Teacher Fellowship


Our 2019 OKF Teacher Fellowship participants, and student consultants!


Catalina Delcanto. Teacher at Skyline High School
Catalina teaches 9th grade Ethnic Studies.

Marvin Boomer. Teacher at Castlemont High School
Marvin Boomer currently teaches at Castlemont High School and is extremely excited about learning more about making room for young people to use their voice and agency to create more engaging schools, and a just, equitable society. Since beginning his teaching career in 2010, Boomer has been a part of several academic research teams across the South, worked with D.C. Public Schools and Shelby County Schools in Memphis, and helped facilitate collective impact strategies with community organizations and higher education institutions to align their work to ensure young people have opportunities to thrive. He holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Tennessee State University, and a Masters Business Administration and Masters of Arts in Teaching from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. This year, he will finish his dissertation research on the effect of school closures on student outcomes. His passions lie in the performing arts, entrepreneurship, and educational equity.

Vanessa Pope. Teacher at Castlemont High School
Since 2016, Vanessa has had the opportunity to teach 10th grade Newcomers at Castlemont High School. She is a passionate educator with experience in three different dual language contexts: at Société Générale in Paris, at Abaarso School of Science and Technology in Somaliland, and now at Castlemont. She has also worked in the independent/charter environment with the Waldorf School of Princeton.

Michael Holmes. Teacher at Castlemont High School
Michael has worked in California public schools in various capacities since the 1990s. Connection and relationship have always been central to Michael’s work in schools. There are highly educated people who participate in atrocity and injustice. Knowledge needs to be contextualized within an ethos of respect and equity. Michael is honored to work with OKF and to further their mission of helping students find their voices and opportunity in the struggle for a better world for all.

Zachary Seldon. Teacher at Castlemont High School
Zachary teaches geometry, computers, and advisory.


Kyasbeth Borbolla. 11th Grade Student at Castlemont High School

Kimberley Pascual. 10th Grade Student at Skyline High School

Helenna Rekic. 9th Grade Student at Skyline High School

Essai Taleb. 12th Grade Student at Fremont High School

Marianne Taleb. 11th Grade Student at Fremont High School

Heavenly Simpson. 11th Grade Student at Castlemont High School


Oakland Kids First (OKF) is excited to announce a fellowship for progressive classroom teachers that supports and builds capacity of teachers to engage in a series of innovative student-centered projects toward building greater equity in their schools. As a pilot, this fellowship runs in the spring semester of the 2018-2019 school year, starting in February and ending in May. Engaging with principles of design thinking, we will be testing the prototype of the fellowship as we participate.

Who is this for?

This fellowship is open to middle and high school classroom teachers working at in-district OUSD schools who have a strong belief in the need to engage their students – and the broader school community – in efforts toward achieving greater equity for students in OUSD. In this fellowship, teachers will have an opportunity to innovate and collaborate with OKF student organizers who are active leaders in their school communities.

Priority will be given to teachers:

    • Committed to improving their classroom practice to increase student voice and agency.
  • Who want to further develop their leadership skills

What are the fellowship goals?

  1. To build a cadre of teacher leaders that will work together to deepen their analysis and develop a shared vision for achieving equity in OUSD so the Oakland public school system is held accountable to the highest-need student populations.
  2. To establish multi-stakeholder networks designed to influence school culture, best practices, and decision-making at the school level so that all teachers can have an opportunity to be seen as contributors and leaders.
  3. We believe in the vision of building the capacity of teachers so that they can then lead with students, parents, and community members to shift the nexus of power in education and create lasting change for students furthest from opportunity.
  4. When this is seeded with the values of educational justice with students at the center, we believe our schools can be a thriving place of equity and learning for all students.

The fellowship prototype is designed to:

    • Provide teachers with the tools and skills to practice designing & implementing  small, safe-to-fail scalable projects through prototyping, testing, and feedback.
    • Create a community of support with other progressive teachers serving high-need students
  • Introduce teachers to centering student needs and analysis as they evolve their pedagogy and praxis

We will do this by:

    • Developing a cohort experience to give teachers the peer support they need to build their voice and agency to engage in change, while giving participants a new set of allies and thought partners from which to draw support and critical friendship.
    • Fellows will try on design mindsets and behaviors. Changing behaviors and mindsets shifts culture – when even one teacher pivots in a new direction, the potential for a ripple effect is high if the conditions are made to share what they learned through observation,  discussion, and reflection.
  • Lastly, we will convene a fishbowl series to serve as guided conversations with Oakland teachers to tell their stories in a safe space to decision makers, other educators, students, and the community at large.

Who is OKF?

Oakland Kids First is a non-profit founded in 1996 by a multi-racial coalition of youth serving agencies. Our mission is to increase youth voice, leadership, and power and create equitable public schools where all students learn and achieve. Our Meaningful Student & Family Engagement initiative was launched three years ago to increase the capacity of students and parents to advocate for equity through school site planning, shared decision-making and organizing. The fellowship will add a teacher component to this work.

What’s the schedule?

Participants need to be available the following dates in 2019:

Saturday, 2/23. 9am – 3pm (at Studio to Be)
Saturday, 3/16. 9am – 3pm
(at Studio to Be)
Saturday, 4/27. 9am – 3pm 
(Location TBD)
Saturday, 5/18. 9am – 3pm final showcase (Location TBD)
Wednesday, 5/22. 4:30pm – 730pm
 Closing circle and final feedback (Location TBD)

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided as well as all materials.

5/18 Final showcase of learning

The fellowship will end with an evening retreat to reflect on learnings, celebrate our experience, and propose changes that will inform a year-long fellowship.

Is there coaching?

YES! Teachers will have the option to sign up for individual coaching sessions during the time between sessions. Coaching sessions will be designed to suit each teacher’s individual needs.

How much is the stipend?

Teachers will receive $750 for their full participation over 4 months of engagement.

Is translation offered?

Please let us know your translation needs and we will do our best to meet your needs.

Ok, I’m ready! How can I apply?

Complete the google form by midnight on January 31, 2019 at tinyurl.com/teacherfellowship2

Additional questions can be sent to: christina@kidsfirstoakland.org