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Garcetti Makes First Education Appointment (updated)

Hillel Aron | July 23, 2013

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Left to right: Eric Garcetti, Abigail Marquez and her husband, Carlo Marquez (via twitter)

Left to right: Eric Garcetti, Abigail Marquez and her husband, Carlo Marquez (via twitter)

Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed Abigail Marquez as “the associate director of education and workforce,” his first education-related appointment.

Marquez, an enthusiastic supporter and fundraiser for Garcetti during his recent election, formerly served as East Area director (a sort of community liaison) for Garcetti’s predecessor, Antonio Villaraigosa.  She is also on the board of Legacy LA, a non-profit focusing on “youth development.”

{Update: Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said Garcetti plans to hire someone for a position above Marquez to be the Director of Education and Workforce. As for the fusing of those two, Robb said, “One of things Mayor Garcetti has emphasized is streamlining things and bringing things together. We want to see K-through-12 improved, we want to see job training improved. We want to bring people in these various agencies together. We think that [Marquez] is well positioned to that.”}

Garcetti has been in office for more than three weeks, yet he’s made few high profile appointments or announcements and has given no indication of how involved he’ll be in public education — until, perhaps, now. His staff has previously indicated that he’ll have fewer Deputy Mayors than his predecessor.

Villaraigosa’s tenure as mayor included two relatively high profile Deputy Mayors for Education, both with extensive education bona fides — Ramon Cortines, who had served as Superintendent for both the Los Angeles and New York City school districts; and Joan Sullivan, who had founded the Bronx Academy of Letters High School. She was recently named head of Villaraigosa’s Partnership for LA Schools. 

Marquez did not respond to a request for comment. A Garcetti spokesman confirmed the appointment but did not elaborate on what Marquez’s portfolio would include or why she was chosen for the job. The fact that her job title includes “and workforce” suggests she will have more responsibilities than just education and may simply be the Mayor’s designated liaison to the School Board.

Mayor Villaraigosa made influencing school board politics a top priority, raising prodigious amounts of money for board candidates and waging public battles with the teachers union. It’s unclear at this early juncture whether Garcetti intends to follow the same path.

Previous posts: Update: Garcetti Might Change City Hall Education JobGarcetti’s Education Staffing Plans UnclearJoan Sullivan to Head LA Partnership Schools

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