Louisiana Department of Education Head of Academics Joins Los Angeles Unified School District

LOS ANGELES (June 21, 2018) - Superintendent Austin Beutner announced today that Rebecca Kockler, Assistant Superintendent of Academic Content for the Louisiana Department of Education, will join the Los Angeles Unified School District as Chief of Staff to the Superintendent. In this role, Kockler will work with Mr. Beutner and District leaders across all of L.A. Unified’s efforts, and will lead the transition of the new administration. For almost six years, Kockler has led Louisiana's nationally recognized efforts to raise academic standards, provide additional support to Louisiana teachers and schools, and improve equity by reducing the achievement gap.

“Rebecca is a terrific addition to our team,” said Superintendent Beutner. “Her work in Louisiana helped narrow long-standing achievement gaps, resulting in the state’s highest ever graduation rate, while increasing standards and course requirements, and improving ACT scores for all students. As a career educator, she will help our District deliver on our promise of providing every student with a high-quality education.”

Kockler began her role at the Louisiana Department of Education in 2012, when the state was suffering from low-quality standards and lacking support for teachers and schools. Today Louisiana’s academic system is seen as a national model.

Led by Kockler, it includes:

  • A nationally recognized English-language arts curriculum.
  • Leadership training for nearly 20 percent of Louisiana teachers who represent every school in the state.
  • A year-long mentor/teacher and principal-intensive program to train and certify effective school leaders.
  • Over $100 million in competitive federal and private grants to support the academic work of the state.

This work has helped Louisiana become the fastest-improving state on several national metrics including the ACT and Advanced Placement exams. For example:

  • African American students in Grades 3-8 have increased proficiency in both English and math on state-level assessments. For instance, African American students scoring proficient on English assessments increased from 16 to 28 percent.
  • The number of students earning a college-going ACT score of at least 18 has increased by 40 percent, and the number of students scoring 21 or above (college readiness benchmark) has increased by 34 percent.
  • The number of African-American students achieving AP credit climbed significantly, increasing by nearly 17 percent between 2016 and 2017.

“I am pleased to welcome Ms. Kockler to join the movement toward educational justice in Los Angeles,” said Board President Mónica García. “I am inspired by her commitment to serving all kids, and her experience in closing opportunity and achievement gaps in large public school systems.”

“Achieving equity and excellence in our public schools is a critical priority all across the country,” said John B. King Jr., President and CEO of The Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education. “I am heartened by the progress in Louisiana under Rebecca’s leadership, particularly for students of color and students from low-income families. Rebecca’s work has focused on partnering with and supporting teachers and principals to help students achieve meaningful academic gains. I’m looking forward to seeing how she will bring these important tools – including thoughtful work on the implementation of high-quality instructional materials – to L.A. Unified.”

"I am honored to join the L.A. Unified family in working to ensure all students receive the education they deserve,” Kockler said. “I have had the privilege of serving the students of Louisiana for almost six years. In that time, I have collaborated with Louisiana educators to build a strong system that prepares all students, each and every day, for success. I have learned so much from the students and teachers of Louisiana.”

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Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766