Oakland Unified School District board members and superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell at the first in-person board meeting in 18 months on August 11, 2021 in Oakland, Calif. Credit: Kathryn Styer Martínez

Three seats are up on the Oakland Unified School District board this year, in Districts 2, 4, and 6. In 2020, voters elected four new directors to represent Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7. Those races drew a crowded field, with a combined 17 candidates on the ballot. Fewer candidates chose to run this year, but the races in each district are shaping up to be competitive. 

The incumbents in Districts 2 and 4, Aimee Eng and Gary Yee, aren’t running for re-election. In District 6, the previous director Shanthi Gonzales stepped down in May after more than seven years on the board. Altogether, nine candidates have filed to compete for the vacant seats, including interim District 6 Director Kyra Mungia, who was appointed to replace Gonzales. Other candidates include OUSD parents and former teachers, as well as current and former elected officials. 

Controversial school closures and the district budget are two topics that are likely to be on the minds of voters as they head to the polls in November. 

We’ll be interviewing all of the school board candidates and providing in-depth coverage of these races in the weeks to come. If there are questions you want us to ask the candidates, let us know, and don’t miss the rest of The Oakandside’s ongoing election coverage. But for now, here’s the final list of who’s running. 

District 2

Jennifer Brouhard

Brouhard is a retired teacher who spent 27 years in OUSD. For the last two years, she taught seventh and eighth-grade humanities at La Escuelita, which until this year was a K-8 school. As part of OUSD’s school closure plan, La Esucelita’s middle school was closed and this year only enrolls students up to fifth grade, a decision Brouhard has criticized. 

David Kakishiba

Kakishiba is the executive director of EBAYC, a community organization that provides afterschool programs, summer camps, and mentorship for Oakland students. Kakishiba previously served on the OUSD board from 2003 to 2015, and from 2015 to 2021 on the Measure N commission, a citizens’ board overseeing the OUSD parcel tax measure that supports college and career readiness in Oakland high schools. Kakishiba currently chairs the Measure G1 commission for OUSD, which oversees the parcel tax for teacher recruitment and retention and arts and music education in middle schools. Earlier this year, Kakishiba finished third in the District 3 county supervisor’s race, receiving 18% of the vote. 

Maximo Orozco

Orozco is an OUSD parent who has been an outspoken opponent of school closures. His daughter attends La Escuelita and his son was in one of the school’s first eighth-grade graduating classes. Orozco was recently injured during an altercation at Parker K-8 between OUSD security and community members who have been protesting the school’s closure. 

District 4

Pecolia Hudson-Manigo

Hudson-Manigo is also an OUSD parent and the executive director of Bay Area PLAN, a parent advocacy organization based in Oakland. Hudson-Manigo has been a leader in the Reparations for Black Students campaign and currently serves as the chair of the Black Students and Families Thriving Task Force, a group of parents, teachers, administrators, and community members overseeing the implementation of the Reparations for Black Students resolution.

Mike Hutchinson

Hutchinson is currently the elected school board director for District 5. After the redistricting process placed his address in District 4, Hutchinson decided to run in District 4, although he isn’t required to and could stay in District 5 for two more years until the end of his current term. Hutchinson is a long-time education advocate in Oakland and has protested OUSD’s school closures for the last 10 years. 

Nick Resnick

Resnick is a parent and former OUSD teacher and instructional coach who is currently the chief executive officer of Inquiry By Design, a company that produces curriculum for third to 12th grades. Resnick also ran for the Peralta Community College Board of Trustees in 2016 and placed second out of two candidates, receiving 27% of the vote. Resnick’s priorities include improving student learning, and stabilizing the budget.

District 6

Valarie Bachelor

Bachelor is an organizer with the California Federation of Teachers, a union that represents educators, paraprofessionals and school support staff, community college employees, and non-tenured university faculty. Bachelor has lived in the Eastmont Hills for two years and has worked in labor organizing for 15 years. Bachelor has supported the occupation at Parker K-8 and believes the district’s spending should be further scrutinized before considering closing schools. 

Kyra Mungia

Mungia was appointed in June to serve out the remaining term of former District 6 director Gonzales, which expires in January. Mungia currently works as Mayor Libby Schaaf’s deputy director of education, where she helps spearhead the mayor’s education initiatives, like the Oakland Teacher Residency program and Oakland Undivided, which assists families with free computers and tech support. Mungia also taught for three years at Horace Mann Elementary. 

Joel Velasquez

Velasquez is an OUSD parent who has been active in opposing school closures. Ten years ago, he led the occupation of Lakeview Elementary, a protest that lasted about two weeks at the now-shuttered campus on Grand Avenue. Velasquez also applied for the District 6 appointment after Gonzales resigned, and has served on school PTAs and citizens’ commissions. His focus is on rebuilding trust between OUSD and the community.

Ashley McBride reports on education equity for The Oaklandside. She covered the 2019 Oakland Unified School District teachers’ strike as a breaking news reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. More recently, she was an education reporter for the San Antonio Express-News where she covered several local school districts, charter schools, and the community college system. McBride earned her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, has held positions at the Palm Beach Post and the Poynter Institute, and is a recent Hearst Journalism Fellow.