John B. King Jr. is president and CEO of The Education Trust. Prior to that, King served as U.S. Secretary of Education for President Barack Obama. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, Obama called 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, King focused on: (1) equity and excellence throughout prekindergarten, K-12 education, and higher education; (2) lifting up the teaching profession and school leadership; and (3) access, affordability, and completion in higher education.
Before becoming secretary, King served at the education department and carried out the duties of the deputy secretary, overseeing all preschool-through-12th-grade education policies and programs as well as department operations. King joined the department following his tenure as the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State education commissioner.
King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston and a middle school principal. He credits New York City public school teachers—particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain J.H.S. in Coney Island—for saving his life by providing rich, engaging and transformative educational experiences and giving him hope about the future.
King holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University.