Oakland’s New Superintendent Is a Homegrown Leader for a District in Financial Turmoil

Kate Stringer:

he rage was palpable. Oakland community members packed the district room waving signs. They shouted over school board members, screaming, “No cuts!” and “Chop from the top!” They stood in line for four hours to make public comments, voices laced with emotion, all asking the same thing: Why were millions of dollars being taken away from their schools?
Whatever Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell may have been feeling during that meeting last November, she didn’t show it, even though she had the unenviable task of explaining that “why” to a room pulsing with frustration.
“Before I move any further in the presentation, I would like to say how deeply sorry I am for the current financial position we find ourselves in,” Johnson-Trammell told the crowd that night, in the steady, even tone of a seasoned teacher addressing a room of mutinous students. “I acknowledge and understand the hurt, frustration, and anger that everyone is feeling. For the sake of our children, we must do better as a district and stay committed to fiscal vitality in the long run.”