Kitty Kelly Epstein is a professor, an activist, the host of "Education Today" on KPFA FM 94.1, and the author of four books, three of them about Oakland.

After spending her childhood in Los Angeles, Dr. Epstein earned a Masters Degree in International Relations at San Francisco State University and a doctorate in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. She received the "Outstanding Dissertation Award" for her research on the underlying reasons why urban youth may leave school without a diploma and the sort of educational environment to which they will return and be successful. She received the Marcus Foster Foundation Outstanding Educator Award for her work as a high school teacher.  She has one son, Jaron Kelly Epstein.  

In her 2012 book, A Different View of Urban Schools: Civil Rights, Critical Race Theory and Unexplored Realities, she describes successful campaigns in which she participated to create a diverse and representative teaching force, prevent the use of a racially inaccurate social studies textbook, and prevent the takeover of the Oakland Unified School District by the State of California. 

She participated in the recruitment of former Congressman Dellums to run for Mayor and after his election, she worked in his office as Education Policy Director. She assisted the Mayor in pressing the State to return the school district to local control, helping the community to start the Teach Tomorrow in Oakland program, and involving 800 people in 41 task forces making policy for the city. She also worked with community organizations to remove barriers so that a larger portion of African-Americans can obtain employment in the construction industry.

In 2013 she received the Scholar Activist Award from the Urban Affairs Association for her work in Oakland.   She later became a member of the Board of the Urban Affairs Association.  In 2020 she served as guest editor for a Special Edition of the organization journal on scholar-activism.

 In 2019 she returned to her work on the issue of local control of the school district.    She formed an ad hoc group and argued that continued partial control over the district's budget by the state, through the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team, has led to the closing of many schools and to budget problems.   


Dr. Epstein writes frequently for the Oakland Post.  In 2020 she wrote an influential article opposing the proposed takeover of public land at the Port of Oakland by John Fisher, owner of the GAP and the Oakland A's.    


Links and References

  • Education Today on KPFA 94.1 FM
  • Epstein, K.K. and Stringer, B. (2020) Changing Academia Forever: Black Student Leaders Analyze the Movement They Led.  Myers Education Press
  • Epstein, K.K. (2012) A Different View of Urban Schools: Civil Rights, Critical Race Theory and Unexplored Realities (Revised edition). Peter Lang Publishers
  • Eptein, K. K. (2020) Journal of Urban Affairs.  Guest Editor of the Special Edition on Scholar Activism.
  • Epstein, K.K. (2012) Organizing to Change a City. Peter Lang Publishers
  • Gamboa, C (2013) I Became a Scholar In order to Become a Better Activist Social Science Space