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Candidate for OUSD School Board Director - District 3

Van Cedric Williams

Van Cedric Williams

OUSD School Board Director

A lifelong public school teacher and organizer whose classes we wish we could audit



TL;DR: A lifelong public school teacher and organizer whose classes we wish we could audit


Van Cedric Williams has taught in the San Francisco Unified School District for 20 years, and he’s lived in Oakland for 10 years. He’s Treasurer for United Educators of San Francisco. After teaching middle school, he shifted to teaching high school ethnic studies, honors US history, AP government, geography, and “Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)".

Official Platform: Equity (with a solid plan to achieve it)

Van Cedric Williams’ platform focuses on three areas: 1) budget accountability, 2) full-service community schools, and 3) racial and social justice.

Like other candidates, Williams pledges to maintain trust by holding public meetings about OUSD’s budget. He also notes that public schools aren’t the only ones who should be transparent – he says “all schools receiving public money must be held accountable,” by which he also means charter schools.

Williams says he sees schools as hubs of the community that can provide healthcare, social, and emotional support. Part of this includes establishing “a culturally relevant curriculum” that would draw on his expertise in ethnic studies.

Williams also draws on his experience teaching children who were refugees from Sudan to note that schools need to be prepared to help students who bring trauma to school. He thinks OUSD can create an “equitable public education” by using a racial and social justice lens.

Notable Supporters

  • Rob Bonta, Assembly D18
  • Keith Carson, Alameda County Supervisor D5
  • Rebecca Kaplan, City Council At-Large
  • Aimee Eng, OUSD D2
  • Rosie Torres, OUSD D5
  • Shanthi Gonzales, OUSD D6
  • Oakland Education Association
  • SEIU 1021
  • AFSCME 57
  • Building and Construction Trades of Alameda
  • Alameda Labor Council
  • The Democratic Party of Alameda County (ACDEMS)
  • Oakland East Bay Democratic Club
  • Our Revolution- East Bay
  • Wellstone Dems
  • Educators for Democratic Schools
  • Oakland Rising Action
  • John George Dems
  • Bay Rising
  • Green Party
  • Sheila Jordan- Emeritus Alameda County Superintendent of Schools
  • Clarrisa Doutherd- Mother, Executive Director, Community Organizer
  • Noni Sessions- 3rd gen West Oakland, Executive Director, Grassroots Organizer
  • Janet Eberhart- UESF Area Rep / CFT-CCE Northern VP
  • Shamann Walton- SF Board of Supervisor
  • Alison Collins- SFUSD Board Commissioner
  • Stevon Cook-SFUSD Board Commissioner
  • Faauuga Molina-SFUSD Board Commissioner
  • Gabriela Lopez- SFUSD Board Commissioner


Main vibe: The teacher we wish we had. Williams says he’s “never met a child who can’t learn,” which truly melts our hearts.

Organizing bona fides vibes: Williams has a history of professional organizing activity that might prove relevant to OUSD’s financial issues. He was elected Treasurer of United Educators of San Francisco in 2018, has worked on a state level CTA union budget committee, and has frequently campaigned for regional and state improvements.

You can view the recorded candidate forums for this race here: