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John B. King Jr.
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John B. King Jr. will be the next chancellor of the State University of New York system

He was the U.S. education secretary during the Obama administration.

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Earlier this week on Monday, officials announced that John B. King Jr. will be the next chancellor of the State University of New York system, SUNY, starting next month. 

“I am humbled and honored to accept the position of chancellor and to advance Governor Kathy Hochul’s vision to make SUNY the best statewide system of public higher education in our nation,” King said in a statement

He is replacing interim chancellor Deborah Stanley. She has been leading SUNY since late 2021, after Jim Malatras’ resignation due to allegations of a toxic management style and other controversies. 

King is of African-American and Puerto Rican descent. In his new role, he will be leading the more than 50,000 Hispanic/Latino students across the SUNY system and thousands more faculty and staff, according to SUNY

Besides leading the U.S. Department of Education between 2016 and 2017, King’s curriculum for the Obama administration also includes previously serving as acting deputy secretary under Arne Duncan. He was also the New York State education commissioner from 2011 to 2014. 

According to Inside Higher Ed, as secretary of education, King criticized inequality in higher education, calling out wealthy institutions for not graduating greater numbers of low-income students. He also confronted for-profit colleges for leaving many students with heavy debt and credentials of questionable value.

After working as the U.S. education secretary, King served as president and CEO of the Education Trust, a nonprofit organization focused on equitable academic achievement.

In 2021, King lost the primary as a Democrat in Maryland’s gubernatorial election. In his run, he called for universal preschool access for 3- and 4-year-olds and a starting salary of $60,000 for teachers. His agenda also sought for 70% of state residents to earn a degree or credential by 2030. 

To learn more about the announcement and reactions from the public and professionals, click here.

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