Sydney Kamlager-Dove is a professional, a wife, and a step-mother whose life and values were shaped by her upbringing in Chicago, the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and a diversity of experiences as an elected official and dedicated public servant.
A product of a biracial marriage, Sydney grew up in Chicago. Her first exposure to politics was working with her grandmother to help Harold Washington become the first African American mayor of Chicago in 1983. She attended St. Ignatius College Prep, where her formative learning was infused with an understanding of liberation theology, social justice, and missionary work in the Appalachian Mountains
Sydney came to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. She studied political science, during which time the 1992 Los Angeles riots broke out. That catalytic moment motivated Sydney to work with Rebuild LA, a nonprofit formed to help job creation efforts and restore the communities most affected by the riots, and the Los Angeles Festival, another effort using art to help the city heal. Since that time, Sydney has spent 20 years working in the nonprofit world, the entertainment industry, and in government.
Now, as the second African American woman elected president of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees in its 77-year history, Sydney focuses on making meaningful and lasting connections. First elected in to the LACCD board in 2015, she connects students to educational and vocational opportunities. She connects communities to the nine colleges of the district, which spans nearly 900 square miles and serves more than 250,000 students every year. She connects the largest job market in the nation to the economic development, procurement, and training afforded by the largest community college district in the nation. Sydney helped lead an effort to expand opportunities for local, small and diverse firms to access the district, established a pipeline between the district and the courts system, and optimized supportive services for students who were formerly in the foster care system and who were formerly incarcerated.
Sydney also serves as district director for California State Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-30), where she is responsible for the daily and strategic operations of Sen. Mitchell’s district office, including legislative and constituent initiatives, communications, and programming.
Sydney has become a sought-after teacher and speaker on education and ECE issues, economic development, the arts, and other issues that affect society. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from USC, Sydney earned a master’s degree in public policy and arts management from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority Inc. Sydney has served on the Los Angeles County Commission on Children and Families since her appointment in 2013 by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
President, Los Angeles Community College District Board (2015-present)
Elected to the Los Angeles Community College Board, Seat 3, with 52% of the vote in a four way race. A leading voice for access to higher education and workforce training. Worked to improve access for students who were previously in the foster care system or incarcerated. Selected as President by her colleagues in 2017.
District Director, State Senator and Assemblymember Holly J. Mitchell (2011-present).
Sydney has served as District Director for Holly Mitchell in the State Assembly and State Senate, responsible for strategic initiatives and constituent service. She has had a policy focus on restorative justice, higher education and the arts.
Los Angeles County Commission on Children and Families (2013-present)
Appointed by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Director of External Affairs, Crystal Stairs (2002-2010)
Legislative advocate for quality, affordable community-based daycare. Mobilized to stop state budget cuts.
Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC)
Programmed and curated public art projects throughout the City of Los Angeles.
Unusual Suspects Theater Company, Board of Directors
Southern California Leadership Network, 30 for 30 Award, 2017
University of Southern California, BA, Political Science; Carnegie Mellon University, MA, Arts Management. Member Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority, Inc.
Married to attorney Austin Dove, resident of Crenshaw neighborhood, Los Angeles.