’s in Science with an option in Educational Technology Leadership from Cal State University, East Bay. Currently, she is a Technology teacher for students K-5 and co-teacher of the 6th grade Engineering and Technology Project Lead the Way class at Lazear Charter Academy in Jingletown. She has been an active participant in the Strategic Vision and Planning for Education for Change, and continues to help in building teacher capacity for the sound pedagogical integration of technology at the site and organizational level.
Born in Buckley, Mich. (population: 400), Christi has spent her career teaching in urban public schools. After six happy years teaching high school English in Detroit and Oakland, Christi found her niche in middle school, and now teaches at United for Success Academy in Fruitvale. Christi earned both her bachelor’s degree (2001, English) and master’s degree (2007, Public Health) from the University of Michigan. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her teaching, but none as gratifying as the many times a day she gets to laugh with her students.
Julio is currently in his fourth year at Oakland International High School, an OUSD school for recent immigrant and refugee students. Julio has taught 11th and 12th grade English, along with technology and journalism elective classes. He also helped start and coach the school’s first basketball team. Julio is currently part of the school’s Leadership Team, and Parents and Families Committee. Originally from Colorado, Julio came to Oakland as a Teach For America corps member. He graduated from Princeton University with a BA in German.
Lindsey began her teaching career in South Central, Los Angeles, where she taught 6th grade Humanities and served as the faculty representative, as well as a TCRP pilot teacher. This year, Lindsey teaches 1st grade at Berkley Maynard Academy (BMA), an Aspire charter school, in Oakland. Over the past two years, she has become involved on multiple levels with the reform of teacher evaluative programs, serving as a TCRP advisory panel member, pilot teacher, and TCRP Peer Certified Observer. Lindsey graduated from Occidental College with a major in Sociology and a double minor in Education and Spanish. Her senior thesis outlined the ways in which indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico were using alternative schooling methods to preserve their marginalized culture. She then stayed at Occidental to obtain her multiple subject teaching credential and Masters in the Art of Teaching (M.A.T), which focused on the negotiation of biracial identity for young students.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Damon attended Dartmouth College. After teaching at San Francisco Day School for two years, she received her M.A. and teaching credential from Stanford University. Damon has been working at Oakland Unity High School, a small public charter school in East Oakland, for the past five years. During that time, she has taught English to 9th, 11th, and 12th graders, and served as an advisor to the class of 2011 and the class of 2015. Damon recently received her National Board Certification for teaching English to Adolescents and Young Adults. She also runs the school’s library, mentors new teachers, and coaches varsity volleyball and basketball at the school.
A teacher at Howard Elementary School, Caitlin moved to Oakland three years ago to be part of the dynamic community here in the East Bay. A 2009 graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Caitlin studied English and anthropology, focusing her ethnographic work around community perceptions of horizontal hostility. While in college, she was elected commencement speaker and worked as the publisher of the campus newspaper. Caitlin came to teaching through the Oakland Teaching Fellows Program in 2011 and was placed in her current position at Howard. She teaches a Special Day Class (SH-SDC) for students in kindergarten-second grade who are diagnosed with autism. Caitlin also works part-time for The New Teacher Project as a teacher candidate selector. She has a Moderate/Severe Disabilities Education Specialist California Teaching Credential with an Autism Spectrum Disorder authorization.
Mara is a first grade teacher at Learning Without Limits elementary school in the Fruitvale district. She is in her fifth year of teaching and currently serves as the Math Lead at her school. In her time at LWL, Mara has also held roles on the Instructional Leadership Team, School Site Committee, Faculty Council, and as the union representative, among others. Mara has strong local roots, as she grew up in Berkeley and spent a lot of time in Oakland as a child. She graduated with honors from UCLA, and while there she developed her organizing skills as a member of the Social Justice Alliance. She also gained policy experience post-college, working for the Office of AIDS Programs and Policy of Los Angeles County. After working at an elementary school in Hollywood, she returned home to attend UC Berkeley for her Master’s in Education and multiple subject teaching credential.
Suneal is a seventh year teacher in Oakland. He currently teaches Humanities and Government/Economics to 11th and 12th Graders at Life Academy of Health and Bioscience. Last year, Suneal worked with teachers and students across the Bay Area to gather thousands of signatures for a ballot initiative to lower the costs of education at public universities in California. Though the initiative fell short of the ballot, the movement got extensive statewide and national media coverage. Suneal got his B.A. in Political Science at UCLA and his M.A. in Education from Stanford University. Through his relationship with the Stanford Teacher Education Program, he spearheaded a partnership between the university and Life Academy, and has taken on three student teachers from their program. This year, he is working on earning a National Boards Certification to reflect upon, and improve, his teaching practice.
Rachel is the Resource Specialist at Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA), a 6-12 small school in East Oakland. Rachel joined OUSD in the fall of 2009 through Teach for America as a Special Day Class (SDC) teacher. After two years in the SDC classroom, Rachel took over the Resource Specialist position to reorganize her school’s special education program. At CCPA, Rachel serves as the team lead for implementing Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and the special education Professional Learning Community Lead. In addition Rachel supports Restorative Justice work and reading intervention through the Achieve3000 program and is a Special Education Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) coach. In her fourth year teaching, Rachel received recognition through OUSD’s “Honoring Our Own” program as the exemplary Region 3 high school teacher. Rachel is originally from Atlanta, and graduated with a bachelor’s in environmental policy from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Alfredo Mathew III
Alfredo is a veteran teacher leader with extensive experience in urban schools. Alfredo began his career in 1998 at JHS 145 in New York. In 2002 he helped found Mott Haven Village Preparatory High School, a redesigned school in South Bronx. He earned Teacher of the Year honors at Mott Haven, and the New York Post recognized him as one of New York’s best teachers in 2002. Before coming to Oakland in 2009, Alfredo served as an International Baccalaureate History teacher and department chair at Blair IB High School in Pasadena, where he developed and led the annual Model United Nations Conference at Pasadena City College. Alfredo teaches at LPS Oakland where he inspires students daily to aspire to college and beyond. He has a dual Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Anthropology from Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., and a Masters of Science from New York’s Mercy College.
Francisco Nieto Salazar
Francisco has taught in Bay Area schools for 13 years, mainly as an elementary Spanish bilingual teacher in Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward. He has experience in school reform efforts at both site and district levels, leading initiatives to improve student outcomes through technology and project-based learning. Francisco was one of the founding teachers at Encompass Academy, which opened in 2004 in East Oakland. He has developed curriculum for ELLs, published articles, and led professional developments on technology integration and the use of data to drive instruction. He has pioneered blended learning and mobile learning initiatives in Hayward. As cofounder of sleek-geek, an educational app startup, he is currently developing iPad games, reading assessment and instruction tools for elementary schools. Francisco graduated from UC Berkeley in 1997 with a B.A. in History. He currently teaches technology at ASCEND.
An English teacher at Skyline High School in Oakland and Teach for America alum, Lisa began her teaching career at Skyline in 2009, where she taught 10th and 11th grade ELA, as well as AP English Language and Composition. She is the chair of Skyline’s English Department, a representative on the school’s Faculty Council, and a member of OUSD’s ELA Teacher Leader Cadre. From 2005-2007, Lisa worked as the Communications Associate at Preschool California, a non-profit, advocacy organization in Oakland. That experience drove her to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Michigan’s Ford School, and a graduate school summer internship in the communications department of DC Public School’s Central Office. Lisa also has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in English Language Arts (Go Blue!) and a Single Subject ELA Teaching Credential from Alliant University.
Jacob teaches 6th grade English and history at Bret Harte Middle School in Oakland. In addition, he teaches a journalism class that produces a school newspaper each month. Jacob moved to Oakland in 2009 after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Political Science. His first job was as a 3rd grade teacher at Sequoia Elementary School. At Bret Harte, Jacob has worked to reform the school discipline system, organized a science fair, and helped create an event to celebrate the honor roll students after each marking period.