New State Education Commissioner Named
May 16th, 2011
As had been widely expected, the state Board of Regents has named state Deputy Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. as education commissioner.
King, 36, is a native of Brooklyn who holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, a law degree from Yale and a doctorate in education from Columbia. He has deep ties to the charter school movement — having cofounded a charter middle school in Boston and helped start Uncommon Schools, which now has 24 charters.
In a press release, the regents credited King for coordinating New York’s successful bid for federal race to the Top Funds. He also has been involved in the state’s effort to make its testing program more rigorous.
In addition to his professional resume, King has a compelling personal story. His parents were both educators. His mother, though, died when he was in fourth grade at P.S. 276 in Brooklyn. His father was already showing sign of Alzheimer’s disease and died a few years later when King was 12. He attended the elite Phillips Andover Academy but broke some of the school’s rules, resulting in his expulsion in 11th grade. He then went to live with an aunt and uncle in New Jersey where he completed high school.
In a statement released earlier today, King said, “My life story is about the power of schools to shape lives, even against great odds. … I know that all of our schools can be places that ensure our children succeed.”
King, whose father was African American and mother Puerto Rican, will be the first person from either group to serve as run the state Department of Education. At his request the salary for the post was reduced from $2550,000 to $212,500 because of the state’s fiscal problems.
King will replace David Steiner who unexpectedly announced his intention to resign earlier this spring.By Gail Robinson on May 16, 2011, 1:28 pm
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