PLI Alum and Faculty Leyda Garcia Receives IEL Educator Leadership Award

By John McDonald

Leyda Garcia, principal of the UCLA Community School in Los Angeles, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Educator Leadership Award by the Institute for Educational Leadership. The Award was presented to Garcia, Wednesday, May 31 at the National Community Schools & Family Engagement Conference in Los Angeles.

Garcia has led the UCLA Community School since 2012. She recently described the groundbreaking school in Koreatown to the publication EdSource as, “a cozy, welcoming environment, like a small town,” adding, “We’ve known some students since kindergarten, we have a history with their family and siblings. When they when hit a bump in the road, we respond differently.”

Garcia has been an educator for 2 decades. An immigrant from Guatemala, Garcia attended Stanford where she earned a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Education. She graduated from UCLA’s Principal Leadership Institute program in 2007, and recently earned her doctorate from LMU in Social Justice Leadership. Garcia began her career as a teacher in northern California before returning to Los Angeles where she served as a teacher and principal in the Los Angeles and Montebello Unified School Districts before taking the reins of the Community School.