skip to main content

Oakland School for the Arts

Oakland School for the Arts

Meet The Executive Director

mike oz

mike oz

We celebrated OSA’s 20th anniversary during the 2022-23 academic year.  It was both an opportunity to celebrate 2 decades of innovative arts education as a public charter school that is tuition free to students in grades 6 to 12.  The anniversary also provided an opportunity to reflect on the sustainability of OSA for the coming decades and programs, facilities, and funding that we need to continue to build.
For the 2023-24 academic year our theme is ‘Metamorphosis.’  Together, we will be exploring themes of transformation, evolution, growth, and the natural generative process that is inherent in all aspects of life, creativity, Academics, and the Arts.
Highlighted within the theme of Metamorphosis are 4 phases which coincide with the four stages of the metamorphic process and our four quarters during the school year. The four phases are:
  • Q1: Generate
  • Q2: Expand
  • Q3: Transform
  • Q4: Blossom
We are inviting OSA students to reflect on their own metamorphosis as scholars and artists and how arts training is shaping their growth and journey.  Likewise, now in our 21st year, OSA has graduates who are well into their 30s.  We will also be inviting alumni to share how integrated arts training while at OSA has shaped how they have shown up in their communities and careers.
My Own Metamorphosis
With a multi-generational family history in the Oakland arts community, I have a strong sense of pride as a long standing member of the OSA team. Soon after joining OSA in 2006, I made a commitment to ensuring an inviting school culture and equitable educational experience for all students.  I started as a member of the leadership team in 2009 serving for 6 years as Dean of Students, 6 years as Principal, and have been in the role of Executive Director since February of 2022.
Through each of these roles my focus has been on developing pathways that provide career and college preparation for all OSA students. I feel strongly that art should not be optional and I am humbled by the opportunity to ensure OSA students bring the essential value of the arts into the career paths of their choosing.
Strategic Plan Financial Years 2024 to 2026
As a part of OSA’s continuing metamorphosis, it is time for 10 to 20-year thinking.  Our OSA community has recently completed a 3 year strategic plan which will serve as a roadmap to ensure OSA further develops as an important fixture in Oakland. The plan outlines initiatives and detailed metrics aligned with each of these three pillars:
  • Joyful School
  • Creative Career Preparation
  • The OSA - and Oakland - Way
The plan can be viewed here.
Key initiatives for the 23-24 school year include the following:
  • Identifying a long-term sustainable facilities plan that can support OSA students for generations to come.
  • Developing OSA’s first dedicated outdoor space in the vacant lot at 1911 Telegraph with the OSA Uptown Art Park. This will also be the home of Cloud Park, where Oakland youth culture will be uplifted and OSA students who are no longer with us will be remembered.
  • Strengthening partnerships with the greater Oakland community. As a proud Oaklander, I aim for OSA’s impact to reach beyond that of the OSA students. All youth benefit from exposure to specialized arts education.
  • Bringing visibility to OSA’s impact and programming to the greater Bay Area. This includes seeking corporate support of OSA’s operational costs.
Implementation will take intention, collaboration and focus. I invite you to join us in building the next iteration of Oakland School for the Arts - a vibrant, resilient, creative community, set to serve many future generations of young artists.
Mike Oz
Executive Director