John B. King Jr. is a former New York state commissioner of education, charter school leader and social studies teacher.

John B. King Jr. is a former New York state commissioner of education, charter school leader and social studies teacher.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate last week confirmed John B. King Jr. as the nation's next secretary of education.

In taking the reins at the U.S. Department of Education, King replaces Arne Duncan, who announced in October that he would step down from the role at the end of the year. Duncan’s tenure, which began in 2009, was perhaps most prominently marked by his push for states to adopt the Common Core standards.

King has been serving as acting secretary of education since Duncan departed at the beginning of January. King came to the Department of Education in January 2015 as principal senior advisor, and he was delegated the duties of deputy secretary.

“Since joining the Department of Education, John has worked to build on the progress our country has made in expanding opportunity for all of our children,” President Obama said in announcing King’s nomination in February. “There is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable.”

Before coming to the U.S. Department of Education, King served as New York state commissioner of education since 2011. His career has also included leadership of charter schools and teaching high school social studies.

King’s nomination to be U.S. secretary of education was confirmed by a 49-40 vote in the Senate on March 14.

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