Our Featured Leaders are Early Childhood Community stakeholders who work to make Oakland smarter and stronger. They are parents/caregivers, providers, educators, and collaborators.
Christie Herrera, Oakland Unified School District
A special education teacher turned visionary leader in early childhood education, with over 17 years in various roles within Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), Christie has been unwavering in her pursuit of quality education for young learners.
Her focus on enriching the lives of young learners led to her most recent role as the Executive Director of Early Learning at OUSD, spearheading partnerships that aligned OUSD with the community. In this capacity, she oversaw preschool and transitional kindergarten programs, shaping enrollment, budgeting, staffing, and community outreach.
At the heart of Christie's leadership philosophy is a deep dedication to collaboration and community engagement, including her role as co-chair of the Oakland Starting Smart and Strong (OSSS) Lead Planning Team.
Now, she's ready to bring her expertise to new horizons as she takes on the role of Assistant Superintendent of Early Education at San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).
We recently talked with Christie about her experience working with OSSS and her impact fostering opportunities for countless children and families.
What are you most proud of about your work with Oakland Starting Smart and Strong? I’m most proud of having fostered collaboration and alignment, forging connections between education, healthcare, and community services, all aimed at increasing quality education for all young learners in the district.
How did your work make Oakland smarter and stronger? To be honest, working with OSSS made me smarter and stronger, not the other way around!
I listened to what families and communities told me they needed. The data wasn't just about numbers, it was real-life stories. Making support available and accessible to families and children requires that kind of collaboration.
What do you hope you’ll be able to accomplish as Assistant Superintendent of Early Education at SFUSD? My goal is to elevate and support the amazing work that's already underway in San Francisco's early education sector.
From my work with OSSS, I'll bring the valuable lessons of how to be a team player and effectively support complex systems.
What do you hope for Oakland in the future? I hope that the Early Learning department continues to thrive, that the investments in children and families make a positive impact, and that we serve and address the needs of our Oakland community.
What do you think you’ll miss most about OSSS? It is the people and the collaborative environment at OSSS that I will truly miss most. If you could ask our next featured leader one question, what would it be? For me, the most important question is: “What are you passionate about when working with children and families?"