Meet Tanya Ortiz Franklin
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Tanya Ortiz Franklin is the Board Member for LA Unified School Board District 7 (BD7)— serving approximately 175 schools encompassing the beautiful and diverse communities of Florence-Firestone, South LA, Watts, Gardena, Carson, Lomita, Harbor City, Wilmington and San Pedro. Tanya joined the school board to ensure all students graduate fully prepared to thrive in the college, career and life of their choice.
It was important for Tanya to return to the community where she was previously a student, teacher, teacher-educator, and advocate. After graduating with her bachelor's degree in political science from Columbia University in 2005, Tanya earned her master's degree in elementary education at Loyola Marymount University while teaching sixth-grade English and social studies at Stephen White Middle School. During the Great Recession, she was laid off from LA Unified and decided to attend the UCLA School of Law, specializing in public interest law & policy and critical race studies. While in law school, she began working at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools—a non-profit that manages 20 LA Unified schools in Boyle Heights, South Los Angeles, and Watts—where she first focused on educational development, then on school culture and equitable policies and practices. When Tanya was elected to the school board in November 2020, her focus on educational equity and justice continued.
In her first two years, Tanya has authored board-approved resolutions such as: Exploring Mastery-Based Learning and Grading, which has resulted in more equitable grading across the district; Closing the Digital Divide to Improve Distance & Hybrid Learning, which has connected and paid for over 100,000 students to have high-speed broadband internet in their homes; Black Student Excellence through Educator Diversity, Preparation and Retention, which has caused the district to develop and implement specific strategies to recruit, retain and support more Black educators; and Arts Justice: Access and Equity Across the Disciplines and the District, which aims to give all students TK-12th grade access to each art discipline at each school level. Tanya’s responsibilities include the approval of the annual budget and evaluating the Superintendent, Alberto M. Carvalho, who was unanimously selected in February 2022. She and her colleagues have approved a historic $20 billion dollar budget aligned to a strategic plan aimed at improving college eligibility, early literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional learning.
As a former classroom teacher and mom to a future LAUSD student, it’s particularly important for Tanya to ground her decisions in community voices. She stays connected with her stakeholders by engaging with families, educators, students, and staff through regular community conversations, advisory councils, school visits and events. Her priority in decision-making is to center the communities that have historically been pushed to the margins, including grounding her decisions in their impact on high- and highest-need schools. In April, Tanya and the BD7 team host an annual, “College Signing Day” at California State University Dominguez Hills, where more than 1,000 people gather to learn about college and celebrate the Board District 7 graduating seniors. In her spare time, Tanya enjoys spending time with her family, running, traveling, and getting lost in a great book.