Betty Forrester, a retired teacher and longtime education union leader, was named president of the Los Angeles County Board of Education for the 2021-22 academic year, the county announced Wednesday.

Forrester was a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher for more than 40 years. She served three terms as an officer with the United Teachers Los Angeles union, chairing the negotiations team and helping manage the district employee unions’ Health Benefits Committee.

She was also vice president of the California Federation of Teachers and a member of the American Federation of Teachers’ Public Policy Committee. She’s also a former executive vice president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and the California Federation of Labor.

James Cross, founder of Port of Los Angeles High School and former operator of Cross America Inc. financial services company, was named vice president of the board.

The board also welcomed four new members — former Santa Monica City Councilwoman Judy Abdo; Yvonne Chan, founding principal of the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Los Angeles; R. Michael Dutton, retired principal of Students on the Academic Rise High School in Lancaster; and Stanley L. Johnson Jr., National Science Foundation project director and researcher in the Black Male Institute at the Center for the Transformation of Schools in the UCLA School of Education & Information Studies.

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