At its annual meeting Thursday, July 6th, the seven members of the Los Angeles Unified School District board of education unanimously elected Marlene Canter to serve a second consecutive one-year term as board president.
Canter represents board district four, which includes Los Angeles Unified School District public schools from Westchester to Venice and other surrounding communities.
School board members said Canter has made collaboration with parents, community groups and the various unions within the district a “hallmark of her presidency.”
In May, she was named Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Female Executive of the Year” for her work as president of the school board.
“I call upon all leaders, including every board member, to remember that we are role models for our children,” Canter said. “Partnerships don’t need to be legislated, but I am committed to building relationships across this district to ensure that our children have the very finest education.”
School board members also commended Canter for her leadership during a time when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is lobbying Sacramento lawmakers to approve changes to the Los Angeles Unified governance structure.
“This past year has not been easy and next year may be even harder,” said board member Mike Lansing.
“But you’ve been a force to keeping us together and moving on the path forward,” Lansing told Canter.
“You’ve stood up to the plate and done the job above and beyond what has been asked of you,” said Jon Lauritzen, whom Canter tapped to serve a second term as school board vice president.
“I know you’ll do equally as well this year,” Lauritzen told Canter.
As president, Canter is responsible for conducting all regular school board meetings, which are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month unless a change is announced in advance.
The president also appoints committee members and chairs special board meetings to take action on time-sensitive matters that cannot wait for the next regular meetings.
Canter started her career in education more than 30 years ago as a special education teacher at Alta Loma Elementary School, which is in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
She co-founded Canter and Associates, a teaching training company which was sold to Sylvan Learning Centers in 1998.
She was elected to the school board in 2001, re-elected in 2005 and the same year selected by the school board for her first term as president.
While on the school board, she authored a ban on soda and junk food in schools, spearheaded a strategic plan to improve teacher quality, and increased the percentage of highly qualified teachers from 75 percent to 95 percent, according to the district.
“Marlene has been a true leader and a champion for Los Angeles students,” said district superintendent Roy Romer.
“Thanks to her perseverance, ability to build consensus and dedication to children, the district has achieved remarkable gains in recent years.”