Typically, we talk mostly about the folks we are endorsing — not those we aren’t. But we’ve received questions about why we chose to endorse Huber Trenado for the District 5 School Board seat and not Rosie Torres, even though we endorsed her in 2012.
We understand Rosie Torres to be well-intentioned and to care about kids. But she has not lived up to the most basic expectations for presence, engagement, and accessibility that we believe Oaklanders deserve in a School Board Director. And with a candidate in the District 5 race — Huber Trenado — who offers a deep understanding of the public schools and enormous passion for the work, our coalition of families, educators and community members felt the choice was clear.
First, about Rosie. In Rosie’s four years as the District 5 School Board Director, she missed at least 12 meetings and was late to at least 39. That means that Rosie was late or absent to at least 33% of the school board meetings while she was in office. While attendance at School Board meetings isn’t the only thing that makes a School Board Director great, it is a reflection of minimum commitment to the huge responsibility of serving on the School Board.
GO is deeply invested in Oakland’s most underserved communities. We work, year in and year out, with families and educators, particularly in Oakland’s highest-needs schools. As we prepared to make our endorsements this year, we listened to those communities. What we heard from those families and educators is that Rosie has not been available to answer their concerns, which together with her lack of presence at board meetings to advocate on their behalf, is unacceptable.
Fortunately, we have a truly excellent candidate running for District 5 this year: Huber Trenado. Huber knows Oakland’s public schools because he attended them and teaches in them. His experience amply demonstrates his passion to help Oakland’s students and teachers — including his efforts to help teachers find housing they can afford. His energy and effort is seemingly limitless — we feel confident he’ll be a consistently available to listen to the community, a reliable presence on our school board, and a powerful voice for what matters.
Huber is a first generation Mexican-American who grew up in East Oakland. He overcame housing instability, the deportation of a parent, poverty, and all the other obstacles of growing up in a low-income neighborhood, to graduate from OUSD’s MetWest High School.
He was the first in his family to go college. After graduating from UC Berkeley, he returned to Oakland to give back to his community. As a teacher at Lazear Charter Academy, Huber is an inspiration to his students and living proof that even the most difficult circumstances can be overcome.
We know what Huber is all about. He has a proven record of being available to, and going above-and-beyond for, those he serves. Many people in our community, including Mayor Libby Schaaf and Councilmember Noel Gallo, have known Huber since he was a student spending his free time organizing workshops to help teachers secure affordable housing. We’ve seen his work ethic and we’ve seen his dedication to serving his community. He understands, firsthand, the needs of Oakland’s students and teachers. When it’s time to get things done for Oakland students, we know Huber will be there. That’s why we’re endorsing Huber Trenado for District 5.