Leadership Profile: Larry King – The Director of Charter Development and Employee Services
iLEAD Schools and the Maker Learning Network continue to grow and expand each year. With that growth, new or expanding needs develop. In order to manage the growth in positive ways, as well as help serve the entire iLEAD family and Maker Learning Network, there is a new Director of Charter School Development and Employee Services. Meet Lawrence King:
What Are Your Hobbies, Interests and Passions?
I spend a lot of my time with my family. I am fortunate to have both my parents alive and relatively well. I have two daughters in their twenties who are both getting married this year. I have been married for 32 years to my beautiful wife who is also an educator.
I am really interested in something called the Wim Hof Method. It is the practice of combining breathing, mindfulness and cold exposure with the goal of being happier, healthier and stronger. I keep an ice chest in my garage that is filled with water and ice. I submerge myself in it from time to time. I have been practicing for a few years now.
I am also really into physical fitness and activity. I enjoy the benefits of dedicating one hour per day to something that I don’t often want to do. However, I’m always glad when I do and not just because it’s over.
Finally, I really enjoy anything with a motor. I’ve had remote control airplanes, several different types of cars, and more recently I’ve been into drones.
What Is Your Educational Background?
First of all, school was not easy for me as a K-12 student. I began to find my way while attending Los Angeles Pierce Community College. I then transferred to UCLA as a psychology major.
After earning my bachelor’s degree, I enlisted in the US Army. I attended the Drill Sergeant Academy in Fort Dix, New Jersey, nearly 35 years ago. I was honored to graduate first from my class. I served four years and then began my career in education.
I have my BS in Psychology from UCLA, a teaching credential from California State University, Fresno and then a MA in Education and Administration from Azusa Pacific University.
What Is Your Professional Background?
I was a classroom teacher for 11 years in the Baldwin Park Unified School District. I was also an elementary and middle school administrator in that same school district. I then spent four years as a Human Resources Director in the Covina Valley Unified School District. I then became Assistant Superintendent and Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Pupil Services in the Rim Of The World school district where I served for three years. I then became a superintendent with the Acton Agua Dulce Unified School District for four years.
What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of This New Role?
Well, I have a split role. I work part-time for iLEAD California, as well as part-time for the Maker Learning Network.
For iLEAD California, my role is Charter School Development. This work is unique and fascinating. I work with Board members, executive team members and the business side of the house. I’m quite familiar with the process of becoming a charter school in California through the lens of an authorizing agency. However, it’s a much different perspective when looking through the scope of the charter organization. The teams I work with have a clear understanding of what it takes to start a school from start to finish including finance, personnel, facilities, state law and governance. It is a time-consuming endeavor that involves many hands working together. I look forward to supporting our teams in any way I can.
For the Maker Learning Network, I am leading Employee Services, as well as doing some Charter School Development. I have extensive experience in personnel services. We are here to provide support to our site directors, facilitators and support staff in different states. We want to be sure that our employees have access to health benefits information, complaint procedures and policies, wellness and the terms of their employment. As a relatively new and expanding organization, this is an exciting and challenging time for employee services. We are all here to serve learners in a meaningful, engaging and unique environment. We are all here because we believe our young people deserve an option that gives them voice in their learning path.
Why iLEAD Schools and the Maker Learning Network? Why Did You Take On These New Roles?
I was looking for something different – a way to serve students in a different capacity. I was very interested in finding a charter school organization that would be a good fit for me. ILEAD Schools and the Maker Learning Network are those types of organizations. Dawn Evenson and Amber Golden exemplify the characteristics, passion and strength with which I want to be associated. They are the reason I chose to join this amazing team.
How have you been welcomed or received thus far?
The team has been amazing. The assistance I’ve received from those who work in business and employee services has been so supportive. Specifically, I really appreciate Manny Ortega’s approach to everything in employee services and business. He has a true understanding of the inner workings.
What are your thoughts about Project-Based Learning?
When I was younger, I learned best when I was having fun, was engaged and was allowed the freedom to choose what I wanted to learn about. This isn’t anything novel. Most of us are motivated to work hard at something when it’s meaningful and engaging. 45 years ago they didn’t call it PBL. Students and parents would simply say, “She is such a good teacher …,” for example. PBL allows for students to feel ownership about their learning. In this regard, teachers are not the keepers of knowledge, but rather the facilitators of learning for our young people.
Any other thoughts or comments?
I think the potential for growth of iLEAD Schools and the Maker Learning Network is limitless. The possibilities are endless and it is so exciting to imagine the future. I’m happy to be part of a great team.