Teachers College alumnus John B. King, Jr. (Ed.D. ’08, M.A. ’97), who served as U.S. Secretary of Education during the final year that President Obama was in office, has declared himself a candidate for the governor’s seat in Maryland.

King, the son of a New York City school public school administrator and a school guidance counselor, lost his both his parents by the time he was 12, and survived a turbulent adolescence during which he was expelled from the prestigious Phillips Andover school. He later earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard, his law degree from Yale and, from Teachers College, his doctorate in Inquiry in Educational/Administration Practice within the Department of Organization & Leadership and his master’s degree in the Teaching of Social Studies within the Department of Arts & Humanities.

If elected, King would become Maryland’s first Black and Latinx governor.

Early in his career, King co-founded and served as Managing Director of Uncommon Schools, one of the nation’s most successful charter school management organizations. Before joining the Obama administration, he was New York State’s Commissioner of Education, and has since served as President and CEO of The Education Trust. He also runs the progressive advocacy group Strong Future Maryland and teaches at the University of Maryland, College Park.

If elected, King would become Maryland’s first Black and Latinx governor.

The Study of Inequality: Dr. John B. King, Jr., with Provost and Dean Stephanie J. Rowley

The views expressed in this video are solely those of the speaker to whom they are attributed. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the faculty, administration, staff or Trustees either of Teachers College or of Columbia University.

In 2019, King and his family made headlines when they visited the former plantation where his great-grandfather was a slave, and where descendants of the slave-owners still live.

[Read The Washington Post’s account of King’s visit.]

At Teachers College’s virtual orientation for new students this past fall, King spoke with TC Provost Stephanie Rowley about what he sees as the nation’s failure to serve students of color during the pandemic.

“We’ve been going in the wrong direction,” King told Rowley. “And looking at standards alone cannot address the changes we need.”

[Watch a video of King’s conversation with Rowley.]