Keynote Speaker

John king
president and CEO | the education trust

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John B. King, Jr. is the President and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that aims to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. He served as the U.S. Secretary of Education from 2016 through 2017. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called Dr. 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.

Before becoming Secretary, Secretary King had served at the Department since January 2015 and carried out the duties of the Deputy Secretary, overseeing all preschool-through-12th-grade education policies and programs as well as Department operations. Secretary King joined the Department following his tenure as the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner, a post he held from 2011 to 2015.

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.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree 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.