Sanam Jorjani is the Co-Director at Oakland Literacy Coalition
Sanam Jorjani is the founding Co-Director of the Oakland Literacy Coalition. She weaves together her passion for education and building community to see a future where learning is at the center of the human experience. A skilled facilitator, Sanam connects people and ideas to break down silos and help people and organizations work better together.
Sanam started her work with the Oakland Literacy Coalition in 2012 when it was an initiative of the Rogers Family Foundation. During that time she managed the Oakland Reads Campaign and supported the growth and development of the Coalition. In 2016 she and her Co-Director, Cassie Perham, founded the Oakland Literacy Coalition as an independent non-profit. In her role as Co-Director, Sanam is responsible for strategic development, direction, and management of the coalition network and various initiatives. Prior to her work with the coalition, Sanam coordinated international projects for the Office of International Affairs at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she completed her Masters in International Educational Development in 2011. Over a decade of experience in education and youth development both in and out of the classroom and leading education initiatives and collaborations informs her deep conviction that learning happens everywhere and that no one organization or school can do it alone.
Arriving in the U.S. as an infant, Sanam grew up bilingual and as a cultural translator between herself, her family, and her American surroundings. Fortunate enough to grow up with a strong Iranian community around her led her to be an advocate for learning and language as a tool for empowering identity and social change.
Sanam stays active in her local community by volunteering and supporting local organizations doing incredible work on behalf of young people and families. She currently serves as Board Treasurer for BANANAS Inc., an organization committed to supporting families in the first critical years of their child's life. She stays active in youth development by continuing her 10th year as a volunteer for the Albany YMCA Youth & Government Program—a high school leadership and civics program. She previously served on the board of WriterCoach Connection and is an alumna of the 2014 Leadership Oakland cohort.
Sanam grew up in the East Bay and lives in Oakland where she’s still close enough to her family to regularly enjoy mouth-watering homecooked Persian meals and even takes a few Tupperware filled with them to go.