The Los Angeles Board of Education is reconvening in closed session Friday at noon as anticipation mounts about the choice of the next leader of the nation’s second-largest school system. The presumed front-runner is former investment banker and philanthropist Austin Beutner, but interim Supt. Vivian Ekchian and former Baltimore Supt. Andres Alonso also are in the running.
Most district insiders appear to be rooting for Ekchian, who has spent her entire career in education within the school system. After her 10 years as a teacher, her roles have included head of human resources, chief labor negotiator and regional administrator for campuses in the west San Fernando Valley. She’s managed the district since September, when then-Supt. Michelle King went on medical leave and chose Ekchian to fill in for her. King, who is battling cancer, never returned and announced her retirement in January.
Numerous influential civic leaders have urged — and pressured — the board to select Beutner. Also lending their weight have been advocates for charter schools, which are independently operated, growing in number and competing for students with district-operated campuses. Four of the seven board members — enough to control the outcome — were elected with major financial support from charter supporters.