Michelle King, who has spent her entire career in the Los Angeles school district, was named the new superintendent of the nation’s second-largest school system last week.
King, 54, becomes the first woman in more than 80 years, and the first African-American woman, to lead the 650,000-student district. Her selection marks the end of a nationwide search that began last fall.
“Ms. King has experience as a teacher, administrator, and top district leader, and is known for her collaboration with parents, teachers, and the community,” school board President Steve Zimmer said in a statement.
She succeeds Ramon Cortines, who retired this month, and had led the district since his departure, as well as serving as top deputy for him and his predecessor, John Deasy.
King’s deep knowledge of the district will come in handy as she works to stabilize the sprawling, financially challenged district. The school system’s budget deficit is expected to rise above $300 million within two school years. She’ll also work under an activist school board with often competing interests.
A Los Angeles native and product of the school system, King decided on a teaching career while majoring in biology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
She began her 31-year career in the district as a middle school math and science teacher. From there, she rose from assistant principal to principal, chief administrator of secondary instruction, local district superintendent, the superintendent’s chief of staff, senior deputy superintendent, and chief deputy superintendent.
A version of this article appeared in the January 20, 2016 edition of Education Week as L.A. Selects Homegrown Candidate as New Superintendent