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Field of candidates for LAUSD school board narrows to final 7

LA School Report | March 13, 2014

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LAUSD-Election-Button The race is on. The Los Angeles City Clerk’s office released the final list of LA Unified school board candidates who qualified to appear on the ballot in the June 3 special election.

Of the 13 candidates who originally filed papers to run for the recently vacated seat, only seven submitted sufficient petitions with enough valid signatures to qualify.

The District 1 seat, left open by the death of longtime trustee, Marguerite LaMotte, covers much of South LA, stretching from Hancock Park to Gardena and has attracted a big cast — from little known teachers to a high-profile reality TV personality. One glaring omission on the final list of seven is absence of a Latino candidate: while the district is now predominately Hispanic, more black residents are active voters and the seat has been held by African American women for decades.


Genethia Hudley HayesGenethia Hudley-Hayes

A seasoned educator and civic leader, Hudley-Hayes has come under increased scrutiny recently after one of her opponents, Alex Johnson, uncovered inconsistencies in her resume. (For more on that story read here).  She served on the LA Unified school board from 1999 to 2003 and lost her bid for re-election to LaMotte. She has attracted the early support of former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Congresswoman Karen Bass.


Alex JohnsonAlex Johnson

Johnson, Assistant Senior Deputy for Education and Public Safety to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, is expected to show both fundraising and field muscle with powerful backing of Ridley-Thomas, former congresswoman Diane Watson and retired LA County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke.  Johnson, a product of a LAUSD education, says it is now his turn to give back to the district.


Rachel Johnson

Rachel Johnson

Johnson, a 30-year veteran teacher, is currently a kindergarten teacher at Purche Avenue Elementary School, one of many schools in District 1 that is outside of Los Angeles but part of LA Unified. She is also currently a Gardena City Councilwoman.

She said she had to “break rank with many of my political colleagues” in deciding to run.


omarosa manigaultOmarosa Manigault

Bringing unusual visibility to the special election, Manigault is a former TV personality best known for her contentious role on The Apprentice.

A teacher at Howard University, an ordained pastor, and a newly minted special education substitute teacher in LA Unified, Manigault says she was urged to seek office by concerned parents, community leaders, friends and family.

George McKenna

George McKenna

McKenna, a retired LA Unified administrator and former area superintendent, built support from the community on the issue of appointing a school board member, and he has a dedicated cadre of grassroots supporters who helped him become the first to submit his petition signatures to the City Clerk. He also has strong political backing:  Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Council member Bernard Parks and former Council member Jan Perry are among his supporters.

hattiemcfrazier-smHattie McFrazier

An LA Unified district lifer, McFrazier spent 31 years with the district, retiring in 2012. She held a variety of positions including teacher, counselor, School Attendance Review Board Chair and Health and Human Services Director.

She also held leadership roles in the National Education Association and California Teachers Association, and she continues to sit on UTLA’s board of directors.

McFrazier is expected to get the support of the UTLA SuperPAC called PACE, traditionally a big player in the school board elections.



Sherlett Hendy NewbillSherlett Hendy Newbill

Newbill, a teacher for 15 years and girl’s basketball coach at Dorsey High School, grew up in District 1. She has been the teachers union (UTLA) co-chapter chair at Dorsey for seven years.

She told LA School Report, “This community needs strong representation because our schools have been under-served and under-resourced for too long.” Newbill is also well positioned to get the backing of the teachers union political action committee, PACE.

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