Sam Offenberg ’14
Sam was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He attended Grinnell College, receiving a bachelor of arts in political science in 2014. Sam’s first job in education was in St. Paul working as a special education aide at a charter school serving predominantly immigrant and minority families. Next up was a commitment to teach for two years in Oakland public schools and an open mind to stick around the classroom for the long haul. While earning a “clear” special education teaching credential at night, Sam taught Special Education math, science and life skills classes for a year before working as a resource specialist for two years in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. Both positions were at the middle school level, an age group Sam feels incredibly strong about given their fresh insight and opportunity to be positively influenced as they reach young adulthood. This year Sam accepted a new opportunity with Oakland Unified, trading his caseload of 35 students to serve as an instructional coach, responsible for 40 special education teachers at six middle schools and one 6-to-12 school which serve a combined general education student population of over 2,700 students including more than 500 students receiving special education services. In 2017, Sam completed a master of arts in urban education with a concentration in policy and administration from Loyola Marymount University. His master’s thesis was titled, ”The Role of Complex Trauma in Special Education and Overrepresentation of Students from Historically Disadvantaged Populations: A Case Study of a Large, Urban School District.” Languages and culture have always interested Sam, one of his favorite things about working in Oakland schools is the opportunity to speak Spanish, Arabic and English all in the same work day.