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General Counsel, Oakland Unified School District

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates
Oakland, California
$207,723.63 – $226,985.22 / Contract

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Job Details

Position Title: General Counsel
Classification Category: Classified Confidential
Bargaining Unit: Confidential 
Work Year: 261
Work Month: 12
Work Hours: 7.5
Salary Schedule: EXEC
FLSA Status: Exempt
Department: General Counsel Division
Reports to: Board of Education and Superintendent
Supervisory: Executive Management
Classification Established: Board adoption
Date(s) Revised: 2021


The General Counsel jointly reports to the Board of Education and the Superintendent. This critical role serves as the strategic liaison between the Board and senior leadership of the District and leads the District’s efforts regarding strategic governance, legal and regulatory compliance, record management, and public/government relations.

The General Counsel serves as both the primary advisor to the Board and Superintendent on governance matters and serves as the primary legal advisor/representative of the District. The General Counsel ensures the effective delivery of strategic governance, legal and regulatory compliance, and public/government relations of the District. As a member of the senior management team, the General Counsel serves as a highly visible representative of the school district and a participant in all major policy discussions. In addition, the General Counsel:

  • Provides legal advice to the Board, the Superintendent, and the District senior leadership team on legal issues, including general public education law, special education law, labor and employment law, litigation and claims, contracts, bids, construction, real property, and charter school law; 
  • Manages and supervises the District Legal Office, including the Labor Relations Department and the District’s Board Office; and 
  • Protects and preserves the legal, ethical, and financial stability of the District.


These duties are intended only as examples of the various types of essential  job duties to be performed. The omission of specific duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is a similar, related, or logical assignment to the position. 

  • Governance
    • Manages and maintains the governance framework
    • Manages and leads policies and positions on issues related to Board accountability and anticipates response from regulators, the media, and general public
    • Assists in the formulation and development of Board policies and procedures
    • Advises the Board and the Superintendent of unusual trends or problems and recommends appropriate corrective action
    • Support the District’s five year strategic plan to ensure that every student graduates from high school as a caring, competent, critical thinker, ready for college and career and advises on major policy initiatives
    • Interacts with the Board, executive leaders, and risk management functions as well as external stakeholders, regulators, and government officials
    • Applies strategic thinking to provide input and critical analysis of new and changing policies
    • Collaborates with other leaders to conduct business impact analyses for both new and updated regulations
    • Assures the integrity of the Board's process by ensuring that the behaves consistently with its own rules and those legitimately imposed upon it from outside the district
    • Advising decisions that fall within topics covered by Board policies, with the exception of performance or employment related to the Superintendent
    • Represents, as directed, the Board or Superintendent to outside parties related to Board-stated positions and in stating decisions and/or interpretations within delegated areas
  • Legal/General Counsel
    • Advises the Board of Education and Superintendent in open and closed session, regular and special meetings on all legal matters
    • Advises the Board of Education, Superintendent, school sites and departments on legal requirements, and the development of and compliance with Board policies and administrative regulations
    • Ensure all District employees and partners comply with laws, regulations, policies and the District’s strategic plan
    • Advises the District on public records laws, open government laws, election laws, including parcel taxes and bonds, and conflict of interest laws and requirements
    • Drafting of legislative proposals presented by the District to the California legislature
    • Draft and review legal documents including rules, regulations, and resolutions
  • Management and Leadership
    • Plan, organize and implement long and short-term programs and activities of the Legal Division
    • Select, train and evaluate the performance of assigned staff
    • Provide for continuing departmental staff training regarding legal issues, process and procedures
    • Direct the preparation and maintenance of a variety of narrative and statistical reports, records and files related to assigned activities and personnel
    • Develop and prepare the annual preliminary budget for the legal division; analyze and review budgetary and financial data; control and authorize expenditures in accordance with established limitations
  • Labor and Employment
    • Advises the District on public employees’ legal rights and duties
    • Oversees Labor Relations and other departments around issues relating to collective bargaining rights
    • Advises on employee discipline and misconduct
    • Represents the District in employee discipline and termination proceedings
    • Represents the District in Labor and Employment law matters before state and federal courts
    • Investigates and responds to complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and other agencies
  • Litigations/Claims
    • Investigates and resolves Government Tort Claims
    • Defends the District in litigation agains the District
  • Business Operations
    • Drafts, negotiates, and/or reviews contracts and memoranda of understanding (MOU’s)
    • Advises staff on matters related to procurement, contracts, and legal agreements
    • Prepares and coordinates Request for Proposals, Request for Qualifications, and other contract outreach
    • Supports fiscal services audits, waivers and compliance
    • Supports the District’s Facilities and Buildings and Grounds programs and services, including the Bond program modernization programs, local business program and Project Labor Agreement
  • Special Education
    • Handles state and federal special education and Section 504 compliance issues
    • Represents the District at special education mediations and due process hearings
    • Represents the District in special education litigation
  • General Student Matters
    • Investigates and responds to regulatory inquiries from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and the California Department of Education (CDOE)
    • Facilitates child custody conflicts and abuse reporting responsibilities at school sites
    • Responds to student records requests
    • Advises school sites and student discipline office in suspension, expulsion, and transfer of students
    • Advises on constitutional issues related to student’s civil rights, including free speech, searches, non-discrimination and other related issues 
  • Charter Schools
    • Supports compliance with Proposition 39 and charter schools facilities requests
    • Reviews charters for legal compliance
  • Perform related duties as assigned.


  • Juris Doctor Degree from an American Bar Association accredited institution
  • Ten years of experience in the practice of law, including substantial responsible experience as Counsel for a large, urban public entity; directly related school law experience is highly desirable
  • Active membership in good standing of California State Bar Association
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of California
  • Valid California Driver’s License, if applicable


  • Demonstrated ability to effectively manage a departmental budget and a team in a complex organization
  • Exceptional organizational, communications, public relations, and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically
  • Unwavering commitment to the mission of Oakland Unified School District
  • Ability to distinguish relevant facts and assimilate and analyze facts


Environment: Office and school site environments; fast-paced work; frequently changing environment.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to: Hearing and speaking to exchange information in person and make presentations; dexterity of hands and fingers to operate a computer keyboard; seeing to monitor various activities and read documents, and view computer monitors; traveling off-site; sitting or standing for extended periods of time; kneeling, bending at the waist, and reaching overhead, above the shoulders, and horizontally; lifting light objects.


The Oakland Unified School District does not discriminate in any program, activity, or in employment on the basis of actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, veteran status, gender, sex, or sexual orientation.

Primary Location: Office of the Superintendent
Salary Range: $207,723.63 - $226,985.22 / Contract
Shift Type: Full Time



Established in 1987, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) is one of the oldest and largest search firms having assisted more than 1,600 school boards select exceptionally talented leadership in school systems across the nation, large and small, urban and rural. HYA’s reputation and experience make it one of the preeminent school district search firms in the nation and a standard which others often emulate. HYA Associates are located across the country to conveniently serve clients and are thus uniquely qualified to bring local – as well as national – perspectives, knowledge, experience, and connections to each search.

Company info
909 W. Euclid Ave #926
Arlington Heights

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