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OBSA Staff

OBSA Staff

Director – Queen Dena Luna

Dena Luna is proudly from St. Paul’s Westside, where she developed a passion for cultural diversity and community engagement.  For Dena, as a racially ambiguous biracial woman, race has always been front and center in her life.  From an early age, Dena struggled with accepting the box people tried to put her in.  Before she was even in school, people would ask her, “What are you?”  To which she would respond, “I’m Dena.”  And, as she grew older, she realized that this question, though typically not asked with malicious intentions, was actually very damaging and diminishing.  People were uncomfortable with the fact that she didn’t easily fit into what their perceptions of Blackness, or whiteness, were.  Other people were attempting to define her identity and her Blackness for her.  Once she made this realization, she took that power back.  The power to define for herself what Blackness meant to her.  The power to define her own identity.  The power of her own, unique Black experience.  Today, Dena unapologetically stands in her identity as a Black woman.  She has learned to see the power in her story and her experiences, and sharing those experiences.  She is fully aware of the privilege provided to her due to her racial ambiguity.  She is determined to use this privilege to challenge the status quo and confront systemic inequities. 

Dena studied Psychology and Communication at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  After undergrad, she pursued her law degree from Hamline University School of Law and received her Juris Doctorate in 2013.  She has spent her life dedicated to working with underrepresented communities to disrupt the systems that have been created to hold us down. Dena is married to her high school sweetheart and together they have beautiful children, Israel, Milo, and Tolchi.


Program Manager – King Umar Rashid



Program Manager – Queen Nneka Abdullah

Nneka is passionate about making connections with and learning more about the young people she encounters in her career as an educator. She considers herself as a passenger on the journey with Black girls as they learn more about their relationships with themselves, their families, and each other, as well as their broader connections with their communities. Nneka believes that to build a strong foundation, Black girls need opportunities to connect with Black women, make bonds with other Black girls, and need multiple opportunities to develop their identity and build upon their leadership and inquiry skills.  

Nneka grew up in North Minneapolis, is an MPS alum, and a proud graduate of North High School. She attended the University of Minnesota in Duluth where she earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology in Child and Adolescent Development. Nneka later attended Concordia University in St. Paul, earning her master’s degree in Family Life Education. She considers this opportunity to be on a team that is working to change the outcomes of Black students in Minneapolis Public Schools as humbling. Having been raised up in a family and community with proud, loud, talented, successful,  intelligent, and bold Black women, Nneka is honored to be in a space where she able to give what was given to her. 

Nneka lives in North Minneapolis with her partner where together they share 3 Black children, who are also current MPS scholars and alum. Nneka and her family are dedicated to the city of Minneapolis  and Minneapolis Public Schools where they live, work, and play. 


    Curriculum Coordinator – King Brandon Royce-Diop

I work with The Office of Black Student Achievement because I believe that OBSA is a unique and powerful remedy to the failures of our education system; we are fully and righteously representing what we advocate for, and creating space for Black students to feel valued, seen and empowered. In my role as Curriculum Coordinator, I support all of our classes to develop and use content through the B.L.A.C.K class. Content is geared towards central questions around, who am I? Who are we? what is our current state? Where are we going? and How do we get there? While I am here I hope to inspire an interest of history in our students and classroom coaches, to develop an understanding that our history is indeed alive and malleable. I was born and raised in S. Minneapolis, and obtained my undergraduate degree in psychology at St. John's University, where I played football and baseball. I obtained my Master's degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas. I am married to an amazing educator with two beautiful Black daughters, who inspire my life and work everyday. 


     Graduation Coach – King Zander Tsadwa

Zander works at the Office of Black student Achievement because he wants to help Black students prepare for adult life in ways MPS is struggling to. In his role as Graduation Coach he hopes to see Black students make well-informed life choices based on their own values. "I want Black students to understand there is more space for them than either the very top or very bottom of society, and I want them to create these spaces together." For Zander Black Student matter because they're children who deserve love and have control of their own lives. No American institution wants to give Black children those things and being a part of OBSA, I can be in a position to help Black students know that they matter. Zander grew up in St. Paul, MN. and graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in Sociology.



     High School Classroom Coach – King Richard Magembe 

Richard grew up on St. Paul's East Side. He graduated from Johnson High School and is currently a coach for the schools football team. After high school Richard attended St. Cloud State University where he received a bachelor degree in social work. He would later go on to recieve a masters degree in marriage and family therapy from Argosy University. Richard then went on to work for St. Paul Public Schools as a teaching assistant at both Hancock Elementary (four years) and Johnson High School (one year). In 2012 prior to becoming a member of the the Office of Black Student Achievement Richard joined Minneapolis Public Schools as a School Support Program Assistant at Stadium View School. Since 2015 Richard has served the Kings of South High School, Field Middle School, and Folwell Middle School as a Class Room Coach.


     High School Classroom Coach – King Jamil Jackson



High School Classroom Coach – King Marques Walker

Marques Walker will be entering his 7th year teaching the BLACK Culture class at Minneapolis North Community High School. King Marques also has been a classroom coach at Fair, Franklin Middle school, Olson middle school, Bethune elementary, and Henry High school. King Marques is also one of the Assistant Football Coaches for North High's amazing Football program. He is a 2005 graduate of North High, and has done continuous work throughout the Northside community. He graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead with a bachelors degree in sociology. He currently works for The Office of Black Student Achievement, whose focus is to take an equitable approach to the challenges that exist for Black students in Minneapolis Public Schools.



High School Classroom Coach –Shamaria Jordan

Shamaria Jordan grew up in Kankakee, Illinois and is entering her 4th school year with the Office of Black Student Achievement. She is a MPS alum as well as one of the founding Queens as she participated in OBSA Programming as a student at Edison high school. Shamaria works for OBSA because she believes in the mission and vision of the work and wants to be intentional about closing the opportunity gap for Black students in MPS. While at OBSA, she will help expand the work and the opportunities for the Queens and to help the achieve deeper work in the current spaces OBSA is a part of.  Shamaria feels passionately about Black girls and making the conditions so that all spaces provide safety for Black girls to fully exist as their whole selves.




    Middle School Classroom Coach - Tyrone Johnson

Born in Gary Indiana and moved to Mpls in 1989. Graduated from Henry High School and went to Brown College for Criminal Justice. Father of six, two boys and four girls. Has coached basketball, football and baseball at Phelps Park. Asst coach for North HS Basketball. Taught kids in grades k-8 the fundamentals of basketball through the NABA program. Founder of Squad of Players Adult Kickball league which brings community members together for 13 Sundays to play the game of kickball, socialize and network, as well as exercise. Worked in the school system for 15 years moving from bus driver to paraprofessional, SEA, AE, EA, Student Dean and SSPA. Love working with youth. I love playing chess and spending time with my family and I am the founder of Squad of Player’s Adult Kickball League.

"When you start to do things that you truly love, it wouldn’t matter whether it’s Monday or Friday, you would be so excited to wake up each morning to work on your passion’s——Edmond Mbiaka


Middle School Classroom Coach - Tamia Mcglaughlin

Tamia is a passionate, young black woman dedicated to empowering and advocating for young black Kings and Queens. She was born in Augusta, Georgia but raised on the Northside of Minneapolis and is a 2016 graduate of Patrick Henry High School. After graduating high school, she moved to Atlanta, GA to attend Spelman College - an all-female Historically Black College. Directly after graduating with her B.A in Elementary Education in 2020, Tamia taught 3rd grade in Atlanta. The following year she moved abroad to Madrid and taught English at a local elementary school while also studying for her Master’s degree and learning Spanish. In July of 2022, she received her M.A in Bilingual and Multicultural Education. Tamia is now working as a middle school coach at Olson, Anwatin and Sanford middle schools. She strongly believes in the need of representation, specifically for children to be able to see themselves manifested through their teachers, mentors, role models and school leaders. Students thrive when they see themselves in positions of leadership, power, and influence as well as benefit greatly from learning from individuals who look just like them. Tamia wants to be a positive influence on students all across Minneapolis, while fighting against inequity and advocating for black students.



   Middle School Classroom Coach - Quiana Beal