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dr. michelle king

“Sometimes in life, we don’t think that certain positions are available to us particularly if you’re a youth, a minority, that job or that position or that role might not be for you because you don’t see many role models, you don’t see many folks in those positions. I feel that the superintendent appointment has said to, particularly young women, that...


- Dr. Michelle King

Dr. Michelle King was the first African American woman to be the superintendent of LAUSD and the first woman to hold that title in 80 years.

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GALA is honored to share our name with Dr. Michelle King. You can see her incredible legacy and life in the video below. 

An excerpt on her life from LASCHOOLREPORT: 

"King described herself as an LAUSD “lifer.”  When she was promoted to superintendent, she said, “I want to be a role model for students who look like me.” 

EDUCATION: King attended LAUSD schools, including Pacific Palisades High School and graduated from UCLA.


TEACHING: King taught science and math at Porter Middle School in Granada Hills. She was promoted to a coordinator for the math, science and aerospace magnet at Wright Middle School in Westchester.


ADMINISTRATION: Dr. King served as assistant principal and principal at Hamilton High School. She then joined the ranks of L.A. Unified administrators in positions heading the division of student health and human services, interim chief instructional officer for secondary education and was superintendent of a western and southwestern region of the district. She was Superintendent for Local District West, encompassing schools in the West and South west regions of the city.

SUPERINTENDENT: "She was chosen by Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines to be his chief of staff. She served as deputy superintendent under John Deasy and was named chief deputy by Cortines in October 2014 when Cortines came back to the district to replace Deasy. She was appointed School Superintendent in January 2016 by a unanimous vote of support from the LAUSD school board. She was the first African American woman to serve as LAUSD school superintendent. In her first year as superintendent, King visited about 100 schools on a “listen and learn” tour to hear from students, teachers and parents. On school visits, she was treated like a rock star, as students and staff asked to take selfies with her. 


Dr. Liz Hicks and Dr. Michelle King worked closely together at Hamilton High School, and at Local District West. Together they initiated the 10-schools project addressing the needs of African American students in Local District West. When GALA founder Dr. Hicks discussed the  idea and vision for GALA, Dr. King stated she was “all in.” Dr. King was familiar with the all-girls model as one of her daughters attended an all-girls school, and she was incredibly supportive as Dr. Hicks navigated LAUSD to approve the founding of the school. Dr. King counted as one of her most important achievements the support for the passage of the GALA school plan and the opening of the school.



Dr. King spoke at the opening ceremony at GALA and continued to support the school. She visited the school many times and enjoyed meeting with students and faculty. Many of our GALA students built a strong bond with D.Michelle King.


In July 2017, the single gender model faced a challenge from the state legislature. State Assembly member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and Senator Holly Mitchell proposed AB23, a bill that would align federal and state legal requirements regarding single gender education.

LAUSD Board Member George McKenna, Superintendent King, Dr. Hicks and several parents and students at GALA lobbied in Sacramento for the passage of AB23. AB23 passed allowing single gender schools within LAUSD to continue.

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gala honors dr. king

In February 2019, Dr. King lost her battle with cancer at the age of 57.


In March 2019, Dr. Michelle King's name was officially added to GALA. Her daughter was there to speak at the event in her honor.


We are officially now Girls Academic Leadership Academy: Dr. Michelle King School for STEM.


dr. michelle king

MEMORIAL scholarship fund

Dr. Michelle King's family has established the Dr. Michelle King Memorial Scholarship Fund. This scholarship will provide recognition to a GALA graduating senior, accepted to a four year University, who demonstrates academic excellence, community service and leadership, the principles with which Dr. King led her life and career. This scholarship honors the life of this remarkable woman insuring that the spirit of her work lives on through the hard work and dedication of our GALA girls. Your contribution to this fund will literally help change the lives of GALA girls... inspiring them and enabling them to become the trailblazers, innovators, and leaders of tomorrow. 

To donate to the scholarship fund:


dr. michelle king IN THE NEWS

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