Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was honored with the 2011 Hart Vision Award for Elected Leader of the Year by the California Charter School Association. Mayor Villaraigosa has been an outstanding force in the education reform efforts in Los Angeles, a great support for advocacy efforts with his support of the Public School Choice initiative, and an advocate for school facilities under Proposition 39.
Mayor Villaraigosa, a native of East Los Angeles, is currently serving his second term in office. He oversees the Partnership for L.A. Schools, which runs ten of the lowest-performing schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and is already seeing an improvement in test scores. His campaign for mayor was successfully run with an education platform that embodied true reform in public education.
Mayor Villaraigosa's sense of civic justice and political action began at a young age. As a high school student, he volunteered with the farm workers movement, led student walkouts and organized an African-American student union. In 1994, the Mayor was elected to the California State Assembly and, four years later, his colleagues elected him the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years.
In addition to his mayoral leadership and advocacy of the charter school movement, the Mayor has consistently supported calls for increased accountability in all public schools, including charters, by setting a goal to transform public education, and bring innovation and choice to the students of Los Angeles. He is a strong advocate for blurring the lines between charter and traditional schools until the distinctions ceases to exist.