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Marlene Canter was overwhelmingly elected to the Los Angeles City Board of Education in June 2001 and again in March of 2005. She served as President of the Board from 2005 to 2007. The Los Angeles Business Journal named her Woman Executive of the Year in May 2006 for her leadership of the Board. In 2008, the League of Women Voters presented her with their Government Leadership Award.
Ms. Canter represents students and their families in neighborhoods stretching from the Valley to the Pacific Ocean, including the communities of Encino, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Miracle Mile, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Westwood, Venice, Westchester, Mar Vista, Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Rey.
Ms. Canter chairs the Board’s Charters and Innovation Committee, a new committee she conceived to help drive school and District transformation. The Committee supports the District’s efforts to create innovative partnerships, provide oversight for charter schools, and to facilitate reforms in the District.
During her tenure on the Board, Ms. Canter has made children’s health and well-being one of her top priorities. She authored the resolutions to ban the sale of soft drinks and junk food in LAUSD schools – which passed in 2002 and 2003, respectively – making LAUSD the first large urban district in the nation to approve such bans. California and many other districts have since adopted similar nutrition reforms.
Drawing on her 30-year career as co-CEO of a successful teacher training company, Ms. Canter also created the Board’s Human Resources Committee. The committee, which she chaired for 4 years, oversaw impressive improvement in the recruitment of highly qualified teachers. Ninety-four percent of the District’s new hires now meet the State’s definition of highly qualified compared to 64 percent of new hires in 2002/03.
Ms. Canter began her career in education as a special education teacher at Alta Loma Elementary School. She went on to co-found and serve as the co-CEO of Canter & Associates, now Laureate Education, Inc. The company became one of the world’s leading teacher-training organizations and trained more than 1 million K-12 teachers worldwide. It developed an extensive catalogue of professional development programs, distance learning graduate courseware and resource materials for teachers, administrators, and parents.
Ms. Canter sits on State Superintendent Jack O’Connell’s P-16 Council and on the Board of Directors for her alma mater, Pacific Oaks College. She is also an advisor to the Children’s Partnership, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan child advocacy organization. Ms. Canter also has served on the Boards of Directors for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Kehillath Israel Synagogue of Pacific Palisades.