November 28, 2006

Marcus Castain ('98) Helping Mayor Villaraigosa Plan L.A. School Reforms

Mayor's office will assume new oversight role in January, 2007

Marcus Castain ('98)LOS ANGELES - Marcus Castain (‘98) has served the City of Los Angeles as an aide to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa since the beginning of 2006. As Associate Director for Education, Youth and Families, he is responsible for developing and implementing the mayor’s plan to improve public education in Los Angeles. Mayor Villaraigosa will assume a greater role in city schools with the passage of A.B. 1381 which calls for a significant reform of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The bill takes effect on January 1, 2007.

“Our goal is to develop the best plan possible, using what works in other school systems,” Castain said. He notes that there are thirteen guiding principles to the plan. These tenets include “accountability at every level, a streamlined bureaucracy, respecting and rewarding teachers, empowering principals, investment in leadership and parental engagement” among others. School size is another key element to the plan. Castain says that LA Unified has the largest schools in terms of student population and the goal is to get to school populations of 500 or less.

To seek out the best ideas, Castain has interviewed dozens of people throughout the United States, including school officials in Boston, New York, Chicago, Oakland and Long Beach. He also consulted with UCLA Anderson Professor William Ouchi, whose most recent book, Making Schools Work, is a manifesto in the school reform movement.

Prior to joining the Villaraigosa administration, Castain was an Associate Director at The Broad Foundation, a national venture philanthropic organization focused on dramatically improving K-12 urban public education. At Broad he managed a $30 million investment portfolio focused on improving the management systems of large urban school districts. He has worked closely with school leaders in urban districts across the country. Castain also started The Broad Residency program, a highly competitive, two-year management development program that trains emerging leaders for senior management positions in urban school districts.

During his time at UCLA Anderson, Castain was already interested in working in education. He even wrote his business school application about the need to reinvent public schools through better management. Many of the management skills he was learning and developing in the classroom for business application are just as useful in public education and the education bureaucracy.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world.  Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment.

The mission of UCLA Anderson School of Management is to be a global leader in management education, research and service. Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs. UCLA Anderson alumni number more than 35,000 graduates around the world dedicated to continued networking, professional development and educational activities. 

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