Mr. O’Brien

My name is Tom O’Brien. I am an Oakland native, raised in San Leandro, but I lived in Half Moon Bay from 1990-2000 and in Seattle from 2000-2012, so I’m a recent returnee, living right here in Oakland with my partner, Jan. I have a “Master of Fine Arts” degree from Johnson State College in Vermont. I have been a practicing oil painter since 1984. Along with painting, I have studied many other genres, such as ceramics, lithography, environmental art, and conceptual art. I am also very versed in music, playing several instruments and singing. I have played and recorded with several bands as well as being a solo performer for many years. I have written and recorded over 100 songs. I also love to write prose. I have finished 3 novels and many short stories, though I’ve never published.

When I was 19, I took a backpack and a guitar to Europe for 3 months. This helped me see the world in a much broader way – it helped me see how small each of us is. But it also helped me see how everything we do changes the world. We can be small forces or we can be big forces, but we all change the world every day.

In the last 20 years, I have been in many kinds of classrooms and worked with many different kinds of students – deaf students, students with special needs, music students, kids in juvenile hall, and gifted students. Though this is only my second year as a credentialed teacher, I know that teaching is what I have been called to do for the rest of my life, with lots of writing, music, and painting thrown in! I love animals, and until recently, I had a pet ferret named Ginger. We hope to adopt more pets soon. I love science and finding out about how things work – especially the body. I love the English language and know quite a bit about its history. I love teaching, and I love learning!

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