An Icon Passes: Marguerite La Motte
At the Schools with Audrey Linden
Marguerite La Motte, a legendary figure with LAUSD, first as a teacher, and an administrator and a School Board member passed away in San Diego at an educational conference, December 5th. Marguerite La Motte was a dedicated woman who was always about being of service to her students, her “babies” as she referred to them. It is altogether fitting that she passed away at the age of eighty while at a conference doing what she loved best.
When she failed to show up for breakfast, Ms. La Motte was found unresponsive in her room when her absence was noted and people went to check on her. She was pronounced dead a short time later. It is also fitting that she and another great, another treasure, Nelson Mandela, passed on the same day. Both icons were such staunch and independent figures. They are in good company.
La Motte was always fighting for her “babies” as School Board President, Richard Vladovic noted in the LA Times. Marguerite La Motte was first elected to the School Board to represent the South and Southwest District in 2003, and she was re-elected subsequently and gave a full ten years of service on the Board.
Marguerite La Motte was born in Louisiana July 17th, 1933. The South was segregated at the time. She got a bachelor’s degree in education from Southern University in 1961 while running a Baton Rouge business college. Thus, she demonstrated both business acumen and a passion for education. She got her master’s in education from Louisiana State University in 1965.
When La Motte first moved to Los Angeles in 1973, she became a substitute teacher with LAUSD before becoming a teacher. She was a regional operations administrator before heading Washington Preparatory High School until 2001. In that time, La Motte helped to build a Fine Arts program. In 2003, her supporters asked her to run for School Board and that is the position La Motte held for the last ten years.
She was both a friend and foe to Mayor Villaraigosa and supported him in the beginning and then withdrew support.
She was known for her outspokenness and her untiring devotion to her “babies” as she referred to the students of LAUSD. They were her priority. So were the teachers. With her background in the classroom and later as an administrator, La Motte knew what challenges the teachers faced and continually sought to work on behalf of teachers. In particular, La Motte was against the corporatizing of public schools on the “backs of the children”. She was a critic of Superintendent, John Deasy and she was the only dissenting vote against the rehiring of Deasy recently.
Ms. La Motte is survived by two children and her four grandchildren.
There will be visitation on December 19th from noon to 5 P M and on December 20th from 9 A M to 7 P M. Angelus Funeral Home, 3875 S. Crenshaw Bl., Los Angeles, 90008
There is a private service for family and friends on December 21st. Please respect the family's privacy.
There will be a public memorial on January 18th with further details listed on the UTLA Website www.utla.net.