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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces His Intent to Nominate John B. King as Secretary of Education

President Obama said, “Since joining the Department of Education, John has worked to build on the progress our country has made in expanding opportunity for all of our children. There is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable. John knows from his own incredible life experience how education can transform a child’s future. I look forward to the Senate working in a bipartisan way to confirm John quickly and continuing their work with him to tackle the vital challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate John B. King as Secretary of Education: 

Dr. John B. King, Nominee for Secretary, Department of Education

Dr. John B. King, Jr. is an accomplished lifelong educator who has been a teacher, a principal, the leader of a network of schools, and the State Commissioner of Education in New York.

Dr. King’s belief in the power of educational opportunity is rooted in his own life. Both of King’s parents were career New York City public school educators. Though their lives have inspired him throughout his lifetime, both died from illness by the time he was 12. Dr. King has often said that his future could have unfolded very differently after that, but New York City public school teachers saved him and gave him hope and purpose.

Dr. King currently serves as Acting Secretary of Education, a position he assumed in January 2016. Dr. King also serves as the Department of Education’s Principal Senior Advisor. King joined the Department in 2015 and was delegated the duties and responsibilities of the Deputy Secretary, overseeing all preschool-through-12th-grade education policies, programs and strategic initiatives, as well as Department operations. In that capacity, King also played a key role in President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force and coordinated the launch of multiple high priority administration initiatives, including the Second Chance Pell pilot program and the Every Student, Every Day campaign to end chronic absenteeism.

As Commissioner in New York State, Dr. King brought numerous lasting changes that benefited students. He created grants to help support teacher leadership, built nationally recognized instructional resources and a statewide professional development network to support educators as they implemented higher learning standards, and launched a pilot program to encourage voluntary efforts to promote socioeconomic diversity in schools. He also spearheaded an initiative to reduce unnecessary and low-quality tests, working with the state legislature to cap the amount of time students spend on standardized tests.

Prior to his time at the New York State Education Department, Dr. King was a Managing Director of Uncommon Schools. He also co-founded and co-led Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, which closed achievement gaps and became one of the highest performing urban middle schools in Massachusetts.

King began his career as a public school teacher. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies from Columbia University's Teachers College, a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, and a Doctorate of Education  in educational administrative practice from Columbia University's Teachers College. Dr. King lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, with his wife and two children, who attend local public schools.