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LA Unified board appoints a ‘liaison’ for vacant district seat

Vanessa Romo | February 18, 2014

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Sylvia Rousseau, USC Credit: Steve Cohen

Sylvia Rousseau, USC
Credit: Steve Cohen

In a closed session meeting — meaning, it was closed to the public — the LA Unified School Board named Sylvia Rousseau, a professor at USC,  as the “liason” to board District 1, starting in March.

The board seat has remained unrepresented at school board meetings since Marguerite LaMotte died in December.

The appointment is not totally official yet, nor is the position fully defined. The board will take the next two weeks to outline Rousseau’s duties and responsibilities and will vote to ratify her appointment at the next school board meeting, on March 4.

“It was not the most elegant process,” school board member Steve Zimmer told LA School Report.

Zimmer has been the most outspoken advocate for an interim representative for the district until the outcome of a special election in June.

“I don’t think it was anyone’s first choice for how this would be done, but it is quite a compromise,” he said. “In the end, everybody compromised.”

The decision comes just one week after the school board voted down two measures to appoint a temporary representative: One came from Zimmer, to have a non-voting “virtual board member,” who would report to the school board sit and on the horseshoe. The other was an effort from board president Richard Vladovic, directing Superintendent John Deasy to select and appoint an “executor” for the seat.

This will be a return to LA Unified for Rousseau. Now a professor of clinical education and urban scholar for the USC Rossier School of Education, she previously served as the Superintendent of Local District 7 from 2001 to 2005. She was also prinicipal of Santa Monica high school during the 1990s.

LaMotte’s former staffers were unaware of the development. District 1 Communications Director Vicki Phillips told LA School Report she did not know the board planned to make a decision today, nor that the board was considering Rousseau for the job.

Still, she is pleased District 1 constituents will have a voice again.

“This will provide us with the opportunity of having someone in the horseshoe who will represent us and our needs,” she said.

Previous Posts: The LA Unified board twice voted against a caretaker for vacant seat Steve Zimmer might have a ‘virtual’ solution to vacant board seat.

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