- Los Angeles Superintendent Michelle King revealed Friday that she has cancer and will retire by June, EdSource reports.
- King, 56, had been on medical leave since September, and her tenure was marked by ambitious graduation rate goals, status as a homegrown role model for disadvantaged students, and efforts to move the district past controversies that preceded her time in the superintendency.
- Associate Superintendent Vivian Ekchian will serve as acting superintendent until a permanent replacement is found, following what EdSource described as a "somewhat controversial" decision that didn't involve the elected school board.
King's departure is the second recent announced exit by the head of one of the nation's two largest districts, with New York City's Carmen Fariña having announced her retirement as schools chancellor in December.
As a homegrown leader, King had an innate understanding of the challenges facing LAUSD and its students and families. That sort of understanding is a quality many experts have cited as being sorely needed in districts of all types in the discussion of how to nurture current students with an interest in future teaching careers.
Prior to King's tenure, the district faced challenges including a federal investigation into an iPad initiative that had already seen its share of hiccups, school segregation, charter fights and budget crunches. But King had tried to overcome these issues by working with a variety of stakeholders, from students and families to unions and charter advocates, to identify commonalities and find a place where everyone could agree.