With current Los Angeles school board President Richard Vladovic termed out, two women who grew up as the daughters of immigrants in District 7 are facing off to take his seat as the district’s representative. Vladovic has held the seat since 2007.
Current board members are split on their endorsements of Patricia Castellanos, who currently works for an L.A. County supervisor, and Tanya Ortiz Franklin, who works for a nonprofit that manages L.A. public school campuses.
About the district:
It covers a swath of south Los Angeles County from Historic South-Central to San Pedro, including Gardena, Harbor Gateway, Watts and parts of South Los Angeles.
About the race:
Castellanos is endorsed by four board members including Vladovic, while the remaining three have thrown their support behind Franklin.
Castellanos is a lifelong District 7 resident, growing up in Carson as the daughter of immigrant workers and now raising her daughter in San Pedro, according to her campaign website. With her daughter in second grade at an LAUSD school, like District 3 candidate Koziatek she could become the only board member with a child enrolled in the district if elected.
The 50-year-old currently works as the workforce and economic development deputy for L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. She was formerly deputy director of the L.A. Alliance for a New Economy, a progressive group that advocates for working families, and co-founded Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles, an organization aligned with the L.A. teachers’ union.
Castellanos is endorsed by the four current LAUSD board members, as well as the teachers’ union, the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union and labor leader Dolores Huerta.
She also has the support of several elected officials including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, seven state lawmakers, three county supervisors and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Franklin, 36, is also a longtime District 7 resident, attending LAUSD schools in Harbor City from sixth grade through high school. Her mother immigrated from Mexico as a child, according to her campaign website.
She currently serves as senior director of school culture and restorative communities for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a nonprofit created by former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that manages 19 high-need LAUSD campuses, primarily in Watts, Boyle Heights and South L.A.
Franklin spent five years as a sixth-grade teacher at Stephen White Middle School, an L.A. Unified campus in Carson, before she says she was laid off with thousands of others in 2010. She also worked as attorney at Mental Health Advocacy Services after graduating law school at UCLA.
Along with three current school board members, Franklin has the support of former L.A. mayors Villaraigosa and Richard Riordan.