Closing the Gap: Challenges and Possibilities in Public Education


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Super Stars Literacy was proud to host its first ever education forum:”Closing the Gap: Challenges and Possibilities in Public Education.”

Rhonnel Sotelo, Executive Director of the Rogers Family Foundation, noted, “I hope to see more of this type of galvanizing leadership from Super Stars Literacy. Bringing their community, supporters, and partners together will deepen collective partnership to advance literacy for our earliest learners.”

With support from our host Guidestar, we dialogued and debated with a range of committed education advocates including:

Rhonnel Sotelo, Executive Director, Rogers Family Foundation
Taison Kwamilele, Director of Communication and Education Liaison, Congresswoman Barbara Lee
David Silver, Director of Education, Office of the Mayor, Oakland
Sanam Jorjani, Co-Director of the Oakland Literacy Coalition

The panelists emphasized repeatedly the importance of continuing and deepening conversation and collaboration among community advocates, particularly in regarding anticipated declines in federal funding.

Taison Kwamilele emphasized that even with all the challenges facing the schools in Oakland, there are numerous student success stories that should be celebrated and noted. David Silver noted the possibilities of public-private partnerships to inspire and create deeper opportunities for students. Sanam Jorjani emphasized the importance of collaboration in response to perceived scarcity. She notes, “If we pit issues and causes against one another, we will all lose. We need to create a narrative that is inclusive and responsive.”

Jasmine Marrow, Director of Non-Profit Strategy noted, “SuperStars Literacy continues to inspire and educate us. As GuideStar becomes a part of the Oakland nonprofit  community we’re excited to share our resources and open our doors to organizations as impactful as SSL.”

The door prize, a special raffle of Rock Wall Wine, was one by Marcus Varela of AAA.

A special thanks to the College Prep Hot Jazz Quartet for their musical support and Cafe Gabriella for delicious food!