What a day it was!!
Last Saturday, I attended the open community event, in honor of Dr. George J. McKenna, III. A man who is a nationally-renowned leader for our youth in inner-city school districts throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. It was such a beautiful sight to see: parents, students, teachers, LAUSD board members, community leaders, and other key attendees offering support for the induction of our new LAUSD Board Member, representing District 1.
It was such an honor meeting a divine gentleman, with a stellar vision for the advancement of our youth. I also had the extreme pleasure of meeting U.S. Congresswoman, Maxine Waters, Representative of the 43rd congressional district of California. Thank you for giving the youth a voice, Dr. McKenna!!
The full press release is below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2014
Nationally-Renowned Educator George McKenna Elected to LAUSD Board of Education
Despite being outspent over 3 to 1, McKenna prevailed by building a coalition of community and educators.
Los Angeles, CA – Dr. George McKenna, the internationally-recognized educator whose turnaround of South Central Los Angeles’ Washington Prep High School led to the made-for-TV movie starring Denzel Washington, “The George McKenna Story,” overcame a 3-to-1 funding disadvantage to be elected to the District 1 seat of the school board that oversees America’s second largest school district.
McKenna ran a comparatively lean campaign that heavily relied upon a superior campaign strategy and the support of activist teachers and education, parent, community, and ecumenical leaders/organizations. The campaign built on the grassroots effort to appoint McKenna to the vacancy caused by the unexpected death of long-time board member Marguerite LaMotte on December 5, 2013. In January, the LAUSD school board rejected that call from the community, opting instead for a special election, which has left District 1 unrepresented for over 9 months.
In response to the 53% to 47% electoral result, McKenna said:
“The community won and sent a message that District 1 is not for sale.
“I am honored to succeed my long-time friend and colleague Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. She was a champion for children and can never be replaced.
“I feel so privileged to have earned the trust and confidence of District 1 voters to be their school board representative.
“Today was an important day for the district, because of our election and because it marked the first day of school. Tonight, at dinner tables across our region children are telling stories about new adventures in learning, and teachers are assessing the day’s successes and challenges. They all should know how proud I am to be their board member, and how committed I am to their success. I am here to help every student reach their God-given potential, and give every teacher the support they need to fulfill their calling to education.
“The coalition we have built of parents, community and educators will not dissipate now that the electoral process is complete. Now begins the hard work of transforming our district, liberating our children, and emancipating our communities. Our task is not easy, but I welcome the challenge. I have never accepted an easy assignment in my career, yet I have always improved the educational outcomes of children. I will draw on the best of my experience, assemble an able team of advisors, and work in partnership with parents, teachers and the community to pursue excellence in our schools.
Let’s get to work.”
With five decades of experience, George McKenna has served at all levels of the educational ladder, including classroom mathematics teacher, principal and local district superintendent within LAUSD. Additionally, he served as Superintendent of the Inglewood USD, Deputy Director of the Compton USD and Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools in the Pasadena USD. He currently serves as an educational consultant, providing professional development and support to school districts and community organizations throughout the country.
McKenna has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally for his work in transforming schools, improving student performance and increasing community interest and involvement in local schools. With more than 400 citations, he has been profiled in national publications, including Time, People and Ebony magazines; television shows, including “Nightline” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show;” and numerous newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and The Christian Science Monitor.