For the past four years, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with many talented and committed partners to ensure that Oakland’s youngest learners are on track for reading and language success, and better prepared to thrive in school and life. I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together.
I know that Oakland’s children will truly be better off because of our joint efforts. And, as much as I love doing this work with you, I have decided to make a change. Santa Cruz County has called me home. I recently accepted an offer to serve as the CEO of the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, where I will work to build success in education and economic vitality. My first day is October 11.
This change does not affect the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s deep commitment to Oakland or any of our projects together. Our board and staff are thrilled with the progress we are making. Indeed, we take great joy in our small wins and big victories, and even in the slow changes we see.
Since we started this work, we have:
Increased Education Funding
Our Oakland education funding has grown from $500,000 to over $6 million.
Improved Literacy Development
Completed Ambitious Research
Leaving has been such a hard decision because of you and our colleagues in this work. The decision became much easier, however, through our CEO Jen Rainin’s continued leadership. Jen has appointed Carla Bryant to serve as the Rainin Foundation’s new Director of Education Strategy and Ventures. Carla has had her own early education consulting practice. She also recently served as Chief of the Early Education Department at San Francisco Unified School District. She is enormously talented, passionate and dedicated to an equitable start for Oakland kids. Carla is a friend and colleague. She and I will work together through my transition and in the years to come. Carla’s first day at the Foundation is September 18. She will be part-time, transitioning to full-time by March 2018.
And, she will have an exceptional team. We are a small but mighty group here at the Rainin Foundation. Many of you know and love our education staff: Paula, Karen, Lisa, Emily and Emily. SEEDS of Learning founder Kate Horst will also continue her work in Oakland. An enormous thank you to Kate for making Oakland her home away from home these past few years.
I want Oakland to be a better place to be a young child, where the teachers and families who care for children each day feel they can flourish, too. I hope the Rainin Foundation can continue to count on you in our efforts to improve the lives of Oakland’s youngest students.
Thank you for your support and for helping me learn so much over these past four years.
Director, Education Strategy & Ventures