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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Oakland Unified School DistrictCandidate for School Director, Trustee Area 4

Photo of Gary D. Yee

Gary D. Yee

Oakland Educator
14,534 votes (58.9%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Adopt a fair and balanced multi-year budget that reflects board-adopted policy priorities
  • Recruit and retain effective teachers for every school.
  • Ensure high-quality schools in every neighborhood



Profession:teacher, principal, superintendent
Commissioner, Measure N Oversight Commission — Appointed position (2017–current)
Interim Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District (2013–2014)
Director, District Four, Oakland Unified School District — Elected position (2002–2013)
Vice Chancellor, Peralta Community College District (2005–2008)
Chair Education Dept, Holy Names University (2000–2005)
Site Administrator, Oakland Unified School District (1985–1990)


Stanford University Ed.D. Administration and Policy Analysis, Educational Policy and Leadership (1996)
California State University East Bay Masters, Public Adminstration (1977)
University of California, Berkeley Bachelor's, Philosophy (1966)
Castlemont High School high school diploma (1962)

Community Activities

Member and Elder, College Avenue Presbyterian Church (2011–current)
Member, Kiwanis Club of Oakland (2013–2017)
Board of Directors, Member, Linked Learning Alliance (2012–2015)
Member, Rotary Club of Oakland (2013–2015)


I have served in many capacities on behalf of Oakland residents through a forty year career in education.  I graduated from Castlemont HS in Oakland, then U.C. Berkeley.  I served for five years in the United States AirForce, during the Vietnam conflict.  I then taught elementary school and became a principal in OUSD 1973-1989.  I entered graduate school to obtain an Ed.D. from Stanford, became a professor at Boston College, St. Mary's, and Holy Names University, 1996-2005. I then served in the Peralta Community Colleges, 2005-2008, retiring as Vice Chancellor.  From 2002-2013, I was elected to the OUSD Board of Education, and was recruited by the Board to serve as its Interim Superintendent, 2013-2014.  

I have served on the board of directors for the Linked Learning Alliance, Faith Network of the East Bay, East Bay Asian Youth Center, Harbor House, and other small organizations.  I am an elder at College Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Mayor Libby Schaaf
  • District Four City Council Annie Campbell Washington
  • District Four School Board Member Nina Senn

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of Oakland (2)

Given Brown Act restrictions on School Board Directors’ methods for communicating with each other, what strategies will you use to build consensus for advocacy within your District and across others?
Answer from Gary D. Yee:

Brown Act is a very important set of protocols so that the public can have confidence in the transparency and accountability of public debate and deliberation.  Making sure that the residents in District Four have regular and reliable interaction with their elected official is critical, so I have in the past held monthly office hours at a local cafe; published reports in local journals and publications; and attended PTA and community engagement meetings on a regular basis.  When it comes to Board consensus, the priority is that Board members follow the established protocols and maintain confidentiality on closed meeting items, and open discussion only at open board meetings.  Consensus can be achieved by knowing the history of board member platforms and priorities, and adjusting policies to ensure that the legitimate interests that they represent are fairly included.

OUSD is facing serious financial challenges.  What experience do you have in finance and budgeting?
Answer from Gary D. Yee:

I ahve been a teacher and principal in OUSD for over 15 years, so I know that operational side of the budget very well.  In 2002, when I joined the board, we were told that there was a significant deficit that required a state loan.  As a board, we cut, cut, cut, and were still unable to meet the budget requirements, and were taken over in 2003.  I promised myself that I would stay on the board and see the district return to local control, and even though we were mostly advisory, six years later, I kept that promise.  We accomplished that by practicing board discipline, and hiring an effective superintendent.  While we presided during the Great Recession, and before LCFF, we nevertheless managed to stay out of fiscal danger by practicing careful budgeiting, increasing revenues and philanthropic support, and closing or consolidating schools.  When I became interim superintendent in 2013, I followed that same system, and I left with a 3% reserve for econiomic uncertainty, a 2million surplus, and a balanced budget.  It wasn't easy, and there were still structural deficits, but it is possible.  

Who gave money to this candidate?

To see who is funding campaigns in Oakland, visit Open Disclosure Oakland.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

As a lifelong Oakland parent, grandparent, educator, policymaker, including service on the OUSD school Board and as Interim Superintendent, my integrity has been the essential characteristic of my work.  My philosophy has been to study all sides of an issue carefully, to ask people on many sides of an issue to present their best arguments, to balance what is desirable with what is possible, and then to bring people together to create bold and pragmatic solutions to pressing fiscal and educational challenges. In all that I've done, I've practice integrity, transparency, and accountability; I've demonstrated that ability over my career,  for example, leading in the innovative and successful local Parcel Tax, College and Career for All, in 2014.

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