From the Desk: International Women’s Day: Creating the Women of Tomorrow

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From the Desk of the Superintendent

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women’s Day: 

Creating the Women of Tomorrow


 Dear Oakland Community,


My mom was a high school drop out and found herself working graveyard shifts at a casino to make ends meet. Back then, they actually weighed the waitresses. If she had put on a pound or two, she was sent home, unable to work or provide for her two daughters. 

I remember an 8x10 photograph of her dressed in her uniform, a mini white toga with gold stitching. She was so thin. It was ironic to think that if she didn’t eat, her children actually would. It was those early images of my mother that fueled me to pursue a career in education, a profession that I felt focused on intellect and not appearance.


Today, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to help create an environment where all students and girls in particular, have the support to feel self-confident and envision a future without limitations. At OUSD, we listen to the voices of girls and create programs that respond to their unique needs. My own experiences as a young girl and awareness of how much work needs to be done in our schools inspire me to lead this work forward and make a positive impact on our student’s lives. 


I’ve met with our partner, Alliance for Girls (AFG), a powerful group of women and organizations who advocate for girls in the Bay Area. In the report Valuing Girls Voices: The Lived Experiences Of Girls Of Color In Oakland Unified School District, AFG interviewed many of our students, leaders and stakeholders. One key finding was that gender-specific programs help girls of color develop healthy relationships and feelings of school connectedness.

I saw this to be true at the Community Forum on the Aspirations and Experiences of Girls, where findings from a 100 day listening campaign were unveiled. Beautiful, bold young ladies shared their talents with an audience of several hundred. This event, hosted by our African American Girls and Young Women Achievement program, is the first of many to help build a community of support for our girls.


International community School

Our girls are brilliant. We see what powerful contributions they make both at school and in extracurricular activities, yet we live in a world of persistent gender inequality. Today on International Women's Day, women around the world are standing up for rights such as equal pay for equal work, access to reproductive health care and freedom from gender-based violence.  

Our female students represent a generation of future leaders; our job is to empower girls through education and encourage them to be the change they want to see.

    In partnership,

    Devin Dillon Signature

    Devin Dillon
    Interim Superintendent


    i am ousd values