My name is Lauren Smith, and I’m a graduate of two of the LAUSD Partnership schools formerly led by Marshall Tuck (or Mr. Tuck, as I know him). I’m proud to say that this spring, I graduated college with a bachelor’s in communications studies, and I’m getting ready to pursue my master’s degree next year.
Mr. Tuck’s mentorship and approach to education is a large part of the reason I’ve gotten here. It had such a big impact on my life, and I can only imagine what it will do for the futures of millions of students across California to have Mr. Tuck as our next superintendent.
As I went through the LAUSD school system, I saw up close the challenges our schools face. We had overcrowding, fights in the halls, and a severe lack of resources across departments. I saw our dedicated teachers paying out of pocket to equip their classrooms with basic supplies and the resources for success. For many, it would have been easy to shrug and just accept things as they were.
But Mr. Tuck’s response was to support teachers, students, and parents as much as he possibly could. He and the Partnership encouraged parents to get involved by creating the Parent College. They supported our teachers when they started art, music, and fashion clubs to fill the gaps in our extracurricular class offerings. And they partnered with Microsoft and other prominent businesses, organizations, and individuals to help open up new opportunities for students.
Most importantly, he empowered me and other students to help steer the Partnership itself—to be true collaborators in shaping our own educations. I can tell you: Mr. Tuck genuinely cared about us and what we had to say. That’s part of what will make him an excellent state superintendent.
He got us—the students—actively involved in fighting for our educations. It inspired me to speak at hearings, town halls, and LAUSD education rallies to demand more for myself and my fellow students. Having my voice heard and appreciated like this raised my confidence through the roof, and prepared me to take charge of my education as an undergraduate and beyond.
I still keep in touch with Mr. Tuck—he’s been a part of my support system for years, and he’s always available for a chat, to write a letter of recommendation, or just to talk through next steps in my life and career. Today, I’m returning the favor: I’m supporting him in this race, and I’m asking you to do so, as well.
I can’t wait to see the improvements Mr. Tuck will make for schools across California, and know that future generations of students will have the same caliber of opportunities that I finally got. But there are less than 13 weeks to go in this race, and his campaign can’t pull this off without our help.
Lauren Krishni Smith
University of Alabama-Birmingham, Class of 2018
Mendez High School, Class of 2014
Hollenbeck Middle School, Class of 2010