Oakland Unified keeps it local with superintendent finalist

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland has selected its new superintendent of schools -- Kyla Johnson-Trammell, a third-generation Oakland educator who has been in the district for 18 years.

RELATED: Oakland Unified School District selects new superintendent finalist

The school board made it a point to select someone local.

Reading to students is something Johnson-Trammell misses. A former teacher and principal in Oakland, she's been in the district for nearly two decades.

When asked why she was selected, she offers kids this explanation, "I would say just lots of hard work over the years, staying focused on education, believing in myself."

Naming someone who is local seems to be the trend among some of the larger urban school districts in the Bay Area. San Francisco Unified recently did the same.

The last superintendent was hired from another district and left before finishing his three-year contract.

"After the cadre of corporate carpet baggers left us in the lurch -- what we need is stability," said Trish Gorham of the Oakland Education Association.

School board members wanted someone that would remain in Oakland for years to come.

"She is going to be that person who models for young people inside of our district what it means to be from Oakland, what it means to get an education," said Jumoke Hinton-Hodge, an Oakland Unified School Board member.

In the past few years, the 41-year-old has been in administrative positions and most recently served as the deputy superintendent.

Now, the district faces a budget deficit of between $8 and $10 million left behind by the previous superintendent. Next year, that deficit is expected to be higher.

"As we make tough decisions, we are really employing the value of keeping students first and keeping cuts away from schools," Johnson-Trammell told ABC7 News.

She says she'll spend time listening and building relationships.

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