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Commissioner King to Join the Obama Administration

New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today announced he has accepted a position with the U.S Department of Education.   King will serve as Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He will step down as Education Commissioner effective at the end of the year.

“John King has been a remarkable leader in a time of true reform,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said.  “He spent every moment working to open the doors of opportunity for all our students – regardless of their race, or zip code, or their immigration status.  John has transformed teaching and learning, raising the bar for students and helping them clear that bar.  In classrooms all across the state, teachers and students are rising to the challenge of higher standards.  The positive impact of John King’s work in New York will be felt for generations.   We’ll miss his wisdom, his calm leadership and his remarkable courage.  But New York’s loss is the country’s gain. He’ll be a powerful force for educational opportunity in Washington.”

Looking ahead, Chancellor Tisch explained, “We will ensure a smooth and efficient transition.  We have a strong leadership team in place at the Department.  A Board search committee will launch next week and will identify a strong successor to Commissioner King who will continue to advance the Regents Reform Agenda and support our districts as they implement higher standards to ensure all of our students graduate ready for college and careers.”“I’m humbled and honored to have the chance to work with President Obama and Secretary Duncan,” Commissioner King said.  “Their extraordinary leadership is helping students all across the nation get better prepared for college and careers.  I’m excited to become part of that team.  I’m also humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to work with Chancellor Tisch, all the members of the Board of Regents and the dedicated professionals at the State Education Department.  We have accomplished great things for New York’s students.  As a kid whose life was saved by the incredible teachers I had in public schools in Brooklyn, I’m proud to have served my fellow New Yorkers.”

As Commissioner, King oversaw the implementation of a number of key initiatives, including the adoption of higher, college and career ready standards, the new statewide educator evaluation system, the expansion of career and technical education (including opening 16 new P-Tech schools), and the adoption of multiple pathways to high school graduation that give students more opportunities to pursue varied, comparably rigorous coursework.    In addition, King focused intensely on teacher professional development and preparation.  King led the development of, a website featuring educator resources to facilitate implementation of the higher standards (to date, EngageNY has had more than 93 million pageviews from educators all over the country) and the Network Team Institutes, a series of multi-day turnkey professional development workshops held every other month for the last three years that have trained tens of thousands of teachers, principals, and administrators.

With the Board of Regents, King worked to raise the expectations for teacher and principal preparation – and supported the launch of new, clinically rich teacher preparation programs focused on preparing teachers for high demand subjects in high needs communities, such as the program to train earth science teachers for high needs schools at the Museum of Natural History.

King was appointed Commissioner in May of 2011.  He is the first African-American and the first person of Puerto Rican descent to hold that office.  Prior to his current role, King served as Senior Deputy Commissioner – a role in which he coordinated development of the state’s successful Race to the Top application, bringing nearly $700 million to New York to support education reform efforts.  Earlier in his career, King was a high school social studies teacher, middle school principal, and leader of a network of high-performing charter schools.

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