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Montañez: Possible UTLA Candidate Against Garcia

Hillel Aron | December 4, 2012

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Annamarie Montanez

According to multiple sources familiar with the fast-approaching LAUSD school board race, the competition for District 2, currently held by School Board President Monica Garcia, is likely to attract the most energetic attention from UTLA, the powerful teachers union.

The candidate who may be the biggest challenge to Garcia is Annamarie Montañez.  The cousin of former State Assemblywoman Cindy Montañez, she’s considered an early favorite to capture the endorsement of UTLA, whose House of Representatives meets on Wednesday to vote on endorsing school board candidates.

“I feel confident” said Montañez in a recent conversation with LA School Report, when asked about the possibility of getting the union’s endorsement. “We had our interviews a week and a half ago. I feel very positive about the reception we got.”

Montañez, 40, was born and raised in Alahambra and now lives in El Sereno. An adult education teacher who began as a classroom aide, according to her online bio, she first became interested in school politics when LAUSD was considering cuts to adult education.

Concerned about the possible cuts, she and some of her students went to a board meeting to raise objections.

“I wasn’t too happy with the reception we got from the current school board,” she said. “I think there’s changes that need to be made.”

Montañez also discussed the need for charter schools to have more oversight.

District 2 represented in white

As depicted on this LAUSD map, District 2 stretches as far west as Wilshire Park, down past the 10 Highway, and out to Garfield High School.

If UTLA does manage to unseat Garcia, it would have a nominal majority on the board, although Dr. Richard Vladovic’s vote is far from a sure thing.

Just as important, however, would be the symbolic value of unseating the current School Board President, a leading advocate for charter schools and much of the “reform” agenda.

Montañez says she’s collected 650 signatures so far – she’ll gather a bit more before the December 5 deadline, in order to make sure that she has the 500 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

She doesn’t have a website up yet (though there’s something under construction here), but she does have a Facebook fan page.

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