NY Education Commissioner John King to Join Education Department as Senior Advisor

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NY Education Commissioner John King to Join Education Department as Senior Advisor

December 11, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. will join the U.S. Department of Education as a senior advisor.

"John is an extraordinary leader who has dedicated his life to improving the opportunities of our young people, as a teacher, a school leader, and a leader of school systems," Duncan said. "His passion, his fierce intelligence, and his clear understanding of the difficult but vital work of education change will be an enormous benefit to this Department and to the nation."

King is expected to join the Department in early 2015 and will be delegated the roles and responsibilities of the Deputy Secretary, which includes managing the Department's operations and overseeing implementation of major initiatives.

As a leader of ambitious education change in New York State, King brings a lifelong record of commitment to improving education for all students, and especially for the most vulnerable.

King, a former social studies teacher who was named New York's education chief in 2011, has overseen a number of key initiatives that have transformed teaching and learning across the state. He led the transition to rigorous academic standards that prepare students for college, careers and life and expanded career and technical education by creating multiple pathways to high school graduation that give students more opportunities to pursue their passions. In addition, King focused intensely on teacher professional development and preparation in partnership with the New York Board of Regents and led the development of EngageNY.org, a website featuring resources for educators and highlighting best practices across the state. He also oversaw the state's successful bid for a $700 million Race to the Top grant to support education innovation across the state.

King also served on federal Equity and Excellence Commission, which in 2013 put forward sweeping recommendations on the education of underserved and disadvantaged students.

"John King has been a remarkable leader in a time of true reform," Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. "He spent every moment working to open the doors of opportunity for all our students—regardless of their race, or zip code, or their immigration status. John has transformed teaching and learning, raising the bar for students and helping them clear that bar. In classrooms all across the state, teachers and students are rising to the challenge of higher standards. The positive impact of John King's work in New York will be felt for generations. We'll miss his wisdom, his calm leadership and his remarkable courage. But New York's loss is the country's gain. He'll be a powerful force for educational opportunity in Washington."

King has focused his career on narrowing the achievement gap and ensuring that all students have access to great teaching. He co-founded Roxbury Prep, a top charter middle school in Massachusetts, and was one of the leaders of Uncommon Schools, a network of high-performing charter schools in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

King, the first African-American and the first person of Puerto Rican descent to hold the education commissioner's office in New York, earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, his master's in teaching of social studies from Columbia University, his law degree from Yale University and his education doctorate from Columbia University. He often points to education—and teachers, in particular—as what saved him after he lost both of his parents to illness by the time he was 12. His parents were both educators.

King is married with two daughters.