Local Rodriguez Now LAUSD Board President

Ref Rodriguez

Local representative Dr. Ref Rodriguez was elected president of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education by a close vote of 4-3 in July, replacing former president and John Marshall High School teacher Steve Zimmer, who lost his seat on the board to challenger Nick Melvoin in the May 16th general election.

Rodriguez, a prominent charter school advocate and co-founder of the non-profit charter school organization Partnerships to Uplift Communities, represents District 5 on the board, which includes Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Atwater Village among other neighborhoods.

“The first of five children of Mexican immigrants to graduate from college,” according to his LAUSD biography, Rodriguez has said he was drawn to charter schools as a way to provide a higher quality education to students in Cypress Park, the predominantly Latino neighborhood where he grew up.

His election, for some, signals a policy shift for the board, which as of July 6th has a pro-charter majority, according to several media reports. But Rodriguez has repeatedly pushed back against the media’s concept of a pro-charter vs. anti-charter binary, emphasizing his commitment to all students.

“I stand true to my beliefs of providing high quality education for every child, supporting our communities, and ask that we put the most important people at the forefront of our actions, our students,” he said in a statement following his election.

True to that sentiment, Rodriguez, minutes after his election, introduced a resolution to shift board priorities away from finances and towards students. That resolution passed 6-1.

Also nominated for the board’s presidency was District 7 Rep. Dr. Richard Vladovic, who previously held the role for the 2013-14 school year.

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