Former Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Michelle King, the first African American woman to lead the district but who took a medical leave for cancer treatment last year, has died, the district announced Saturday.
“We are deeply saddened to share that our beloved former Superintendent Dr. Michelle King, has passed away,” the district said in a statement. “She was a collaborative and innovative leader who broke down barriers to create more equitable opportunities for every student. Her warmth, love and generosity transformed countless lives and left a legacy that will continue to impact us for generations.”
The Board of Education selected King for the superintendent’s job in January 2016. A career L.A. Unified employee, she rose with consistently good reviews to the No. 2 leadership position but had never led a school district. She brought to the job strong internal support but a certain discomfort in the spotlight, even before her ailment, that contrasted with her predecessors.
King's major accomplishment was pushing the graduation rate to record levels by allowing students to quickly make up credits for failed classes. Her major initiative had been to expand the number of schools with special programs to offset declining enrollment caused by the growth of independently operated charter schools.
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