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Oakland Military Institute

Boys & Girls
Age 6-12
Oakland, CA

Established in 2011, Oakland Military Institute wasted no time in claiming its own educational impact as a quality college preparatory school. The school’s core value statement, “Character, Leadership, Attitude, Scholarship and Service or “C.L.A.S.S.,” and its motto, “Do well whatever you do,” speak eloquently of the charter school’s standards.


Serving as a secondary school, Oakland Military Institute is one of 37 high schools within the Oakland Unified School District, and it accepts both males and females.

The total student population comprises 98 percent minorities and was ranked by “U.S. News & World Report” as 158th of all California high schools and 827th in the United States. But let’s get into what really matters: academics.


Oakland Military Institute presents a strong academic program for its students: Approximately 58 percent take and qualify for advance placement, noting an accelerated academic path.

Graduates of this school actively pursue higher education at almost twice the national average. The school’s superintendent boasts that alumni can be found in the rolls of several prestigious universities in California and beyond, including many University of California branches, Yale and West Point Military Academy.


Merging the concept that strong, healthy bodies boost healthy minds, Oakland Military Institute incorporates sports programs for all ages and both genders.

Nicknamed the Grizzlies, student athletes compete in football, baseball, badminton, fencing, basketball, cross country and crew, among others.


Because this is not a public school, admissions into Oakland Military Institute are privately screened and should be submitted no later than five months prior to the September start of the school year.

Application packets should include the student’s birth certificate, current and accurate shot records, either the most recent report card or transcripts from previous schools, Individualized Education Program or 504 plan enrollment if applicable and a signed request for school records.

The enrollment process does not end with the packet submission, however. Each student applying for attendance must interview with an admissions staff, ensuring academic, social and possibly athletic standards are understood and accepted. The interview does not determine enrollment qualification.

Once admission has been granted, both students and parents or responsible adults must jointly attend a one-hour orientation.

One final step completes the enrollment process. Several weeks after orientation, students must attend and successfully complete a seven-day entrance camp. Those who qualify for camp attendance successfully pass this qualification if they earn four or fewer demerits during this week-long trial period.


Oakland Military Institute’s four pillars are ACADEMICS, LEADERSHIP, CITIZENSHIP, and ATHLETICS. Using a military framework, the goal of OMI is to graduate cadets who are capable of meeting the admissions requirements for any college in the nation and who are prepared for their roles as future leaders of character.

The demanding ACADEMIC program consists of language arts, math, science and history, as well as world languages, fine arts, leadership, and physical fitness training. OMI seeks and supports students who have ambition and are ready to take responsibility for their own learning. OMI also offers honors, advanced placement, and college level courses. We also understand that some of our cadets enter OMI performing below grade level, and we require these students to accelerate learning through before school, after school, Saturday and summer academic support programs. Through hard work, determination, and a positive attitude, all students are expected to do whatever it takes to meet OMI’s rigorous academic standards and achieve proficiency on the Common Core State Standards. We partner with parents to communicate about student progress and help all students succeed to the best of their abilities. Parents have a set of duties to fulfill their role as the primary educators of their children.

The military framework of the school develops LEADERSHIP and promotes a sense of pride and community as it requires cadets to wear a proper complete uniform each school day and begin each day with a formation that includes patriotic exercises. All cadets participate as members of the California Cadet Corps, and are assigned to units within a military chain of command (squads, platoons, companies, and battalions within the Corps of OMI Cadets). Cadets assume increased responsibility through various positions of leadership during their tenure at OMI. Each academic classroom uses military protocols and cadet leadership structures to promote good order and discipline. Cadets also learn military customs and courtesies and achieve promotions and awards for their accomplishments. The military dimension of the school promotes patriotic spirit and respect for the democratic ideals of our society.

Cadets learn what is expected of them at the Summer Camp prior to their enrollment at OMI, a camp which thoroughly introduces new students to the CITIZENSHIP expectations of the school. The disciplinary system, patterned after the military model, is fair and predictable. It uses a merit and demerit system that provides both positive and negative consequences. All cadets share a common set of duties they are expected to fulfill as well as a code of honor requiring absolute integrity. Cadets who do not meet our expectations for conduct, integrity, and/or who do not fulfill their duties forfeit their opportunity to attend OMI.

ATHLETICS is an integral part of the total educational experience here at OMI.  OMI cadets are provided frequent opportunities to participate in interscholastic and intramural individual and team athletic development activities and competition. In addition to fulfilling physical fitness goals, being involved in athletics provides cadets with opportunities to develop leadership skills and to learn the ideals of fair play and ethical behavior necessary for competition and cooperation in our society.  It also provides our students with the unique opportunities for self-discipline and self-sacrifice, as well as loyalty to the community, the school, and the team.

Through the four pillars of academics, leadership, citizenship, and athletics, OMI prepares students for successful admission to college, completion of college, and entry into the adult world as leaders of character who make our world a better place, do the right thing, and treat others the way they want to be treated.


The Oakland Military Institute was founded in 2001 by then Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, who had a vision for a school with high expectations for student achievement, conduct, character, patriotism, and leadership.  The founding leadership team of the school consisted of Brigadier General Ezell Ware, Brigadier General Ralph Marinaro, Colonel Gary Richards, Chief Warrant Officer Gerald Martin, Chief Warrant Officer Garrett Roosevelt, and Chief Warrant Officer Harold Newson.

The first summer encampment took place at Camp San Luis Obispo in June and July, 2001.  A class of 157 7th graders successfully completed that encampment and enrolled in August of 2001.  The first Commandant on the campus was Colonel Bradford M. Jones with Command Sergeant Major Alex Cabassa serving as the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer for the adult cadre.  The sixth grade was added during the summer of 2004 and the 2006-2007 school year saw the first complement of all grade levels 6-12 enrolled at the Academy.

The first graduating class of 61 seniors held commencement at the Lake Merritt Bandstand on Saturday, June 6, 2007.  Of the graduating class, 22 were continuously enrolled since their 7th-grade year.  California Attorney General Jerry Brown was the commencement speaker. Eighty percent of the first graduating class was accepted to four-year colleges and universities.

With this inaugural ceremony, OMI launched the first commencement tradition – passing through the OMI Gate.  This passing symbolizes the cadets were completing their studies, leaving the academy and entering a new phase of their lives.  The OMI Gate was presented to the Superintendent, Mr. Bruce Holaday by then Battalion Commander Cody Kopowski.

The school was located on the site of the Oakland Army Base from its inception until May 18, 2007 when it moved to 3877 Lusk Street inNorthwest Oakland.  Mr. Bruce Holaday served as Superintendent from July of 2004 through July of 2008 and as Executive Director for the 2008-2009 school year.  In August, 2012, OMI opened a 15,000 square foot state of the art facility to serve 6th grade and house science classrooms, music and art classes, and a library and computer lab and virtual learning center.