Kelly Gonez serves as President of the Los Angeles Board of Education and proudly represents Board District 6, which encompasses most of the East San Fernando Valley. Since her election to the Board in 2017, she has championed the needs of the most historically underserved students. She has authored policies leading to increased services for homeless students and to remove barriers to college for all high-needs students. Kelly has helped to increase investment in early childhood education in Los Angeles Unified and pioneered the expansion of ethnic studies for all students in the school district, including as a high school graduation requirement.
Kelly grew up in an immigrant family in the neighborhood of Mission Hills in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. She was the first in her family to attend college. While earning her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, she worked three jobs, over 50 hours a week, to pay her way through college and support her working family. After she graduated from college, she returned to be a teacher in LAUSD.
Kelly first taught geometry at an LAUSD high school. She then served the kids and families of the Northeast Valley as a 6th-grade science teacher from 2011-2014 in Lake View Terrace. As a teacher, Kelly helped her students achieve dramatic academic gains. She pioneered an anti-bullying initiative, developed her school’s inaugural science fair, and led Common Core implementation for her school. Despite the progress her students were making, Kelly saw firsthand how much more support was needed to give students and families the best opportunity for success.
While teaching, Kelly organized for President Obama’s re-election campaign in East Las Vegas. She also advised the LAUSD Board of Education on education policy issues, including teacher leadership, equity, and school discipline, and served as a Commissioner on the LAUSD Human Relations Commission. Kelly earned her Master’s Degree in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University, writing her thesis on supporting English Language learners in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (commonly referred to as STEM).
In 2014, Kelly was appointed by President Obama in his Administration to serve as an education policy advisor. She secured over $50 million in additional education funding while leading the Obama Administration’s advocacy to increase education funding and support for special populations, including English language learners, immigrant students, homeless students, students in foster care, justice-involved youth, and others.
Kelly is the youngest woman and Latina ever elected to the LAUSD School Board. She lives with her family in North Hollywood.