Oakland, CA – Oakland schools news. The 2019-20 school year is anything but normal, with schools still shut down more than seven weeks into the coronavirus closure. But what is normal is that Oakland Unified School District OUSD continues to celebrate the outstanding work of our staff. Through all the uncertainty, teachers have continued to support our students and their families. Today, National Teacher Day, the District is proud to announce the 2020 OUSD Teachers of the Year.
Three educators receive the top honors, and they are third grade teacher, Phoebe Diamond from Chabot Elementary, physical education teacher, Nathan Jackson from Urban Promise Academy and biology and physiology teacher, Ji-Yun “Jane” Kim from Fremont High School.
Phoebe Diamond is a 3rd Grade Teacher at Chabot Elementary, and has served Oakland Unified for several years in multiple roles beyond the classroom including lead math teacher, member of the Site Instructional Leadership Team, and member of the Math Core Curriculum Production Team. Ms. Diamond has taught in OUSD for more than 29 years and has countless valuable memories. For instance, she remembers having overheard students who had previously struggled linguistically and academically finally using academic language to help their peers understand a topic. Ms. Diamond is known for having high expectations for every child and for having an unshakable belief that every child can master the standards. She does everything in her power to ensure all of her students succeed. Colleagues say Ms. Diamond’s young scholars are fully supported to use evidence, show their thinking, explain their answers and dig more deeply into the curriculum. Her classroom is a place where academic discussions and vocabulary are commonplace. Chabot Principal Jessica Cannon said, “Ms. Diamond’s expectations for her students are rivaled only by those she holds for herself… I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever met a harder working, more dedicated, and more reflective teacher than Phoebe Diamond.”
Nathan Jackson is a Physical Education Teacher at Urban Promise Academy, Chair of the P.E. Department, a member of the District P.E. Leadership Team, and an active member of the Black Teacher Project. He serves on the instruction/planning team for the California Physical Education Workshop where he teaches classroom management skills and restorative justice techniques to educators from around the state. Mr. Jackson also plans and facilitates professional development workshops for other P.E. teachers across the District. It’s no surprise that Mr. Jackson is a former West Contra Costa Ed Fund Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year award winner. He’s a coach who always gives feedback and supports new teachers enthusiastically, eager to continue learning and growing as an educator. He has high expectations for all of his students, confident in their ability to engage in rigorous physical activities, learn a variety of sports and teamwork skills, and show student leadership. His teaching space is known as a safe haven for students to try new things without fear and to grow in their social/emotional skills. It’s clear how much students love to be in his classroom by their consistent 99.7% participation rate. Urban Promise Academy Principal Tierre Mesa said, “Mr. Jackson is a highly effective teacher leader who impacts the lives of students every day. He is highly regarded by his students and coworkers for his dedication and expertise.”
Ji-Yun “Jane” Kim is a 9th grade Biology, 11th grade Physiology, and Advanced Placement Biology Teacher at Fremont High School. She also serves as Site-Based Coach, Science Department Chair and 9th Grade Co-Lead and previously served OUSD as a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Coach, Curriculum Developer, and as a High School Science Specialist with the Academic Innovation Division. Ms. Kim wants each of her students to feel individually recognized, welcomed, and supported. Colleagues say the school community counts on her for far more than what she accomplishes within her classroom, whether coordinating field trips for the 9th grade house, planning advisory curriculum to prepare 9th grade students for student-led conferences, or planning learning walks for her Science Department, Ms. Kim is attentive to ensuring tasks are completed effectively and on time while always keeping the big picture in mind. Because of her innovation in piloting Lesson Study and the success of her protocol and tools within the Science Department, the school administration chose to implement Lesson Study school-wide. Fremont High Co-Principal Tom Skjervheim said, “Ms. Kim is a force when creating classroom culture… She is one of the best teachers and teacher leaders I have worked with and I gladly recommend her for Oakland Teacher of the Year.”
“As many parents no doubt have gained a much deeper understanding during our shelter in place of how challenging being a teacher can be,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell, “they have also likely gained important insight into the qualities that set apart great teachers. To teach day in and day out, keeping students engaged and excited about learning, keeping their approach fresh and innovative, all while providing a warm, supportive and safe environment is what our educators do in classes across the District. Ms. Diamond, Mr. Jackson and Ms. Kim show the best of Oakland every day they’re in the classroom, and they are outstanding examples of the greatness of our teaching staff. I send my heartfelt congratulations to each of them, their students, their colleagues and their families.”
The Teachers of the Year will be honored by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Superintendent Johnson-Trammell in the coming weeks, and they will be formally honored by the Board of Education in the fall. Each of the Teachers of the Year is automatically nominated to be Alameda County Teacher of the Year, the winners of which will be announced later in the fall. The winners of that title will compete for California Teacher of the Year. OUSD congratulates Phoebe Diamond, Nathan Jackson and Ji-Yun “Jane” Kim, the 2020 OUSD Teachers of the Year!
About the Oakland Unified School District
In California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 83 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success.
To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
This post based on a press release from Oakland Unified School District to Zennie62Media, Inc.