LAUSD Hires Its First Mom Superintendent: Signs of Promise and Important Questions

On Tuesday, the LAUSD School Board made history by selecting the first African American woman, Ms. Michelle King, as its next Superintendent. This decision gives many of us hope for a better LAUSD and an opportunity to learn more about her, the first Mom in our lifetimes to lead LAUSD.

A graduate of LAUSD, King started working as a student aide 31 years ago. She served as Chief Deputy Superintendent for two previous superintendents, Deasy and Cortines, so she has first-hand knowledge of the structure within the district. She is the first woman since 1929 to lead the district. Hard to believe, I know!

We do not know much about her views on educational equity or what changes are needed since she has not made her opinions public. She’s been a behind-the-scenes administrator. While we don’t know many details about where she stands on issues important to LAUSD parents and students, we have reason to be hopeful:

1) She attended excellent LAUSD Schools in an affluent part of the school district. Palms Junior High and Palisades High have always been great schools. She can use that experience to advocate for what all LAUSD kids deserve and what is possible in our public schools regardless of students’ color or economic status.

2) She is an African American woman. Being a woman and a woman of color in our country is hard work. No joke. Despite the challenges that come with racism in our country, Ms. King has been able to ascend to the highest ranks of education. This is impressive. We hope she will be committed to creating a new culture in LAUSD — one where all students of color are given a fighting chance and all employees act in a way that indicates they believe all students of color can become amazing scholars.

3) She was a Science Teacher. This could elevate her concern for math and sciences in a school district where very few of our students are proficient in math– only 1 in 4 students met or exceeded the math standards. That means that 75% of ALL LAUSD students do not meet the minimum standards.

4) She was a Magnet Coordinator at Orville Wright Math, Science and Aerospace Magnet Middle School in Westchester. Magnets are a bright spot in LAUSD. They have great results. Her insight into how these schools perform well gives her a template to replicate this model throughout the district. She might even be motivated to open the doors to Magnets to all parents. Currently, Magnets are very exclusive to parents who can figure out the hoops, tricks and movidas needed to get in. The Magnet school application process can make people feel like they are purposely trying to keep certain students out versus invite students in.

5) She was a Principal at Hamilton High in West LA. While Hamilton wasn’t in the hardest-to-serve community, she was a successful principal. Principals are the CEOs and instructional leaders of schools. With this experience, she can help push more decisions to the school sites so principals and teachers make decisions with their students in mind. Decisions shouldn’t be made in the bureaucracy where people are disconnected from students’ needs.

6) She is a Mom. I’m saying it: becoming a mom changes your view of the world. You have hope for a better world. For many moms, you work to create a better future for your children and other people’s children.  You have a heightened sensibility for children. And she sent her children to LAUSD schools which we assume weren’t failing schools. As fellow Mamis, we hope she will have the same kind of urgency and high expectations for all of our children as she has for her own.

Now Things That We Should Keep An Eye On and Talk to Her About:

1) Her commitment to public school choice and opportunity for all students to have a high quality school in their neighborhoods regardless if they are Magnets, Charter Schools or Academies, etc.

2) Her commitment and strategies to uplifting poor and working-class children such as those in South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles.

3) Her commitment to Parent Power and inclusion of all parents in decision making, especially for low-income and working parents who make up the majority of the district.

4) Her commitment and budget plans to make sure that every students is prepared with minimum requirements to apply to college with A-G College Access for All, including English language learners.

5) Her commitment to transparency about what happens academically with students & how money is spent.

As parents of LAUSD children and LAUSD-Charter school parents, we have many things to be hopeful about with her selection. As Abuelita used to say: “Ojo!”  We also have to be keep our eyes wide open because there are many things we do not know. She’ll be having a listening tour so plan on attending. This could be a great opportunity to create a system-wide culture where parents are valued as real partners, not as real problems, in LAUSD.


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* Her picture was used from LAUSD Daily. She’s with her daughter Colene and mother Ivolene



LAUSD contrata a su primer Mamá Superintendente: Señales de Promesas y Preguntas importantes

El martes, la Junta Escolar del LAUSD hizo historia al seleccionar la primera mujer Afroamericana, Sra. Michelle King, como su próxima superintendente. Esta decisión da a muchos de nosotros esperanza para un mejor LAUSD y una oportunidad para aprender más sobre ella, la primera mamá en nuestras vidas para llevar el LAUSD.

Un graduado de LAUSD, la Sra. King comenzó a trabajar como ayudante de estudiante hace 31 años. Ella se desempeñó como Jefe Adjunto del Superintendente de dos superintendentes anteriores, Deasy y Cortines, por lo que tiene conocimiento de primera mano de la estructura dentro del distrito. Ella es la primera mujer desde 1929 para dirigir el distrito. Es difícil de creer, lo sé!

No sabemos mucho acerca de sus puntos de vista sobre la equidad educativa o qué cambios son necesarios, ya que no ha hecho sus opiniones públicas. Ella ha sido una administradora de detrás de escenas. Si bien no sabemos muchos detalles acerca de cómo está parada en temas importantes para los padres y estudiantes del LAUSD, tenemos razones para ser optimistas:

1) Asistió a excelentes escuelas del LAUSD en una zona generosa del distrito escolar.Palms Junior High y Palisades siempre han sido grandes escuelas. Ella puede usar esa experiencia para abogar por lo que todos los niños del LAUSD merecen y lo que es posible en nuestras escuelas públicas, independientemente del color, de los alumnos o situación económica 2).Ella es Afroamericana, ser mujer y de color en nuestro país es un trabajo duro. No es broma. A pesar de los desafíos que vienen con el racismo en nuestro país, la señora King ha sido capaz de ascender a los rangos más altos de educación. Esto es impresionante. Esperamos que se haya comprometido a crear una nueva cultura en el LAUSD donde para todos los estudiantes de color se una oportunidad de lucha , todos los empleados y actuar de una manera que se indica que crean que todos los estudiantes de color pueden llegar a ser estudiantes asombrosos.

3) Fue una profesora de ciencias. Esto podría elevar su preocupación por las matemáticas y las ciencias en un distrito escolar donde muy pocos de nuestros estudiantes son competentes en Matemáticas, sólo 1 de cada 4 estudiantes alcanzaron o superaron los niveles en matemáticas. Eso significa que el 75%de todos los estudiantes del LAUSD no cumplen con los niveles mínimos.

4) Fue Coordinadora de Magnet en Orville Wright estudió Matemáticas y Ciencia Aeroespacial en la Escuela Intermedia Magnet en Westchester. Los Magnet son un punto brillante en el LAUSD. Tienen grandes resultados. Su intuición le da la idea de cómo funcionan estas escuelas también le da una plantilla para replicar este modelo en todo el distrito. Incluso podría estar motivada para abrir las puertas a los Magnets a todos los padres. Actualmente, Magnets son muy exclusiva a los padres que pueden averiguar los aros, trucos y movidas necesarias para entrar. El proceso de solicitud de la escuela Magnet puede hacer que la gente sienta que está deliberadamente tratando de mantener ciertos estudiantes a cabo frente a invitar a los

estudiantes.5)Ella fue una directora en Hamilton High en West Los Ángeles. Mientras que Hamilton no estaba en la comunidad más difícil de servir,ella era una directora exitosa. Los directores son los directores ejecutivos y líderes de instrucción de las escuelas. Con esta experiencia, puede ayudar a empujar más decisiones a los sitios escolares para los directores y maestros a tomar decisiones con sus estudiantes en mente. Las decisiones no se deben hacer en la burocracia donde las personas están desconectados de las necesidades de los estudiantes.

6) Ella es una mamá.Estoy diciendo que: convertirse en mamá cambia la manera de ver el mundo. Usted tiene la esperanza de un mundo mejor. Para muchas madres, que trabajan para crear un futuro mejor para sus hijos y los hijos de otras personas. Usted tiene una sensibilidad mayor para los niños. Y ella envió a sus hijos a escuelas del LAUSD que suponíamos que no estaban fallando las escuelas. Las compañeras que también somos mamis, esperamos que ella tendrá las mismas urgencias y altas expectativas para todos nuestros niños,las mismas que tuvo para sus propios hijos.

Ahora las cosas que debemos mantener en control sobre los ojos y hablar con ella acerca de.

What do you think?

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Alma V. Marquez

Alma V. Marquez

Alma V. Marquez is the founder of and is the founder and CEO of Del Sol Group, a communications and public affairs firm focusing on Strategy, Outreach and Leadership in Education, Voter and Civic Engagement. She specializes in parent education, politics and community organizing. She is a proud product of California public schools. She is a graduate of Huntington Park High School in Southeast LA. She also completed her all of credit recovery classes at Maxine Waters Occupational Center in Watts in order to graduate from high school. She attended East LA College and transferred to Occidental College where she earned a Bachelor's degree in English and Comparative Literary Students and Politics. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Urban Planning at UCLA. Her daughter is a junior in a charter school, chartered by LAUSD. She decided to start the LA Comadre blog because she wanted to create a platform for Latinas and education.

One thought on “LAUSD Hires Its First Mom Superintendent: Signs of Promise and Important Questions

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    Angelina Sáenz

    This post is important because it is LA Comadre, commenting, in real time, about developments in Los Angeles, in a way that is helpful and provides readers with a context for the information we receive. Thank you so much Alma for this, and I’m excited that this is what we have to look forward to, with this blog!

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