LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved the appointment of Vivian Ekchian as interim superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Ekchian, has been serving as acting superintendent since October, when Superintendent Michelle King went of medical leave. On Friday, King announced her retirement citing a diagnosis of cancer and saying that she wanted to focus on her treatement.
“I am humbled and honored to serve the students, families, and employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District as interim superintendent,” said Ekchian in a statement issued on Tuesday evening by the board of education.
“I look forward to accelerating the transformative work that is occurring throughout the District, while maintaining our steadfast focus on 100 percent graduation that will guarantee college, career, and life readiness for our shining stars,” she added.
“We have confidence in Ms. Vivian Ekchian’s ability to lead the team during this critical period,” said School Board President Mónica García. “L.A. Unified’s commitment to access and equity will continue without interruption.”
Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said, “Vivian has once again answered the call of this Board to serve. Her leadership of the District over the last few months has earned her our confidence in this interim appointment, and her steady hand ensures that we can keep working to increase student achievement during this period of transition.”
Ekchian, 57, has spent her entire career at LAUSD. Prior to filling in for King, she was Associate Superintendent overseeing human resources and the office of parent and community services.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti welcomed Ekchian’s appointment, expressing confidence in her leadership and dedication.
“The Board of Education made a wise choice with the selection of Vivian Ekchian as Interim Superintendent of LAUSD. She is a respected educator and proven administrator — who will provide the strong leadership and dedication that our young people deserve, and build on the progress that Michelle King delivered in her time leading the District. Angelenos are grateful to Interim Superintendent Ekchian for stepping up at a difficult moment, and I look forward to working closely with her to expand partnerships between LAUSD and the City that are helping to bring students closer to their dreams,” said Garcetti in a statement issued minutes after Ekchian’s appointment.
“The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region warmly congratulates Vivian Ekchian on her appointment as Interim Superintendent of LA Unified School District,” said Nora Hovsepian chairwoman of the ANCA-WR Board. “We look forward to continuing our past work with the school district and expanding our efforts under her capable leadership to effectively address the needs and aspirations of the tens of thousands of Armenian students enrolled in LAUSD.”
The LA School Board on Tuesday also announced plans for a search for a permanent superintendent. Ekchian’s appointment does not mean that she will be named to the permanent position. However, sources at the school indicate that she is a strong internal candidate.
The LA Unified School District is the second largest in the United States (behind New York) and enrolls more than 640,000 student in kindergarten to 12th grade. It operates 960 schools and 187 public charter schools spread over 730 square miles, according to the district’s statistics.