George McKenna and Alex Johnson are the two final candidates vying for the LAUSD District 1 Board seat. Both George and Alex were the two top vote getters on the June 3rd primary and will now face-off in a runoff election on August 12, 2014. Prior to the primary, Government and Community Relations hosted a candidate forum with all of the candidates.
District 1 Profile
District 1 encompasses a large and diverse portion of South and Southwest Los Angeles and includes the following communities: Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Village, Crenshaw, Leimert Park, Jefferson Park, Angeles Mesa, Hyde Park, Gramercy Park, West Adams, Vermont Knolls, Mid City, Palms, Crescent Heights, Pico Union, western Heights, Wilshire Vista Heights, Koreatown, Arlington Heights, Wellington Square, Lafayette Square, Exposition Park, Chesterfield Square, and North University Park.
According to the LAUSD Charter School Division, there are currently 287 charter schools district-wide. District 1 has 46 (16 percent) charter schools as follows: 17 Elementary, 10 High Schools, 16 Middle Schools, 3 Span Schools (spans multiple levels-elementary and middle, middle and high, or elementary through high school).
Candidates for LAUSD District 1
Dr. George McKenna
BIO George McKenna is an educator who gained national attention for turning Washington High School from a violence torn, low achievement campus into a preparatory school that sent 80 percent of its graduates to college.
George McKenna’s story of advocacy, commitment, and dedication to education has been documented in the award-winning CBS television movie, “The George McKenna Story,” starring Denzel Washington.
George McKenna has been featured in Time, People, and Ebony Magazines; The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Christian Science Monitor newspapers; as well as CBS Evening News, Nightline, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
His career as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in Inglewood, Compton, Pasadena, and LAUSD, has prepared him to lead and serve as a strong advocate for children on the school board.
BIO Alex Johnson is Assistant Senior Deputy for Education and Public Safety to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Through his dual role as an education and public safety policy advisor, Alex has worked to alter the social dynamic that begins with a student’s poor education in childhood, progresses to a high dropout rate during high school, and ends with a young person’s future irrevocably altered by crime, conviction, and incarceration. To change that social dynamic, Alex worked with Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) founder, to create the first-ever CDF Freedom School in a California youth probation camp.
Alex is an accomplished education policy shaper, skilled legal practitioner, and influential advocate whose work and commitment to his community has bettered the lives of tens of thousands of Los Angeles area students. He has given hope to their parents through his dedicated efforts to improve education and broaden learning opportunities for students who are most in need.
Alex was born, raised, and educated in Los Angeles. He attended Rosewood Avenue Elementary School and graduated from LAUSD’s Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES). He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Atlanta’s Morehouse College and his Juris Doctor from American University’s Washington College of Law.