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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Meet Our Graduates > John King Jr., State Commissioner of Education, NY State Department of Education

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John King Jr., State Commissioner of Education, NY State Department of Education

Former Inquiry 2000 cohort member John King Jr. never let go of his passion for education. Beginning from a young age, Dr. King was always surrounded by educators: many of his family members were NYC public school teachers and he began his education career as a high school teacher. While in pursuit of his passion, he is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, and both an M.A. in the Teaching of Social Studies and an Ed.D from Teachers College, Columbia University.

As of May 2011, Mr. King will serve as the State Commissioner of Education in charge of leading education reform within the New York State Board of Regents.  Another former Inquiry cohort member and also Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch commented, "John King is a nationally recognized education leader with a proven track record of lifting student achievement, particularly for low-income minority students in urban settings. His goal is always the same – ensuring that the students in his care are prepared for college-level work and productive careers."

Mr. King’s innovative work within urban settings has been the development of programs which acknowledge both academic achievement and cultural competency for his students. His role at the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston earned him national recognition in the field of educational leadership. As co-founder and co-director of the school, his students attained the highest state exam scores of any urban middle school in Massachusetts and outperformed students within the city’s affluent suburbs.  One hundred percent of the school’s students are Black or Latino and over 70% of the students qualify for free or reduced price lunch. Most impressive, 80 percent of the school’s graduates are currently enrolled in college. Later on his role at another urban setting lead to similar stellar results; As the Managing Director of the non-profit charter management organization, Uncommon Schools, 98 percent of students under his leadership scored at Level 3 or 4 on the NYS math assessments compared to just 86 percent of all New York students and 82 percent of New York City students.

In King's latest role as State Commissioner of Education, he will be serving the educational needs of over 3.1 million  New York State students. Additionally, King will be the 14th commissioner since the position was created in 1905, however he is the first black or Puerto Rican commissioner to serve in this role.

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