First black LAUSD superintendent Michelle King dies at 57


Screenshot from USC Rossier School of Education

Previous Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Michelle King died at the age of 57.

By Kirsten Cintigo, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced that former Superintendent Michelle King died Saturday at the age of 57 from cancer.

King served as LAUSD superintendent from January 2016 to January 2018. However, in September 2017, she left on medical leave due to her battle with cancer, where she announced that following January she wouldn’t be returning to her position. Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian took over King’s position until the district decided on a replacement.

“Words cannot begin to describe the sorrow we feel, the love we shared with — and for — Dr. King, and the lasting impact she had on our communities,” LAUSD said in a released statement.

King was the first black woman to be selected to lead the district. She was also previously an educator and administrator under LAUSD, working at schools like Porter Middle School and Hamilton High School. King spent 33 years working for LAUSD.

“She devoted her entire professional life to students in Los Angeles and led our school district with all of the passion, skill and determination that it takes to be a powerful fighter for young people and their dreams,” Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted in a released statement.

Although King served for a short time, under her leadership the district formed a partnership with Great Public Schools Now, increased graduation rates and streamlined a district-wide program to make the process of choosing schools to attend easier.

“Dr. King was truly an inspiration,” the district announced in a statement. “Her warmth, love and generosity transformed countless lives and left a legacy that will continue to impact us for generations.”

This story was originally published on The Pearl Post on February 3, 2019.