George McKenna

Los Angeles, CA – Esteemed educator and school administrator Dr. George McKenna, III, whose turnaround of Washington Prep High School led to an award-winning movie starring Denzel Washington, has officially entered the race to fill the Los Angeles Unified School District Board District 1 seat.

“The confidence the community has recently shown in my experience and qualifications to complete Marguerite LaMotte’s term and serve our children on the school board has been humbling,” said McKenna. “So I am in it, and I expect to win it.”

McKenna had been the source of a month-long grassroots campaign to pressure the LAUSD board to immediately appoint him to complete the late Marguerite LaMotte’s term, which ends on June 30, 2015. Over 100 parent groups, education groups and community leaders, including school board members, elected officials and ecumenical leaders, endorsed the “Appoint McKenna Now” effort. On January 7, in a controversial 4-2 decision, the school board voted to conduct a special election to fill the seat instead of appointing an interim replacement with full voting privileges that would have led to immediate representation. The special election will be held during the June 3, 2014 state primary.

“The conversation on how to fill the vacancy caused by the death of my friend, Marguerite LaMotte, sparked a grassroots education movement in District 1 that I have not seen in over a generation,” commented McKenna. “More people today are focused on our children’s educational needs because of the ‘Appoint McKenna Now’ effort and that is a great thing. I am committed to continuing this important conversation in every living room throughout District 1 from Hancock Park to Hyde Park, from Cheviot Hills to Windsor Hills. It is going to be a lively debate and I believe that come Election Day the voters will see that I am the most qualified and most experienced candidate with the best values and plans for our children’s future.”

McKenna will open his campaign account with a $1,000 contribution from Marguerite LaMotte’s long-time partner Mel Morris.

“Marguerite was a close personal friend to me, so I am proud to launch the campaign to complete her term with Mel’s support. He and the rest of Marguerite’s family remain in my prayers.”

The George McKenna Story

Denzel Washington starred as George McKenna in the 1986 award-winning CBS television movie, “The George McKenna Story.”

McKenna is among the country’s most accomplished and honored school principals and school district administrators. In just 4 years as principal of George Washington Preparatory High School, located in District 1, he successfully changed the inner-city high school that had been torn by violence, low achievement and lack of community confidence, into a school with an attendance waiting list and nearly 80% of the graduates enrolled in college. It is a feat that is the subject of the 1986 award-winning CBS television movie starring Denzel Washington, “The George McKenna Story.” As an administrator McKenna has served as Superintendent of the Inglewood UnifiedSchool District, Deputy Superintendent in Compton, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools in Pasadena, and most recently as a Local District Superintendent in LAUSD’s Board District 1.

For more information on the campaign, please visit