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By Randy Economy
Longtime Los Angeles Unified School Board Member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte has died at the age of 80.
LaMotte’s death was confirmed by a spokesperson with the LAUSD. The cause of death was not disclosed.
LaMotte was elected to represent District 1 of the LAUSD Board in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007 and again in 2011, and prided herself as being an educator and advocate for children all of her adult life.
LaMotte arrived in Los Angeles in 1973 to continue her career in education and realized that her life had been defined by “a passionate love of education and public service.”
According to her on line bio provided by LAUSD officials, LaMotte was first assigned to Drew Junior High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), LaMotte’s determined efforts spurring underachieving students to scholastic excellence earned her a rapid succession of promotions. From Drew, LaMotte went to Edison Junior High to become Head Counselor, then to Francis Polytechnic High School, where she was Assistant Principal and, in 1984, to Horace Mann Junior High as Principal, where she also gained a sterling reputation for triggering scholastic improvement on each level.
In addition to her accomplishments in improving student performance, she was featured on NBC Nightly News, and other national and local news television programs which focused on the extraordinary scholastic performance and student behavior under her leadership at various secondary schools in Los Angeles.
The promotions continued in 1988, when LaMotte was appointed Director of Secondary Instruction for LAUSD’s Administrative Region “C.” After one year in that post, she was promoted to Region Administrator of Operations.
Although LaMotte’s successes placed her on the fast track to higher administrative rewards, she yearned to return to the front line where she could directly impact students.
LaMotte requested that opportunity and was soon challenged with the principalship of Washington Preparatory High in 1991. Under her direction, Washington Prep received an Outstanding Accreditation Review by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges for a maximum 6-year period. She credits staff with developing an innovative Study Skills Program for school-wide success. In addition a standards-based lesson guide was produced, which placed Washington Prep in the forefront of schools using common lesson plans and curriculum mapping. Since her retirement from Washington Prep, she has been serving on the school advisory board at a local school and has been volunteering at “A Place Called Home.”
A graduate of Xavier Preparatory High School and the YMCA Business College in New Orleans, at age 18, she was appointed Director of Spaulding Business College in Baton Rouge. Despite the rigorous demands of such an important appointment, she attended Southern University at the same time, earned a BA degree in Education, and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1961. She earned a M.Ed. in 1965 from Louisiana State University, where she was also the first African American woman to serve as visiting professor in the undergraduate school of education.
LaMotte has served as President of the Los Angeles Council of Black Administrators (COBA); President of the L.A. Chapter of Southern University Alumni, Los Angeles Chapter; President of the Assault on Illiteracy Program and as a volunteer and member of numerous community and civic organizations. She was an active member of her church and has two children and four grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
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