TC Alumnus John B. King Jr. Named New York Education Commissioner ☆

May 16, 2011. Social Studies alumnus John B. King Jr. was named New York’s next education commissioner, with a unanimous vote of the Board of Regents.

At 36, Dr. King will be among the nation’s youngest educational leaders and is the state’s first African-American and first Puerto Rican education commissioner.

“Having gone to New York City public schools, that quite literally saved my life,” Brooklyn-born King is quoted as saying in The New York Times. “I feel an incredible devotion to make that possible for more kids.”

After losing both of his parents to illness by age 12, Dr. King earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a law degree from Yale and a doctorate in education from TC.  His drive, he said in an interview on Sunday, comes from a sense of urgency to create for other children the refuge he  found as a fourth grader at Public School 276 in Canarsie.

Formerly the state’s deputy commissioner, King ran celebrated charter schools in New York and Massachusetts.  Recently courted for the superintendent’s seat in Newark (by Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook executive who has pledged $100 million to that city’s schools), King told The New York Times that he wanted to stay in New York because of personal ties and his desire to finish what he started as deputy commissioner.