Michelle King, LAUSD’s First Black Female Superintendent, Dies

Former Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Michelle King has died after a battle with cancer, district officials announced Saturday. She was just 57 years old.

King began her career in education as a teacher’s aide and later as a teacher. She rose through the ranks, becoming chief deputy to former L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines. She was finally selected to head the nation’s second-largest school district in January of 2016, becoming the first African-American female to ever do so. In September of the following year, she was forced to take medical leave as a result of the cancer that ultimately claimed her life. She retired several months later.

During her short tenure, King was credited with helping bring LAUSD’s graduation rates to record highs. King’s supporters can only imagine what she could have accomplished with more time.

“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.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said California had “lost an incredible public education leader” and offered his condolences to both the district and her family.

Read more about the life and career of Michelle King here