Medical Challenges Prompt Retirement of LAUSD Superintendent Michele King
It was just a year ago that for the first time in its 163-year history, the Los Angeles Unified School District selected an African American woman—Michelle King to serve as the new superintendent. Last week, King announced that she was stepping down.
“I have had the honor of serving as the superintendent of L.A. Unified for two years, although I have been challenged by medical issues for the last several months,” King said in a statement. “During this time, I have been undergoing treatment for cancer. Now, with the progression of my illness, I have made the incredibly difficult decision to retire by June 30. Until then, I will remain on medical leave.
“I am very thankful for the outpouring of support I have received from the entire L.A. Unified family, our community partners and my colleagues across the nation, King continued. “As I aggressively fight this illness, I ask that you continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.”
King, 55, graduated from UCLA with a biology degree and holds a master’s degree in administration from Pepperdine University. The veteran educator—who has been on medical leave since September—has worked at L.A. Unified since 1978 when she started as a student aide.
Fellow LAUSD board members hailed her as an exemplary educator, inspirational role model and steadfast leader.
“Having dedicated her career to the District, it is now time for Dr. King to focus her incredible strength and energy on her health,” a statement from the LAUSD board read. “We wholeheartedly support her decision to retire, and will continue to keep her in our thoughts and prayers as she faces the challenges ahead.”
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) also offered their support.
“As educators across Los Angeles, we send our support to Dr. Michelle King, and stand in steadfast solidarity with her in her battle against cancer. As a Los Angeles Unified School District student, parent, support staff, educator, and administrator, Dr. King brought decades of public education experience to her role as Superintendent. We celebrate her many accomplishments and her fundamental, action-backed belief in a public school district that serves all students.”
Said King, “I am honored to be a graduate of L.A. Unified and to have served this amazing District for the last 33 years. With the collaboration of our students, parents, employees, board members and community partners, our District will continue to close the opportunity and achievement gaps and provide a high-quality education for our future leaders.”