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LAUSD Board Names Longtime Administrator Michelle King as New Superintendent

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The Los Angeles Board of Education on Monday named Deputy Supt. Michelle King as superintendent, ending a high-stakes search to fill a challenging and hard-to-fill job at a seminal time in California’s largest school system.

King, 54, was considered a reliable choice because she came up through the system. But some district observers voiced surpise at her selection after the board sent a prominent head-hunting firm on a months-long nationwide quest to recruit potential leaders, including those outside the field of education.

King, formerly a respected high school principal, has cultivated a low profile as a senior administrator, keeping her views on where she would like to take Los Angeles Unified a mystery, as is protocol for leaders within the $7-billion bureaucracy.

But board members said that she impressed them in their long interviews behind closed doors. They said they appreciated her knowledge of L.A. Unified, which, they concluded, would allow her to tackle the school system’s problems without delay.

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Michelle King served as L.A. Unified's No. 2 administrator under the two previous superintendents before applying for the top job herself. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Michelle King served as L.A. Unified's No. 2 administrator under the two previous superintendents before applying for the top job herself. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)