Broad & Diverse Coalition of Endorsements Unite Behind Nina Senn for Oakland School Board

OAKLAND – Nina Senn, Oakland School Board District 4 candidate, announced eleven major endorsements from leaders throughout the city, county and state, including: 

  • Nancy Skinner, California State Assemblymember

  • Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction

  • Pat Kernighan, President, Oakland City Council – District 2

  • Gary Yee, Former OUSD Superintendent and Board Member – District 4

  • James Harris, Vice President, OUSD Board Member – District 7

  • Rosie Torres, OUSD Board Member – District 5

  • Oakland Education Association (Teachers Ranked Choice)

  • Alameda County Central Labor Council

  • Building and Construction Trades Council (#1 Ranked Choice)

  • National Women’s Political Caucus – Alameda North

  • Great Oakland Public Schools

Coming from a broad and diverse coalition of organizations and individuals, these endorsements demonstrate the depth of Nina’s appeal. They not only acknowledge that she is the best candidate to represent students, teachers, families, workers, and the community, they prove that she is uniquely skilled at bringing people together to achieve a common goal –– 

Community Access to Resources and Education (CARE).

In addition to both County Labor Councils, (The Central Labor Council (representing over 100,000 workers in healthcare, transportation, public safety, education, construction, manufacturing, and service) and the Building Trades), Nina also has the endorsements of many of their affiliated unions including the Oakland Education Association (Teachers Ranked Choice), Carpenters Local 713, and Sheet Metal 104.  

Great Oakland Public Schools, a nonprofit organization, is a coalition of parents, teachers, principals, and community leaders working to advance leadership and policies to ensure that all Oakland students have the opportunity to attend quality public schools.

“I am honored to have the trust and endorsement of these organizations and individuals,” said Senn.  “I have a track record of affecting positive change in extremely challenging and diverse situations. By listening, building consensus, and collaborating with integrity, I help people find common ground - and that is just what we need on the School Board.”

“Oakland public schools have a long history of complicated challenges.  Sometimes leaders and organizations have been at odds in their efforts to address the issues,” continued Senn.  “I know that I can help bridge the gaps and find solutions so that, together, we can roll up our sleeves,  put aside our differences,  and make Oakland public schools the first choice for families.  My goal is that each of us can say with confidence that every student can thrive in our public schools pre-K through high school and beyond.” 

“Nina has been a parent leader for over ten years, and she is a true asset to our school community,” said Nancy Bloom, Principal at Montclair Elementary School.  “She gets things done, she cares about the teachers and the students, and she makes sure we have the support we need whether it is in the classroom, the lunchroom, the library or a safe pathway to school.”

“Nina listens and cares about all of the students and believes in equity for all students. As a School Board member, she will be a key voice for families, staff and students,” commented John Wade and Debe Rapson, former Montera PTO Co-Presidents who served with Nina on the Montera PTO Board when she was the Vice President of Academic Enhancement.

Stephanie Berger, teacher at Montera Middle School agrees. “I think we need someone on the Board with a strong and current connection and understanding of our community and schools in District 4.  I know from personally working with Nina over the last four years, in her volunteer role as a dedicated and valued parent, community leader and Restorative Justice practitioner at Montera, that she is that person."

Andreas Cluver, Secretary Treasurer of the Alameda County Building Trades Council and an Executive Board Member of the Central Labor Council and a District 4 parent, believes that “Nina has the strongest vision, given her unique leadership background in business, non-profit and school environments, to ensure that students will be prepared so that they have a choice of promising career jobs by getting into apprenticeship programs while earning a living and learning their trade and/or pursuing higher education options.”

“We are proud to endorse Nina for School Board in District 4,” said Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of Great Oakland Public Schools.  “Building on her experience as a mediator, community leader and her direct perspective as a public school parent, she will bring a collaborative approach and a strong commitment to quality education for students across the city to the Board.”

"I have known Nina as a fellow parent leader, my daughter's soccer coach and as a friend and I can think of no one better to represent our community on the School Board," said Melissa Raymond, former PTA President of Montclair School.

Nina Senn grew up in a multi-cultural family and is the product of a solid California public school education. Her mother was a 3rd grade elementary school teacher who delighted in inspiring and challenging her students to be their very best with her creative, thought-provoking activities and lessons. Nina's father was a minister, an academic and a pioneer of inter-faith dialogue. He taught at UCLA until he retired in his eighties. Nina received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University. As an attorney, Nina has worked with global and domestic companies and organizations focusing on international, logistics and technology transactions and dispute resolution processes. For over 18 years, five of which were based in Brussels, Belgium, her work involved building consensus and negotiating multi-million dollar agreements in complex multi-cultural environments.  She was also President of the Board for SEEDS Community Resolution Center, a thirty-year-old non-profit providing mediation, restorative justice and other dispute resolution services to the residents of Alameda County, for five years.  Nina has her own dispute resolution and legal services practice in Oakland and was particularly delighted to recently work on an OUSD project that focused on special education.

Please come and meet Nina (and receive a free children’s book while supplies last) at one of the following upcoming events:

9/23 @ 6:30-8:30 p.m. Candidates Forum, Montera Middle School

9/27 @ 3-5 p.m. Kelly’s Corner (Laurel), 3901 MacArthur Blvd.

9/28 @ 11–1 pm Montclair Farmer’s Market

9/28 @ 3-4:30 p.m. Hive Café (Dimond), 2139 MacArthur Blvd.

10/4 @ Oaktoberfest (Dimond) (to be confirmed)

Oakland Unified School District Board, District 4 includes the following schools: Allendale (TK-5), Bret Harte (6-8), Horace Mann (TK-5), Joaquin Miller (K-5), Laurel (K-5), Montclair (K-5), Montera (6-8), Redwood Heights (K-5), Sequoia (TK-5), Thornhill (K-5), American Indian Public Charter School - American Indian Model Schools  (6-8), American Indian Public High School - American Indian Model Schools ((9-12), and  COVA Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts (K-8).



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School board races rev up by

OAKLAND -- More residents are interested in managing the Oakland Unified School District by running for election to its board of directors in November, with the number of candidates running in Districts 2, 4 and 6 way up from the last election in 2010.

Eight candidates are running for the three seats compared to the last time around when both David Kakishiba and Christopher Dobbins ran unopposed in District 2 and District 6. Both are stepping down and there are two candidates running for each of their seats.

And there are four candidates running for the District 4 seat this year to replace Annie Campbell Washington, up from two in 2010.

See full text of September 17, 2014 Article by Doug Oakley of the Oakland Tribune at:

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Congratulations and Welcome to Montera's New Principal: Darren Avent

Excerpt from "Montera's New Principal Named" by Mimi Rohr, June 18, 2014, Inside Bay Area.

OAKLAND -- The Montera Middle School community met its new principal, Darren Avent, on June 11 at the school's multipurpose room.

Avent, a native of New York, was briefly an assistant principal at Montera in the spring of 2011, when he moved to the West Coast, before becoming principal of Kaiser Elementary School, where he says he rebuilt the school's culture.

He also was a vice principal at Science Park High School in New Jersey. The school was a national blue ribbon school. Avent spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps before attending the University of Massachusetts.

Avent will succeed Tina Tranzor, who is leaving Montera after two years as the school's principal. Avent was an assistant principal under Tranzor's predecessor, Russom Mesfun, who was the school's principal from 2007-2012.

Darren Avent is the new principal at Montera Middle School.
Darren Avent is the new principal at Montera Middle School.

"I'm confident that Montera will be in good hands," Mesfun said. "He was very professional, a good listener and worked very well with kids, adults and parents. I wish him the best success. I believe he is going to do good things for Montera."

Full Story:


Excerpt from "Montera Middle School seeks new principal" by Mimi Rohr, June 4, 2014, Mercury News.

As attributes they sought in a new principal, the parents group identified a need for visibility, integrity, transparency, community building, good communication and specifically someone who is not afraid to openly address the racial issues at the school.

Montera is the largest and one of the most diverse middle schools in Oakland, with a student body of more than 900 from all over the city. Ann Sinclair suggested that the school might benefit with someone who has been a principal.

"Someone that knows the Montera community and has had the experience of being on the ground at Montera is very valuable," Nina Senn, a former Montera parent, pointed out.

Campbell Washington agreed.

"We need a superstar educator to lead this community-based middle school at a critical time," she said.

Full Story:



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A People-Focused Solution

Restorative justice programs may offer the best new hope for reducing violence in Oakland schools and the city overall, but their future funding is uncertain.


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Recent Comments, May 23, 2013

I am happy to see the EBX give some love to the OUSD RJ program and the student leaders and adults who make it happen. Jean Tepperman did a great job capturing the essence of what we are trying to do, and I am so glad she could highlight some of the amazing individuals doing this work in our schools. 

It is important to note that at Montera Middle School, local non-profit SEEDS Community Resolution Center has been an integral partner in this work. Principal Tranzor and indefatigable Montera parent Nina Senn, who is a Montera PTO member and the SEEDS Board President, coordinated efforts to make sure that Ms. Yari's hours were increased beyond what the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth had so generously given her via the Peer RJ Grant. This increase in hours allowed Yari to include parent volunteers and increase the scope of her RJ work and really make a substantive difference at the school site. There are many unsung heroes and it is impossible to name them all. In this case, we would be remiss not to mention Nina Senn and SEEDS. 

Thank you EBX for highlighting this very important work as we shift the culture and climate at our schools. 

David Yusem
Program Manager, Restorative Justice
Oakland Unified School District

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Responding To Disaster and a Track Record of Action


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