Weekly Communication May 30, 2019

Hi all,

Welcome to the fourth installment of our ULF communication. This week, we’re excited to share more about the policy projects and highlight the work of a partner organization. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. If you haven't yet secured housing for the summer, please do so ASAP (and feel free to use the housing exchange).

Content: Policy Projects

With the summer rapidly approaching, we’re excited to update you on the status of the 2019 policy projects. We met with David Silver, Kyra Mungia, and Maggie Croushore and we’ve identified the 4-5 policy projects you’ll work on this summer.

  • Oakland Promise

  • Educator Housing

  • Teacher Recruitment & Retention

  • Making Oakland an Educator Friendly City

  • Improving Charter and District Relationships

In the next few weeks, we’ll share more details about these projects, answer questions, and then have a process for determining the policy teams and which projects you will work on.

Culture: Highlighting a Partner Organization

As we get closer to the summer, we hope you’re getting excited for the incredible work you’ll be doing with David, Kyra, Maggie, and the rest of Mayor Schaaf’s team. Equally as important to your policy work is the opportunity to spend half of your time working alongside a local organization that is doing impactful work in our community. You’ll get the chance to learn about and hear from many of our partner organizations, but today, I want to highlight one entity we’re thrilled to be working with:

Akonadi Foundation


Akonadi Foundation’s mission is to support the development of powerful social change movements to eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society.


To transform the climate in Oakland to one of compassion, respect, and dignity for youth and young people of color. Using an ecosystem grantmaking lens, Akonadi supports and nurtures grassroots organizing, culture shift, and policy changes that build Oakland’s racial justice movement.

Since its founding in 2000, the Foundation has given over 1,600 grants totaling $35 million to nonprofit organizations, primarily in the Bay Area but also across the country. We envision a world where youth and young adults of color are:

  • treated with compassion, dignity, and respect in schools and in community life;

  • valued as community members and assets to the city; and

  • assured of the support and opportunities they need to heal from harm, to become leaders, and to learn and grow.

Project with ULF

The ULF fellow working with Akonadi will conduct an impact analysis of Akonadi’s 2019 Racial Justice Projects, co-create communication tools for a new funding direction, and research a potential advocacy arm of Akonadi.


Communicating with Partner Orgs:

If you haven’t already heard from potential partner organizations about interviewing, expect to hear from them soon!

While we know you’re all professionals, we want to highlight a few reminders:

  1. Please be hyper responsive. The partner organizations are the hiring managers (and contribute to your stipend) so please be sure to respond to requests for interviews in a timely fashion (within 24 hours).

  2. Accept all interviews. Even if you aren’t sure about the fit – or have another interview – we encourage you to accept all interviews to learn about the organization.

  3. As a reminder, when we notify you that you've been matched with an organization, if you decide to decline this match, we will still work with you to be placed, but we cannot guarantee you a position with a paid stipend. Therefore, we encourage you to be in touch with us if you have any concerns about your match.

  4. Over Communicate. When in doubt, let us know! We’ll be in touch with you in the next few weeks to share which organizations you’d prefer to work with.

Also, be sure to check out our website (password: oakland) as we’ve made some updates!


Rachel and Mary

Weekly Communication May 23, 2019

Hi Everyone, 

Welcome to the third installment of our ULF communication. This week, we’re excited to highlight one of our amazing alumni, and share with you a “day in the life” and “week in the life” to help shape your understanding of the weeks ahead. We've also attached notes

from last night's call for those of you who weren't able to connect. Read on for all of this information. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions. 

Don’t forget to continue to be responsive to partner organizations as they reach out and to secure your housing for the summer over the next two weeks (May 27th-June 7th). For details on both of these items, see the last two communications we shared and the attached notes.

Culture: ULF Alumni

If we haven’t told you already, we have an incredibly talented group of alumni across the country. From starting nonprofits to working for the department of Education, clerking for the Court of Appeals and holding elected office, our alumni are some of the most influential young leaders in the fields of education, law, policy, politics, advocacy, organizing and nonprofit leadership. You’ll get the chance to meet more of our alumni throughout the summer, but until then, we want to highlight one of our alumni from the 2018 summer cohort.

Oakland Region: Eric Ding

Eric Ding is currently the College and Career Readiness Specialist at Madison Park Academy. His duty is to ensure that all seniors have a concrete post-secondary plan that fits their career aspirations and that all high schoolers at the site engage in not only a college-going culture, but a future-oriented one. His schedule varies day to day, including meetings at the district office, conferences with students and families, partnering with outside organizations, college applications, financial aid support, and a myriad of other administrative tasks required by the school site. Long-term, Ding is planning on becoming a school leader and creating a microcosm of transformational educational practices that will lead to larger implications at a higher level.

Logistics: A Day in the Life, A Week in the Life

Curious about what your fellowship experience will look like? Check out this example calendar below for a sample week. We know that every week won’t look like this, but here’s a good sense of what you can expect on one of our busier weeks! Please let me know if you have questions about this. Our Regional Calendar will go live the week prior the fellowship!

Many thanks, 

Mary & Rachel

Weekly Communication May 16, 2019


Welcome to the second installment of our ULF communication. This week, we’re excited to help you get to know each other through short bios and let you know about a kick-off phone call we’re hosting to answer your many questions. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions.

Content: Collaboration Pre-Reading

In the weeks leading up to the fellowship, we’ll be sharing a few different resources and readings. More to come in the next few weeks!

Culture: Meet your team!

Take a few minutes to check out the bios of our fellows and staff (password is oakland) so you get to know our team.

Also, feel free to check out the ULF National Facebook page that connects you to all of the fellows from around the nation (request to join & they’ll approve you!). As a reminder, if you haven't already, please accept the invite to join the Oakland 2019 ULF listserv.

Logistics: Kick-Off Phone Call

Based on the emails coming in, we know you have a lot of questions! For that reason, we will be hosting a kick off phone call on Thursday, May 23rd, at 6:30pm PST to answer your questions and proactively share information on what to expect with partner organizations, policy projects and more. Even if you don’t have any questions yourself, you may find it helpful to listen to the questions of others. We’ll send a calendar invite, but we’ll use the following call-in number: 712-775-7031 Access Code: 845048#.

Action Items:

Housing and Follow-up

Many of you have begun the search for housing, but for those who haven’t, this is a gentle reminder that – while we’re here to help – it’s up to you to secure housing for the summer. Please utilize this housing exchange as well as craigslist, Airbnb & other connections. Let us know if you have any questions about this.

Also, if you haven’t already, please place your bio, headshot & updated resume in this shared folder and complete your partner org skills survey by Friday, May 17th.


Rachel and Mary

Weekly Communication May 9, 2019

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Welcome to the first installment of our weekly communication and your ULF Oakland website. In each communication, we’ll cover: Content [info you’ll need to read/know for your fellowship experience], Culture [getting to know each other and your city], and Logistics [the important information to support your transition to ULF]. The expectation is that you read through the communication, and follow up with us, your regional directors, with any questions. You can reach us at rachel@urbanleadersfellowship.org and mary@urbanleadersfellowship.org.  Additionally, we’ll always call out specific action items if there are any things we need you to do to ensure a smooth transition. We can’t wait to see you in just a handful of weeks!

PS - take a minute to click around our regional website a bit. We’ll use it all summer, and it’ll have things like: bios, resources, our fellowship calendar, communications and more. Please bookmark the site so you can find it easily. The password for the site is “oakland”. We’ll house everything we share via email on this site for easy retrieval. FYI -The website is a little clunky (you'll have to login as you navigate various pages). We are working to make the user experience smoother for you.

Content: Welcome to Oakland

We can’t wait to welcome you to Oakland in a few short weeks. The summer is one of the best times here, and we have no doubt you’ll fall in love with Oakland if you don’t already know and love it! To help introduce you to the city, we’ve included some links below. Enjoy and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions!

“Get to know us first”: Longtime residents reflect on Oakland’s transformation

Culture: Oakland Email Listserv

To help us get to know each other better, and to make communication easier, we’ve set up a google email listserv. If you haven’t already, you should be receiving an invitation to join this group. Please accept as we’ll utilize the listserv to plan everything from finding roommates/housing (if needed) to planning excursions and sharing relevant information. Also, please feel free to utilize the listserv to get to know each other, ask questions, and find resources as you’d like!

Logistics: Housing exchange, & partner org hiring process

Housing Exchange: In order to help facilitate a transition to Oakland for those of you currently living out of town, ULF has set up a “housing exchange” to help you identify and secure low-cost housing. It should be noted that you are ultimately responsible for securing your own housing, so we suggest that you also utilize personal connections (if applicable), Craigslist/AirBnB and any other resources at your disposal. If you are interested in using the housing exchange, you can find it here. On this exchange, we’ve provided access to local facebook groups with housing opportunities and friends and partners of ULF will list their apartments / rooms available for rent during the summer. Things have been added since last week, so take a look. We want to get a sense of how many of you are looking for housing, so we added a question in the partner org survey below. Please be sure to reach out if you need our support with housing.

Partner org hiring process: We have already confirmed the majority of our partner organizations for the summer, where you’ll spend your mornings working on mission-critical projects. Soon, you will start to hear from partner organizations who are interested in hiring you. In order to facilitate a smooth process, we’ve added some information here:

  1. Partner Organizations make decisions (Not ULF): Because partner organizations are the ones who design the project, and pay your salary, they are the ones who make the final hiring decision. While we will work with them to ensure that they are connected with fellows who are a good match for what skills and experiences they need, we do not directly place any fellows.

  2. Partner Organizations will receive resumes, and determine who they would like to interview. Some POs may just want to offer you a position, while others may request one or more interviews before making an offer. Please accept all interviews within 24 hours of being contacted.

  3. If you are offered a position by a PO and you’re excited about it, please respond within 24 hours of the offer being made, and accept it! If you are offered a position and you’re concerned about the fit, please reach out to us immediately before declining an offer. If you choose to decline an offer, ULF cannot guarantee that you will get another paid offer from a partner organization, so we do not recommend that you do so. If you choose to decline, we will continue to support you in getting hired, but you may not be eligible for a paid position, so please keep that in mind.

  4. Finally, please operate with a sense of urgency and respect with these partners. Many of them have worked closely with ULF & with David Silver and Mayor Schaaf for many years, so please remember you’re representing our organization in your interactions here. Please refrain from reaching out to partner organizations directly; they have access to all resumes and will reach out if they are interested in speaking with you.

Our goal is to have all fellows hired by June 1st; however, it’s common to have fellows hired closer to the start of the fellowship.

Action Items for May 17th:

  1. Place your bio and headshot & updated resume in this shared folder

  2. Complete your partner org skills survey

In order to get to know each other (and facilitate hiring with partner organizations), we need your short bio and headshot (it doesn’t have to be by a professional photographer, but please ensure you’re comfortable with external and internal partners seeing it) and an updated resume by May 17, 2019.

In addition to your bio, headshot & resume, we also need you to take 5-10 minutes between now & May 17th to complete this partner org survey. We’ll share your answers with partner organizations to help them make informed hiring decisions. Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions, concerns, or feedback.

Many thanks,

Mary Padden and Rachel Williams

Weekly Communication May 2, 2019

Hello 2019 Oakland ULF Fellows!

We are Rachel Williams and Mary Padden and we’re excited to serve as your 2019 Co-Regional Directors in Oakland!

A little about us:

Mary is from Seattle, Washington and moved to Southern California to attend Pomona College. In 2011, she began teaching in Oakland public schools as a resource specialist and a special day class teacher. In 2015, she transitioned to work in the Office of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf where she was a Program Manager and later served as the Project Director of the Kindergarten to College program. Next fall, Mary will begin a PhD program in education policy at UCLA to study the impacts of institutional racism on education including discipline, special education, and school segregation.

Rachel is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She relocated to the Bay Area to begin doctoral studies in education policy at UC Berkeley in 2016. Prior to this transition, Rachel worked at Illinois Action for Children in the public policy and advocacy department as the project manager for the launch of the Sylvia Cotton Center for Policy Innovation and served as the committee staffer for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Early Childhood Workforce Development Task Force. In her work she studies the political, economic, and historical forces shaping the direction of market-based education reforms in U.S. Southern contexts. She is a proud alum of ULF and continues her commitment to bridging policy, practice, and research. Rachel earned a BA from Dillard University and a MPP from Vanderbilt University.

ULF Updates:

We also wanted to provide you some additional updates on this summer:

Elected Official

You will be working in the Office of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and specifically with the Director of Education for the City of Oakland, David Silver.

Partner Organizations

We’re working on getting partner orgs lined up. Once details on partner orgs are finalized, we'll send an email updating you on the partner organizations we've secured and what the interview/on-boarding process will look like for the orgs. This will happen in May.

ULF Space

During our seven weeks together, we will be meeting at Oakland City Hall (1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA) and at the Oakland Promise office (1000 Broadway, Oakland, CA).

Housing Logistics

Here is a link to the google spreadsheet we'll be updating with opportunities to sublease in Oakland this summer. As you can see, it's blank for now but we'll be working over the next several weeks to populate it with info of individuals who are looking to sublease a room in the Oakland area. I'd also recommend you keep an eye out on Craigslist, etc. for other opportunities to find a place to sublease. If you need recommendations on where to live, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We’re more than happy to help with recommendations on where would be best given where we'll be working, etc.

Transitional Funding

A need-based scholarship is available from ULF (up to $500) to alleviate financial burden during the 7-week period. The application was sent to you this week and must be filled out by May 10th. By the end of May, you should receive a status update regarding the scholarship and the amount from ULF.


The final Oakland cohort will be solidified in early May. Once we have finalized all Oakland fellows, we will be sending additional communication related to programming, etc.

Again, we're excited to work with you and look forward to being in communication as more details are solidified. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.


Rachel Williams and Mary Padden