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Huntington Park Councilwoman Graciela Ortiz Announces Candidacy for LAUSD Board District 5

STAFF REPORT
Saturday July 28, 2018, 9:45 a.m.

City Councilwoman and LAUSD Educator Graciela Ortiz is compelled to make a difference by running for the LAUSD Board District 5 Seat. Ortiz plans on running a student and community focused campaign.

Huntington Park Councilwoman and LAUSD Educator Graciela Ortiz announced her intention to run for LAUSD Board District 5 special election and/or regular school board election, pending board decision. Ortiz is working overtime to ensure that students and communities are the winners in this election.

Ortiz stated: “The next school board member must be an individual that has the ability to unify other elected officials in order to ensure that our children are the priority; also critical is possessing the experience of being an educator. So many times we elect individuals that do not have the internal knowledge of places like LAUSD. This is crucial in order to understand the needs and challenges that our students face on a daily basis.  I hold both those traits and I am a product of LAUSD that is why I believe that I am the right candidate for the board seat.”

Ortiz has acquired the following impressive array of endorsements of elected officials all within board district 5, which places her ahead of the race in a district that represents the majority of Southeast Los Angeles where she was born and raised:

  • Jhonny Pineda, Mayor, City of Huntington Park
  • Karina Macias, Vice-Mayor, City of Huntington Park
  • Manuel “Manny” Avila, Councilmember, City of Huntington Park
  • Marilyn Sanabria, Councilmember, City of Huntington Park
  • Maria “Belen” Bernal, Mayor, City of South Gate
  • Denise Diaz, Councilmember, City of South Gate
  • Eddie De La Riva, Councilmember, City of Maywood
  • Melissa Ybarra, Councilmember, City of Vernon
  • Chris Garcia, Mayor, City of Cudahy
  • Christian Markovich, Councilmember, City of Cudahy
  • Baru Sanchez, Councilmember, City of Cudahy
  • Jose Lara, Board Member, El Rancho Unified School District
  • Jeffrey Prang, Los Angeles County Assessor

Ortiz said: “This is a community driven campaign where everyone will be represented.  As a school counselor for the past twelve years, I have always put the needs of students first.  A child’s education is the key to their success and the success of all our communities.  It’s time to unite and put the needs of the children first.  I will lead the fight to ensure that all our schools have equal resources, improved facilities and access to higher education for all students.”

Vice Mayor of Huntington Park, Karina Macias has complete confidence in Ortiz saying:  “This school board race shouldn’t be about public LAUSD schools vs. public charter schools, this is about putting the needs of the children first and the board coming together. I have experienced Ortiz’ leadership first-hand in bringing individuals together regardless of their political views and issues, and successfully coming to a common ground for the benefit of the community. That is why I wholeheartedly endorse  Ortiz for LAUSD School Board.”

Maria Belen Bernal, Mayor, City of South Gate stated “I’m supporting Councilwoman Ortiz for School Board because her qualifications as an educator, public servant and licensed clinical social worker will benefit the journey of our students at LAUSD.”

Chris Garcia, Mayor, City of Cudahy wrote, “We need a strong leader to represent the Southeast Cities of LAUSD.  Graciela will fight for our neighborhoods and ensure quality education for all our residents.”

Graciela Ortiz’s Biography

Ortiz was born and raised in Huntington Park as the youngest of four siblings. Her father died when she was only six months old, so her mother raised her on her own.  From a young age, Ortiz took her education seriously.  She began her educational career at Miles Avenue Elementary, proceeded to Gage Middle School, and graduated from Huntington Park High School in 1999 with high academic honors.

Immediately after graduating from high school, Ortiz attended her dream college, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  One of her greatest accomplishments at UCLA was establishing a chapter of Hermanas Unidas, which focuses on retention of Latinas at the university in order to ensure academic success and graduation.  Being a founding mother of Hermanas Unidas allowed Ortiz to learn outstanding leadership skills that have proved useful throughout her career. Upon graduating from UCLA, she decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), which she earned from California State University, Long Beach in 2006.  She also obtained her Pupil Personnel Services and Child Welfare and Attendance Credentials.  In October of 2016, Ortiz became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Ortiz always knew that her passion was in helping children and being their advocate. So, she became a Pupil Services and Attendance Counselor at LAUSD upon receiving her master’s degree.  She has served various LAUSD schools throughout the district in her twelve years as a counselor.  She served as a PSA Counselor at Banning High School, Peary Middle School, a Lead District Counselor, she worked with Sotomayor Learning Academies and for the past five years she has been working in her Huntington Park community at Linda Esperanza Marquez High School.  Although she focuses on students that have attendance problems, she works with all students, helping families break down the barriers that are impeding their children from being successful.  She advocates and provides resources to students on juvenile probation, in foster care, and for those who are homeless. Her experience helping the children of Huntington Park allows her to see issues from various perspectives and from a holistic point of view that now helps her problem solve and understand community issues as a Councilmember.

Ortiz was elected to serve on Huntington Park’s City Council in March 2015 and served as Vice- Mayor for the 2015-2016 term. Ortizwas elected by her peers to serve as Mayor at the March 1, 2016 meeting.  She served as Mayor of Huntington Park from March 1, 2016 to March 28, 2017. She currently represents Huntington Park on the HUB Cities Consortium Board in which she is the current Board Chair.

Ortiz strives to build communities through education.  She strongly believes that if our school system and communities work in collaboration, our society will strengthen and in turn improve the quality of life for all.  As a Councilmember, Ortiz has collaborated with all schools in the city to provide resources, opportunities and programs that will enhance the education of all children. Ortizknows that a child’s education is the key to their success and the success of all our communities.

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She’s being endorsed by Jose Lara, and by consequence, Union del Barrio, that alone, should tell everyone the kind of person she is. Are they planning on stealing more than they already have? beating up the other LAUSD school board members when she is elected? Is that why she’s running? No one with common sense should send their kids to LAUSD. It has become the pigpen of thugs who barely made it through college after six years +. I feel sad for whoever has no choice but send their kids to LAUSD.