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Susan Sperber

Expert Profile

Susan Sperber

Education for Change World Academy
health of high school students
inner-city schools
safety on high school campuses
health programs for high school students
Oakland Unified School District


Susan Sperber is principal of the Education for Change World Academy, a charter school in Oakland, Calif. Previously, she was principal of Hawthorne Elementary School in Oakland. She came to teach at this inner city school quite reluctantly in 1983. At the time, she was looking for work with an emergency credential while studying to be a teacher at San Francisco State University. (Earlier, she studied drama arts as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a master's degree in theater arts at San Francisco State.) Sperber spent a week trying to dodge the calls from the school district requesting her presence but ultimately showed up for duty at Hawthorne. She arrived at a tough school with high teacher turnover. Soon afterward, a group of new recruits sat down and decided to begin to make changes. They brought in conflict resolution and team building trainers to help design ways for kids to feel safe on campus. And the school was able to attract funding from \"Healthy Start\" and special funding earmarked for \"demonstration\" school projects. By 1992, the school was beginning to build up its health programs, relying upon these grants. When the seed money disappeared, Sperber, who became principal in 1999, found ways to keep the health programs alive. Today Sperber sees the rich array of health programs at Hawthorne as key to the learning experience of students. \"You can't just deal with the ABCs,\" she says. \"You have to deal with the whole child.\"

1700 28th Avenue
Oakland  California  94601
United States
Office Phone: 
(510) 904-6400


The pandemic has thrown into brutal relief the extent to which the U.S. health care system produces worse outcomes for patients of color. And yet there has been scant focus on one of the biggest drivers of structural racism in health care: How doctors and hospitals are paid. In this webinar, we’ll highlight the ways in which the health care system’s focus on money and good grades is shortchanging the health of communities of color. Sign-up here!

U.S. children and teens have struggled with increasing rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior for much of the past decade. Join us as we explore the systemic causes and policy failures that have accelerated the crisis and its inequitable impact, as well as promising community-driven approaches and evidence-based practices. The webinar will provide fresh ideas for reporting on the mental health of youth and investigating the systems and services. Sign-up here!

The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors and a social media consultant to join its team. Learn more about the positions and apply.


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