Meet Our Teachers & Staff
I am the new Stip Sub at Fruitvale ElementarySchool. Originally an engineer, I eventually became a professional musician playing guitar, producing upcoming recording artists, and touring. You can find me under the name RebbeSoul. I also taught math, on and off for many years. Things I like to do are cycling, hiking, gardening, and I'm an avid reader.
Hello, I'm Ms. Jess, Fruitvale Elementary's mental health therapist. My passion is supporting students and families to better express their feelings and deal with the difficult situations in life. I grew up in the Bay Area and am grateful to call Oakland my home. You should know that I love to play all types of games (recreational, sports, board, and video!) When I am not in the play therapy room, I am probably running in Redwood Regional Park or playing with my bunny "Sassy".
Ms. Denitza Popov
I began working at Fruitvale Elementary as an Attendance Specialist during the 2019/2020 school year. I love children, as I also have 3 of my own, and am truly blessed to be able to devote most of my time for the children and their needs here at Fruitvale. I hold 2 AA Degrees in Business Administration, with studies geared towards accounting, and Liberal Studies. My dream is to eventually continue my education and acquire a masters degree. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, music, the outdoors, and trying different cuisines. Yes, I am a foodie! Lastly, I am thankful for working among such awesome coworkers and students. Go Fruitvale Superstars!!!
1st Grade Teacher
Ms. Aresha Dinkins
Hello, my name is Ms.Dinkins. I'm excited to be teaching 1st grade this year. I have lived in Fremont, CA for the past 10 years, but I am originally an Oakland native. I have been involved with many different educational based programs, from preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade on up to high school and college as a parent volunteer, advocate, and student mentor. I received my Associates Degree in Social and Behavioral Science from Mission Community College, where I took my early childhood and child development courses. I am also a recent graduate of California State University East Bay, where I earned my Bachelor of Sociology degree. In addition to teaching, one of my educational goals is to attend San Diego State University’s online Master’s program, and continue my studies in education and counseling. When I’m not studying, I enjoy spending time with my children, traveling, going to the movies and working out.
Mrs. Sophia Kinsley
Mrs. Kinsley is a Bay Area native. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English. Mrs. Kinsley earned her Clear Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University, with a CLAD/Early Childhood Education emphasis. She has enjoyed teaching kindergarten in OUSD since 2005. Mrs. Kinsley loves growing succulents and has a problem resisting cute pets.
4/5 Special Education Teacher
Ms. Christina Anderson
My name is Ms. Anderson. I am a San Francisco Native, Go 49ers!! I graduated from UC Berkeley with my BA in African American Studies, Social Welfare, and an education minor. I received my Masters from the University of San Francisco in Education. I have taught all grades from 3rd grade up to continuing education adult students. I love teaching because it allows me to work with amazing and brilliant students who inspire me, motivate me, and fill me with joy. I am interested in video games, reading, dancing, swimming, and good movies!
4th Grade Teacher
Mr. Genaro Castillo
My name is Mr. Gino and I have been teaching at Fruitvale since 2016. I am a Bay Area native of Mountain View, CA. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Philosophy. I obtained a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from CSU, Los Angeles in 2019. When I am not teaching, I am passionate about fitness and enjoy playing lacrosse. I teach at Fruitvale because I am passionate about improving youth education in my local Bay Area community.
2nd Grade Teacher
Mr. Mark Fisher
I am proud to be a native of Oakland. I have taught in OUSD for over thirty years at three different elementary schools. I truly value the experience I have gained over this time working with students, parents, and fellow educators. The work is challenging, but the rewards are great. Seeing our students growing, gaining knowledge, and becoming successful is our greatest reward.
Restorative Community Schools Manager
Hello, I am the Restorative Community Schools Manager here at Fruitvale Elementary. I was originally the Restorative Justice Facilitator. I started my career in OUSD over 12 years ago as a teacher in the After school program at a Middle school here in Oakland. I practiced RJ for 4 years before I became an RJ facilitator. I have a BA from Hayward State in Socio-Cultural Anthropology with a Minor in African American Studies. I also have a Certificate in Acting from the American Musical And Dramatic Academy. I love to cook, swim, walk, read and travel. I love creating community with the Teachers, Staff, Families and, Students here at Fruitvale.
Ms. Salnave at Your Service!
Teacher On Special Assignment
Angela Norton Tyler
Angela Norton Tyler has been involved in education as a college instructor, Instructional Teacher Leader (coach) elementary and middle school teacher, literacy coordinator, reading specialist and educational consultant and business owner. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Wellesley College (MA) and Master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Hollins University (VA). Angela believes in the power of education and has spent her adult life helping students, teachers and parents reach their educational goals. She has been a part of OUSD since the 2018-2019 school year.
Para-educator, Special Education
Terri has dedicated 3+ years to Fruitvale Elementary, assisting in the the inclusion program. It is her personal goal to instill in each student self-worth, confidence and the ability to master any challenge. Music is her "go to" art form. Terri enjoys partnering with the teachers, students and staff. She mirrors the Fruitvale community model that teaches love and respect for oneself and those around them.
4th Grade Teacher
My name is Lilia Martin and I was born in Redwood City, California. I was raised in Oakland and attended Fruitvale Elementary, Bret Harte, and Fremont High School. I’ve been a teacher for 23 years in Oakland Unified School District and have a passion for teaching children. I love to travel, hike, and spend time with my family. I’ve always had a strong connection to the Fruitvale Community and believe all our students can be successful.
I have lived happily in Oakland for more than 20 years with my husband and son, who has high-functioning autism and who has received excellent support in Oakland public schools through the Inclusion program. Since 2013 I have worked for OUSD, beginning as a Resource Specialist, transitioning in 2017 to Inclusion, and my personal experience as a special education parent informs my work with students and families. I am proud to advocate for special education through the Oakland Education Association Special Education Faculty Council and I also serve as the Secretary of OEA. My favorite “junk food” is cheeseburgers and my favorite healthy food is Brussels sprouts! In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, and spending time with my family and my dogs.
2nd Grade Teacher
Ms. Valerie Otsuka
I was born and raised in Oakland. I am a product of OUSD. I went to SFSU for my BA and Master's degrees. I have taught @ Fruitvale since 1992. I love Winnie the Pooh and bears.
Family Literacy/ESL Teacher
Mrs. Katherine Locke
I'm Kathy Locke and I teach Fruitvale's Family Literacy/ESL Class. In my class, I work with parents of Fruitvale students who want to be engaged in the school community, help their children succeed in school, and also basic English skills (like reading, writing, listening and speaking.) We also learn about how to actively participate in our neighborhood and community and how to use and help our children use relevant technology. We learn and have fun together, and try to help Fruitvale be a better place for our kids each day!
5th Grade Teacher
Mrs. Audry Smith
I was born and raised in Oakland, California. I come from a family of Oakland educators. As a child, I attended six Oakland schools. For over the past 20 years, Fruitvale has been my seventh. I love teaching in Oakland.
Mrs. Hazel Ben
Hello Superstars! I am a Speech-Language Pathologist working with students who have difficulty with their communication skills that are impacting their academic performance within the school setting. We practice their sound production, comprehension skills and expressive language skills in speech therapy. We also learn how to produce smooth easy speech and use our social language skills to communicate appropriately with others. I have been an SLP for more than 20 years. I have been a part of the Fruitvale Elementary School team since 2009.
3rd Grade Teacher
Keren Ong Chipeco is in her 3rd year teaching at Fruitvale Elementary. Keren is part of the school's Instructional Leadership Team. As a teacher, she is committed to a collaborative environment where kids feel a sense of community with their classmates and teacher which she believes is where learning begins. Keren brings an open mind, positive attitude, and high expectations to the classroom every day.
My name is Maisha Smith. I have been working with students for 20 plus years. I have worked at many schools like Lockwood Elementary, Carl B Munck, Horace Mann Elementary & Frick Middle School. I have been at Fruitvale Elementary for 5 years. I’m a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 3. My favorite colors are red & purple. My favorite football team is the San Francisco 49ers.