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School Board Chooses Coleman to Fill de la Torre's Seat

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By Jorge Casuso

January 15, 2021 -- The School Board Thursday night appointed Keith Coleman to fill the seat Oscar de la Torre had refused to relinquish after being elected to the City Council in November.

A District parent with a diverse background, Coleman "brings expertise in strategy, public affairs, government relations (and) economic development" to the seven-member Board, District officials said.

Coleman -- who currently serves on the District's Intercultural Equity & Excellence Advisory Committee -- became the fourth Black member in the District's history.

“Keith has a powerful personal story that speaks to the need for more awareness of all students whose voices have not traditionally been heard or represented, whether that be in special education or through the lens of social justice,” said Board President Jon Kean.

“He will be a tremendous asset to the SMMUSD community and board of education.”

Coleman, who finished fifth in the November race for three open School Board seats, was chosen from among 23 applicants to replace de la Torre, who served on the Board for 18 years.

“I am humbled to serve on the SMMUSD Board of Education,” Coleman said. “It is dear to me, as my mom was a special educator for many years in Los Angeles: this is for her.

"It is exciting to begin working with board members, the superintendent, and the entire SMMUSD family in an excellence through equity vision that drives transformative learning experiences for students and reimagines equity gap considerations.

"Joining the district's team culture of responsibility, commitment, respect, and communication is welcoming," Coleman said. "I’m ready to support leadership innovation efforts in mental health and student well-being.”

Coleman holds a Master’s Degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s Degree in economics from Stanford University, where he is a distinguished visiting scholar with the graduate school of education, officials said.

A graduate of the USC SPIRE (Summer Program in Real Estate) program, he is a senior adviser for Capitol Partners and has served as executive vice president of public policy, chief strategy officer emeritus, for the Tesla Foundation.

Coleman will fill the remainder of de la Torre's term, which expires in November 2022, when he can run for re-election.

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