Marguerite LaMotte, a member of the LA Unified school board since 2003, died this morning, the district has confirmed.
She was 80.
LaMotte had been attending a meeting of the California School Boards Association meeting in San Diego. Board President Richard Vladovic and Superintendent John Deasy were also attending.
LaMotte was the longest-serving member of the board and well-known for her passionate support for improving educational outcomes for students in her district, largely the south central area of Los Angeles.
“I’m saddened to learn of the passing of Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, an educator, administrator, and true trailblazer who dedicated her life to Los Angeles schools,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, said in a statement. “She was a good friend, and my wife Amy and I offer our deepest condolences to her family, colleagues, and all of those who were touched by her tireless work on behalf of L.A.’s students.”
The district today announced that the board’s next meeting, on Tuesday, will be cancelled, as well as a committee meeting that had been scheduled for today.
A graduate of Xavier Preparatory High School and the YMCA Business College in New Orleans, at age 18, LaMotte was appointed Director of Spaulding Business College in Baton Rouge. At the same time, 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 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 is survived by two children and four grandchildren.
*Adds statement from Mayor Eric Garcetti