Carla Sanger Set to Retire After 26 Years!

Appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley in 1988, Sanger has impacted the lives of over 350 thousand local elementary school students through her leadership and tireless advocacy of after school education and enrichment for LA students with the fewest resources and greatest needs.

June 27, 2014

Los Angeles, CA -- After 26 years as President & CEO of the LA’s BEST after school program, Carla Sanger will retire from her post on November 30, 2014.

LA’s BEST, one of the nation’s leading after school education, enrichment and recreation programs, was created when Mayor Tom Bradley recognized the critical need to keep the children of Los Angeles safe amid growing drug, poverty and violence issues in the city during the late 1980s.

Bradley announced his plan at his 1988 State of the City address, then gathered a group of educators, parents, executives, lawyers and activists and charged them with answering these central questions: How do you keep children safe in the critical hours from 3 pm to 6 pm – after school ends, but before their working parents get home? And more than just keep them safe, how do you make them better students, better people? How do you give them better lives?

Carla Sanger was among those charged with that mission. After weeks of rigorous contemplation and vigorous debate, a 53-member education council came up with an idea: LA’s BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow) After School Enrichment program, a partnership with the City of Los Angeles, LAUSD and the private sector. Carla Sanger was chosen to take the helm of the organization, which soon became a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

The corporate office of LA’s BEST is housed in the office of the Mayor at City Hall, and has had the support of Mayors Richard Riordan, James Hahn, Antonio Villaraigosa and Eric Garcetti after being conceived by Mayor Bradley. This is in no small part, due to the relationships Carla Sanger has maintained with the mayors themselves, local politicians, legislators, and community activists, as well as the core value that Carla coined and ingrained in the LA’s BEST staff: Nothing we do is as important as the effect it has on a child.

During Carla’s tenure, the organization grew from 10 schools in 1988, to 194 schools at present, and has brought in more than $499 million in public and private funding. She has fiercely advocated for and pursued funding for afterschool programs around the state and across the country.

She helped write and advocate for the passing of Proposition 49 in 2002, which permanently created and earmarked unprecedented funding for before- and after- school programs in California, initiated by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

She also created the League of California After School Providers and established "Beyond the Bell"-- the first central division in the history of LAUSD with a shared vision for after school.


Carla was named as one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Afterschool in the Spring 2014 issue of Afterschool Today magazine. On April 30, 2014, Sanger was honored at the BOOST (Best Out of School Time) Conference with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Carla Sanger leaves the organization at a critical moment, as national talks of increasing classroom hours may change the landscape of our educational system and detrimentally affect the future of Expanded Learning programs like LA’s BEST. During her remaining months as leader of LA’s BEST, she will aggressively advocate for Expanded Learning programs and their position as a vital component of the national education reform debate.

On Saturday, June 14, 2014, Carla will be honored by LA’s BEST for her years of dedicated service at the organization's annual fundraising event, a family dinner aiming to raise $1 million for the organization.

A search committee is currently determining the new leader of the organization.

“I have stood on the shoulders of so many creative and dedicated staff and board members through the years,” Carla said. “LA’s BEST has never been programmatically or financially stronger. I look forward to keeping informed of the progress of this stellar organization, so important to the lives of so many children, families and the quality of life in this great city."

Carla Sanger is available for interviews. 

For applicants interested in applying for the President & Chief Executive Officer position, please click here for the job description and email a resume, cover letter and salary requirements to Lynn Alvarez at lasbestsearch@yahoo.com before September 5, 2014.