Dr. John B. King, Jr.: Secretary of Education | Teachers College Columbia UniversitySkip to content Skip to main navigation
Urban Education Leaders Program
Department of Organization and Leadership
Dr. John B. King, Jr.
Secretary of Education
Former Inquiry 2000 cohort member, Dr. John B. King, Jr. is the Secretary of Education of the United States, a position he assumed upon Senate confirmation on March 14, 2016. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called Dr. King "an exceptionally talented educator," citing his commitment to "preparing every child for success" and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems. As secretary, Dr. King brings a continued commitment to advancing excellence and equity for every student, supporting educators and elevating the teaching profession, and improving college affordability and completion rates.
Before becoming secretary, Dr. King served since January 2015 at the Department as principal senior advisor. In that role, he carried out the duties of the deputy secretary, overseeing all preschool-through-12th-grade education policies, programs, and strategic initiatives, as well as the operations of the Department. Dr. King carried out this work with a focus on increasing equity, improving educational outcomes for all students, and closing achievement gaps through implementation of key administration priorities in areas including early learning, elementary and secondary education, special education, English language acquisition, and innovation.
Prior to his arrival at the Department, Dr. King served since 2011 as the Commissioner of Education for the state of New York. In that role, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the State Education Department and as President of the University of the State of New York, overseeing the state's elementary and secondary schools (serving 3.1 million students), public, independent and proprietary colleges and universities, libraries, museums, and numerous other educational institutions. Dr. King was one of the nation's youngest state education leaders at the time of his appointment and the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner.
Dr. King earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in the Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Administrative Practice from Teachers College, Columbia University . Dr. King was a 1995 Truman Scholar and received the James Madison Memorial Fellowship for secondary-level teaching of American history, American government, and social studies. Prior to joining the Department, in February 2011, Dr. King was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve on the U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission. In addition, Dr. King served on the board of New Leaders for New Schools from 2005 to 2009, and is a 2008 Aspen Institute-New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellow.
Supplemental information for this article came from http://www2.ed.gov/news/staff/bios/king.html