Brian Köhn, Executive Director
Mr. Köhn joined OSA as Executive Director in December 2016 with over ten years of school leadership experience. Prior to joining OSA, he spent three years as Principal of the School of the Arts (SOTA) in San Francisco Unified School District where he led research involving team visits to arts schools around the country. This work resulted in the development of new Asawa SOTA programs in World Dance, Spoken Word, and Architecture and Design. He also introduced two new Career Technical Education programs to the school in Theater Tech and Architecture and Design. Mr. Köhn holds a degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati, a Bachelor of Music in Education from San Francisco State University and an Administrative Credential from the California State University at San Marcos.
Phillip Gedeon, Chief Academic Officer
Mr. Gedeon arrives at Oakland School of the Arts with over 13 years of experience at the district and state level in public schools, including a number of high-performing charter public schools. His strengths and expertise include but are not limited to: implementing common core standards in all subjects, designing and facilitating highly effective professional development, instructional coaching of teachers, data-driven instruction, and increasing graduation rates. He most recently served on Synergy's leadership team as the Director/Principal of Synergy Quantum Academy in Los Angeles.
Staci Smith, Principal
Ms. Smith earned her teaching credential from California State University of Hayward in 2004. She entered the education world after a short assignment teaching high school math and Algebra in 1993 prior to the birth of her son. Prior to teaching, she worked for over 15 years in the banking industry in Operations Management, Client Technical Support and Cash Management Sales working for Mellon Bank, The Bank of California and Silicon Valley Bank. She is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, GA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
Mike Oz, Assistant Principal
With his rich family history in the arts in Oakland, Mr. Oz has a strong sense of pride in being part of the OSA community that he first joined as a middle school teacher in 2006. Mr. Oz earned both his master's degree in education and his multiple subject teaching credential from UC Santa Cruz in 2004 and spent time in the classroom teaching Special Education, Mathematics, and Science. Mr. Oz's commitment to creating a welcoming school culture and supportive educational experience for all students led him to be part of the leadership team in 2009 where he currently focuses on student support services and Linked Learning Pathway development.
Matthew Travisano, Artistic Director
Mr. Travisano is in his eighth year at OSA and holds the positions of Artistic Director and chair of the Theatre program. Previous to his arrival, he taught arts and academics at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco. He has been an actor, director, and playwright, and arts educator in the Bay Area for the better part of two decades. He holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley where he specialized in the study of poetry and drama during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in England. He completed graduate work and earned his teaching certification at San Francisco State University and holds single-subject credentials in English, Social Science, and Career Technical Education (Theatre). While at OSA, he has developed artistic and community partnerships with Crowded Fire Theatre, Ubuntu Theatre Project, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, Theatre of Yugen, and many others. He has also worked as an education consultant with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, leveraging his backgrounds in both art history and secondary education. He lives in San Francisco with his partner Wade.
Michaela Peters, Director of Admissions
Ms. Peters was born in Munich, Germany and has lived in the Bay Area since 1993. She studied textile design at the Textilfachschule in Sindelfingen, Germany and received her MFA from California College for the Arts specializing in textiles. Committed to public service, she has held administrative positions at the San Francisco Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and California College of the Arts. She also worked independently on several projects with Rhodessa Jones and the Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, an award-winning performance workshop committed to incarcerated women’s personal and social transformation. Prior to joining OSA in 2006, she taught for California College for the Arts, Academy of Art University, Richmond Art Center and in a multitude of schools and afterschool programs throughout the Bay Area.
Kathryn Keslosky, Director of Advancement
Ms. Keslosky joined the Oakland School for the Arts staff as Director of Advancement in late 2012. At OSA, Kathryn leads the Advancement team, working to create and maintain sustainable revenue streams via strategic fundraising. She has many years of working in community and program development for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. She applies these experiences toward a distinct fundraising philosophy based in the motivation to grow a culture of philanthropy. Kathryn holds a B.A. in Literature from Villanova University, has studied Organizational and Behavioral Systems Design with the Green MBA, and Horticulture with Merritt College.
Christian Patz, Director of Special Education
Dr. Patz joined OSA as Director of Special Education in July 2016 with over fifteen years working with students with disabilities. Prior to joining OSA, he spent three years as the Assistant Director of Special Education for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. He won the Community Day School Network as a Portrait of Success Award teaching reading and earned the National Association of Special Education Professionals Board Certification while teaching math. Dr. Patz did his undergraduate work at San Francisco State University and earned his credential, Master’s in Special Education, and Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Policy Studies from the California State University Sacramento.
Lori Cheatham, Director of Operations
Prior to joining OSA, Ms. Cheatham worked for 21 years for the Employee Benefits Practice of an insurance brokerage firm in San Francisco. Her positions included Vice President of Compliance, Vice President of Client Services, Practice Manager and Account Manager. Responsibilities included analyzing state and federal legislation, writing and reviewing contracts, assisting clients with compliance issues and client services and managing the service team. She also studied ballet since the age of 7 and has performed with the Adult Division of Berkeley Ballet Theater, Showalter Academy of Dance, and the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. As an active photographer she has exhibited in Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Chicago. The combination of a business background, degree in Theatre Arts, experience as a dancer, and activity in the photographic community provide a well-rounded understanding of the day to day business and artistic needs in supporting OSA and our students. She holds a Bachelor's in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz.
David Smith, Director of Technology
Mr. Smith has been working in Information Technology since 1987. David joined OSA in its first year. He is excited to be working with the OSA community to design an effective, reliable, and innovative technology infrastructure that supports OSA in all areas. He holds a B.A from Earlham College.
Romy Douglass, Director of Data & Special Projects
Ms. Douglass joined OSA in 2015 and currently serves at the Director of Data and Special Projects. She has over twenty years of experience in the corporate world, having previously served as Operations Manager for PagePoint Web Solutions, Assistant Operations Manager for Gap Inc Corporate Sales, and Chief Operations Officer for Point Systems, a custom software company geared toward the biotech industry. Additionally, she has worked as a professional costume designer for local companies such as West Edge Opera, the Curran Theater, The Crucible, and YMTC, and holds a BS in Fashion Design from Florida State University. She began working at OSA as a sewing instructor in the Fashion Design emphasis, and is the proud mom of a current OSA Theater student and an OSA Production Design graduate. Ms. Douglass attended a performing arts magnet high school much like OSA and is perpetually thrilled by the energy and passion of our students.