On Friday, Jan. 5, Palisades Charter High School 1979 graduate and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King announced her plans to retire by June 30 and will remain on medical leave as she undergoes treatment for cancer.
In her announcement, King said: “I am very thankful for the outpouring of support I have received from the entire L.A. Unified family, our community partners and my colleagues across the nation. As I aggressively fight this illness, I ask that you continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.”
King’s career within LAUSD has included time working as a teaching assistant, a science and math teacher in Granada Hills, a coordinator for the math, science and aerospace magnet in Westchester, and as both assistant principal and principal at Hamilton High School in Cheviot Hills, according to LAUSD.
King then moved into district administration, including time as the chief administrator of secondary instruction, a local district superintendent, chief of staff to then-superintendent Ramon Cortines, senior deputy superintendent under former superintendent John Deasy, and then as Cortines’ chief deputy superintendent, which was the second highest paid position in the district. In addition, King was named “Woman of the Year” in 2015 by the non-profit organization Women On Target, an advocacy group supporting leaders in Southern California’s African-American community.
King is serving a two-year term on LAUSD, although she has been on medical leave since last September. Her return to the district became shrouded in mystery in recent months due to the uncertainty of the extent of her illness, reports the LA Times.
King is the first African-American woman to run LAUSD, according to LA School Report.