The Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved the appointment of Michelle King as the next superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), along with a contract that will pay the veteran educator $350,000 annually.
The contract, which runs through June 30, 2018, also provides a district-owned car and driver for King. There is no buyout clause.
King’s selection was announced on Monday, culminating a nationwide search for a successor to retiring Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines. King is the first woman in more than 80 years, and the first African-American woman, to head the nation’s second-largest school district.
“Ms. King’s dedication to this district and her commitment to student achievement is second to none,” said board president Steve Zimmer. “The board looks forward to working with her in reaching our goal of academic success for all.”
King has been a teacher at LAUSD for her entire 31-year career. She most recently was chief deputy superintendent. She started as a science and math teacher at Porter Middle School in Granada Hills. She became the coordinator for the math, science and aerospace magnet at Wright Middle School in Westchester, and subsequently served as assistant principal and principal at Hamilton High School in Cheviot Hills. She headed the Division of Student Health and Human Services, served as interim chief instructional officer for Secondary Education, and was superintendent of a western and southwestern region of LAUSD before being tapped by Cortines as his chief of staff. She served as deputy superintendent under former Superintendent John Deasy and was then named chief deputy by Cortines when he returned in October 2014.
“I love the energy of students in the classroom – their passion for learning and their desire to achieve,” King said. “I want to ensure that the enthusiasm for teaching and learning that I experienced in LAUSD – and that my three daughters experienced when they were in school – is the reality for all of our students.”
During her career, King led instructional reform plans that address graduation requirements and the need to improve student achievement. She also championed the LAUSD’s restorative justice initiative, which reduced student suspensions and expulsions. She was recently honored as the 2015 Woman of the Year by the nonprofit organization Women on Target.
District 2 board member Mónica García praised King for her commitment to keeping kids in school.
“I have confidence that Superintendent Michelle King will inspire a team of leaders to move us toward 100 percent graduation,” Ms. García said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti applauded LAUSD for the selection.
“A product of LAUSD schools and a reflection of our City, King has dedicated her entire professional career to the students and families of the district. Over the course of more than 30 years, she has led reform efforts to increase graduation rates, strengthen academic rigor, and promote restorative justice,” Garcetti said. “I am eager to partner with her in this new role as we work to improve outcomes for all students in Los Angeles.”
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