LAUSD taps EdD student Michelle King as new supervisor

Longtime LAUSD administrator is member of inaugural superintendent cohort of EdD program 

Michelle King (LAUSD photo).

Michelle King (LAUSD photo)

Second-year EdD student Michelle King has been named superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the country. She takes over for Ramon C. Cortines, who served as interim superintendent following the resignation of John Deasy in October 2014. King was elected unanimously by the school board and is the first African American woman to hold the post.

King has spent her entire career with LAUSD, beginning in 1985 as a life-sciences teacher at Porter Junior High School, in Granada Hills. In 1997, she became assistant principal at Alexander Hamilton High in Castle Heights and eventually took over as principal there.

She went on to serve in the district as assistant superintendent in health and human services, chief instructional officer for high schools, senior regional administrator, chief of staff to the superintendent, head of operations and, most recently, chief deputy superintendent under Deasy and Cortines.

In fall 2014, King joined a new EdD cohort at Rossier for established school leaders, led by USC Rossier Professor of Clinical Education Mike Escalante EdD ’02.

“Michelle was one of the first people I recruited for the Executive EdD program,” said Escalante. “Michelle is an exceptional leader, loved by the others in her class. Each instructor who has worked with the Executive EdD group has indicated that Michelle is a ‘very special student.’ She has outstanding skills in bringing the best out of people and building unity of purpose in a collaborative process. I always knew she would bring positive recognition to the university as an exemplary and very loyal Trojan.”

On KPCC AirTalk, USC Rossier Professor of Clinical Education Maria Ott spoke of the qualities King brings to this positon, noting her long-term relationships in the district and the high level of confidence in her leadership. 

“The fact that she was appointed with the unanimous vote of the board…demonstrates that this is an opportunity to do something new and different,” said Ott. “The politics of the superintendency will confront her immediately, but she has the benefit of knowing that system in ways that no one else knows from the outside.”

King is expected to graduate with her cohort in May 2017.