OUSD board appoints member of mayor’s staff to fill Gonzales’ seat
on June 30, 2022
The Oakland Unified School District board selected Kyra Mungia, the deputy director of education for the mayor’s office, as the provisional District 6 director Wednesday.
Mungia won the seat against eight other applicants in a 4-2 vote during a special board meeting, with directors Mike Hutchinson and VanCedric Willaims voting no. She replaces Shanthi Gonzales, who abruptly resigned in May, and will hold the appointment until Gonzales’ term expires on Jan 2. An election for the four-year seat will take place in November.
Mungia previously worked in OUSD as a kindergarten and first grade teacher at Horace Mann Elementary School. In her application for the board seat, Mungia said that as a teacher she witnessed inequalities for students in OUSD and wants to work toward a system that serves all students.
“My vision for Oakland education is one where every student, no matter their background or circumstance, can thrive regardless of race or other common predictors of disparity,” she said in her application.
Mungia recently made the 2021 Forbes 30 under 30 education list for her fundraising work on the Oakland Undivided campaign, which was focused on securing internet access for students and laptops for online learning during the pandemic. While Mungia has notable experience in education and has lived in District 6 for two years, several community members, including other applicants, said they felt she did not adequately represent the East Oakland district.
“I knew this board was not going to choose a parent, was not going to choose someone from the community,” said Kim Davis, an OUSD parent and applicant for the District 6 seat. “I believe that this district should be represented by a Latina and someone who is not running for the position in the fall. And someone who will represent this community in a way that director Gonzales never did.”
“It’s really a disappointing day that the four of you voted for the establishment,” said Joel Velasquez, also an OUSD parent and applicant for the District 6 seat. “You had other viable candidates from D6 that represented the community.”
Gonzales resigned after serving over seven years on the board. Her resignation came three months after her vote in favor of controversial school closures, a decision that has sparked protests, rallies, a hunger strike and a sit-in that has continued more than a month after the end of the school year.
Gonzales published a statement about her resignation on her blog — which has since been taken down and subsequently republished on several education websites. Gonzales said the school board was unable to meet student needs, adequately prepare students and effectively manage its meetings. Gonzales also said the community’s response to decisions they disagreed with was inappropriate, claiming that intimidation and harassment from community members stifled the democratic process.
“If we don’t find healthier ways to disagree, there will not be anyone willing to serve in this district who is actually willing to take on the persistent, difficult challenges that are undermining our ability to serve students better,” Gonzales said in the post.
(Featured photo of Kyra Mungia, courtesy of City of Oakland)
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