Former Education Secretary and President and CEO of The Education Trust, John B. King, Jr., Joins UMD COE Faculty

John B. King Jr

College Park, MD—The University of Maryland College of Education announced that John B. King, Jr.—former U.S. Secretary of Education and President and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit advocacy organization—joined the College’s faculty as a visiting professor.

Dr. King, who served as education secretary in President Obama’s administration from 2016 to 2017, brings his expertise in education policy, commitment to equity, and longtime dedication to ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality education to his new role.

“I am delighted to have Dr. King join the UMD College of Education’s faculty,” Dean Jennifer K. Rice said. “His commitment to eliminating educational inequity and promoting excellence for every student aligns with the mission of our College, and his rich background as a teacher, principal, and leader at the state and federal levels indicates his deep commitment to addressing these issues.”

In joining the College of Education, where he is teaching a fall undergraduate course on education policy, Dr. King is returning to the classroom and to teaching, about which he is passionate.

“Education has the power to be the great equalizer—a force that can overcome differences of race, and background, and poverty and privilege. But in too many places across the country students of color and those from low-income families do not have equitable access to opportunities that will allow them to reach their full academic potential,” said Dr. King.

“I’m excited to be a part of the University of Maryland community, which I know is a vibrant and diverse community, and to participate in the conversation about education equity with faculty members, students, and the broader community.”

Dr. King, who now serves as president and CEO at The Education Trust, first began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher and middle school principal. In 2011, he became the commissioner of education for the state of New York, where he oversaw the state’s elementary and secondary schools, as well as its colleges and universities. He is the first African American and Puerto Rican to have served in this role.

Before becoming Secretary of Education under the Obama administration, Dr. King carried out the duties of Deputy Secretary of Education. In that role, he directed the agency’s operations and managed policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. He also led cross-agency collaboration on President Obama‘s My Brother's Keeper's initiative, which was designed to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color and to ensure that all young people can reach their potential.

Dr. King came to know the transformative power of  education from a young age. He grew up attending New York City public schools, and both his parents, who were educators themselves, passed away by the time he was 12 years old.

“During the period when I lost my parents, it was school that saved my life,” Dr. King said. He cited the dedication of his public school teachers in making all the difference in the outcome of his life, by keeping him engaged throughout his schooling during a very difficult time.

In turn, his career has been dedicated to helping ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve and succeed.

Dr. King received his doctorate in education, as well as a Master of Arts in teaching of social studies, from Teachers College at Columbia University. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University.