In Partnership with 74

Ridley-Thomas nominating Johnson to county board seat

LA School Report | August 20, 2014

Your donation will help us produce journalism like this. Please give today.

Mark Ridley-Thomas (left), Alex Johnson

Mark Ridley-Thomas (left), Alex Johnson


Barely a week after losing to George McKenna for an LA Unified School District board seat, Alex Johnson is eying another board seat.

His former boss, LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, has nominated him to fill a soon-to-be vacant seat on the LA County Board of Education, a body that hears appeals of disputes from local school districts and governs the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and International Polytechnic High School.

Johnson recently stepped down as Assistant Senior Deputy for Education and Public Safety for Ridley-Thomas, who played a major role in generating financial support for Johnson’s school board run.

While Johnson lost to McKenna by 1,814 votes, his campaign raised $421,522, and outside groups, many friendly to Ridley-Thomas, spent another $858,757 on his behalf. Both totals exceeded those for McKenna.

Johnson said on a telephone conference today he is exploring his next job opportunity. Whatever it is, it would need to accommodate a county board schedule that would require him to attend three meetings a month.

The county board is, effectively, a volunteer organization. Any member can be removed at any time, and members receive only a meeting fee of $150 and mileage costs.

Johnson told reporters his has made a commitment “to serve the second district,” which is Ridley-Thomas’s. “That’s my focus right now.” But he dodged a question about whether he would run for the LA Unified board seat he just lost, when it’s up again next year. McKenna was elected only to serve out the term of the former member, the late Marguerite LaMotte.

The vacancy on the seven-member County board is being created by the resignation of Rudell S. Freer, the longest-serving member who was first appointed in 1996 by Yvonne Burke. Freer will remain on the board until Sept. 9. 

For Johnson to claim the seat, he would have to be approved by a vote of the Board of Supervisors, each of whom gets to name one appointment for a four-year term. Two other members serve on the board for two-year terms through rotating appointments.

Johnson would have a four-year term.

Previous Posts: Johnson offers McKenna congratulations for his victory; Ridley-Thomas voter group going all out for Johnson; McKenna victory gives appearance of a pro-teacher union board

* Adds updated information on Johnson’s job status.

Read Next