LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angles Unified School District has announced the death of
former Superintendent Dr. Michelle King.

King went on medical leave in September 2017, and announced in January 2018 that she had cancer and would not be returning to work. During that time, she announced she was retiring.

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King became superintendent in January 2016.

A statement Saturday from the LAUSD read, in part, “Words cannot begin to describe the sorrow we feel, the love we shared with — and for — Dr. King and the lasting impact she had on our communities. Her dedication to uplift every student, family and employee within Los Angeles Unified was second to none.”

They added, “As a Los Angeles Unified graduate, parent, life-long educator, and the first African-American woman to lead the district, Dr. King was truly an inspiration. She was a collaborative and innovative leader who broke down barriers to create more equitable opportunities for every student. Her warmth, love and generosity transformed countless lives and left a legacy that will continue to impact us for generations.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti also issued a statement of condolence to her family, friends and colleagues.

He wrote, in part, “Dr. Michelle King’s life and career encapsulated what it means to be an Angeleno: excellence, kindness, integrity, service above self. She devoted her entire professional life to students in Los Angeles, and led our school district with all of the passion, skill and determination that it takes to be a powerful fighter for young people and their dreams”

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Dreams was a common theme in tributes for the late superintendent.

California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) President and CEO Myrna Castrejón also issued a statement.

The statement said, in part, “I loved working with Michelle King. From her many years as a teacher and administrator, she had a deep and clear understanding of the reality of the lives of students and families in LAUSD. Dr. King dedicated her life to education and to helping generations of students in Los Angeles realize their dreams.”

King did not disclose the type of cancer she was battling only asking for the support of family and friends as well as her LAUSD colleagues.

LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King

When she announced her retirement, she said, “I am very thankful for the outpouring of support I have received from the entire L.A. Unified family, our community partners and my colleagues across the nation. As I aggressively fight this illness, I ask that you continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.”

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King is survived by her daughters, parents and a brother, said the LAUSD.