The Oakland Fund Human Capital Strategy Development: Making Oakland a Magnet for Talent

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The Oakland Fund Human Capital Strategy Development: Making Oakland a Magnet for Talent

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Title: The Oakland Fund Human Capital Strategy Development: Making Oakland a Magnet for Talent
Author: Fields, Marcus Jamal
Citation: Fields, Marcus Jamal. 2015. The Oakland Fund Human Capital Strategy Development: Making Oakland a Magnet for Talent. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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Abstract: How best can NewSchools Venture Fund, “a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm working to transform public education for low-income children” (NewSchools Venture Fund, 2014), make investments which result in making Oakland K-12 schools a magnet for high quality educator talent? At all levels of the education ecosystem, from systems level leaders to the teachers in every classroom, human capital is the single most significant factor in influencing educational outcomes for learners (Childress S. , Elmore, Grossman, & King, 2007). Human capital is a system. It includes the people who do the work, the efforts to attract them to the system, the efforts to develop their skills and practices once they are in the system and the conditions that sustain them in the system over time.

Like other urban education systems across the nation Oakland struggles to attract, engage and sustain talent. The Oakland Fund, a division of NewSchools Venture Fund focused specifically on transforming the education ecosystem in Oakland, has identified three areas of investment intended to bring about Oakland’s education renaissance. The Oakland Fund’s investments seek to add 10,000 high quality seats, make Oakland a magnet for talent and build a coalition of engaged and active community organizations and leaders to drive the transformation (Oakland Fund Prospectus, 2014). My strategic project was to develop a credible and effective theory of action and strategy for making Oakland a magnet for talent.

This capstone focuses on how current research on human capital was contextualized to the Oakland education ecosystem and combined with stakeholder input to develop a theory of action to drive our investment strategy for greatest positive impact. The resultant product provides the Oakland Fund with a clear direction forward in the work of making Oakland a magnet for talent.

My approach to the leadership of this project and my ability to effectively adjust that approach to the organizational culture at NewSchools Venture Fund was key to the process of strategy development. It required shifting my frame of mind from that of a site leader, who was successful in transforming school culture because of my ability to get buy in through deep engagement of key stakeholders in all aspects of the work, to that of an Ed.L.D. resident leader expected to produce a credible human capital strategy for the Oakland Fund. Recognizing how different components of the process played out in terms of who needed to be involved in doing the work and how each team member engaged most effectively was key to the success of the project and the source of much of my own learning.
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