Square Pizza Podcast

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The Square Pizza podcast focuses on the intersection of education, innovation, and diversity. We host and interview leaders doing incredible work around the country to ensure all students have access to an equitable education. The Square Pizza podcast is hosted by SchermCo, a social-impact implementation firm that offers strategic implementation and project management services to schools and education-focused organizations across the country.

Welcome back to another episode of the #squarepizzapod. This week, Greg is in conversation with Ali Medina, Executive Director of the Oakland Public Education Fund. The Oakland Public Education Fund is a nonprofit that leads the development of community resources in Oakland public schools so that all students can learn, grow, and thrive.

In this episode:

  • Current Role, Executive Director, Oakland Public Education Fund
    • Started in April of 2020
  •  Core aspects / programs of the Oakland Public Education Fund
  • Fiscal sponsor for OUSD
    • Raising and managing $20M to support innovative initiatives
  • Professional Background
  • Future Work
    • What initiatives does the organization envision to advance and improve the educational environment for students in Oakland public schools?

Ali Medina has served as the Executive Director of the Oakland Public Education Fund (Ed Fund) since April 2020. She has led the agency through two major campaigns, the COVID-19 Rapid Relief Campaign and #OaklandUndivided. The COVID-19 campaign raised over $3M for food security, distance learning, healthy schools, and direct aid to families. As a lead founding partner in #OaklandUndivided, the Ed Fund serves as the fiscal sponsor of this city-wide campaign to close the digital divide. #OU raised $13M in its first round and provided 25,000 students in Oakland public schools with computers and internet access.

Previously, Ali spent eight years as the Senior Director of Programs at a community-based education organization in Oakland working with secondary students and building a new preschool. She created, designed, and implemented community school programming at four Oakland high schools to build career pathways and is an expert in using data to drive improvement.

She began her career at the forefront of after-school program development and was a statewide leader in the Healthy Schools movement. She served as an After School Services Administrator for five years, administering over $4M in state and federal grant-funded programs and intervention services.

Ali graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a BA in History focusing on Ethnic Studies and earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Cal State East Bay.