President, Board of Education
Los Angeles Unified School District
M—nica Garc’a was elected to the Board of Education in June 2006, becoming the third Latina to serve on the Board in its 155 year history. As a board member, she gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of children and families that rely on education for access to good jobs, healthcare and a sustainable quality of life. In affirming her commitment to a quality and equitable educational system, Ms. Garc’a supports initiatives that provide all students access to a college preparatory curriculum, and to career and technology pathways. She has earned a reputation as a bold, optimistic, and aggressive leader in education reform.
In July 2007, Ms. Garc’a was elected unanimously by her peers as president of the Board of Education on a mandate of change. In her first year in office Ms. Garc’a has made tremendous strides. She introduced a set of eight resolutions for concrete reform, including the Diplomas for All Resolution that for the first time sets into policy the goal of 100% graduation by 2015. Ms. Garc’a has also begun shepherding in reform through promoting the Innovation model for greater school autonomy and responsibility, through the Belmont Zone of Choice, and through partnerships with the larger community to support student success. She has led the charge to develop and implement a comprehensive instructional strategy that includes, at its core, a focus on English Learners and Standard English Learners.
Ms. Garc’a comes to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) with experience from the school site to the boardroom. For six years, Ms. Garc’a served as an Academic Advisor at Foshay Learning Center in South Los Angeles through the Volunteers of AmericaŐs Educational Talent Search Program. Through her work as a guidance counselor, Ms. Garc’a developed a keen insight into the individual needs of students and their families. More importantly, she solidified her belief that when given the opportunity and access, every child CAN learn.
Ms. Garc’a has deep roots in the community and has devoted her life to making Los Angeles a better place to live, work and raise a family. As Director of Community Services for Eastmont Community Center, Ms. Garcia provided direct social services, referrals and opportunities for community education. As the co-founder and co-director of Comadres In Action and the Soy Inteligente Project, Ms. Garc’a designed and implemented college readiness skills workshops for first generation college students and their families. She was also a founding member of Camp College Los Angeles, which provided high school and college counseling to hundreds of LAUSD middle school students.
Prior to joining the Board of Education, Ms. Garc’a served as Chief of Staff to LAUSD Board President JosŽ Huizar throughout his four-year tenure. As Chief of Staff, Ms. Garc’a was an effective leader and focused her efforts to reduce dropout rates and improve academic achievement. Ms. Garc’a worked side by side with Mr. Huizar to increase opportunities for all students and their families. Their efforts contributed to creating safer schools, laying the groundwork for building new schools to ensure all students attend two-semester neighborhood schools by 2012, and establishing a policy that guarantees every student in the district graduates college-prepared and career-ready.
Ms. Garc’a was born and raised in East Los Angeles. She attended local schools and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Chicano Studies and Political Science. She later earned her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California.