A Brief Biography of New York State’s New Education Commissioner

John B. King Jr. was named education commissioner for the state of New York. At age 36, he is one of the youngest education officials in the nation. He had been serving as deputy education commissioner.

King, who is of African-American and Puerto Rican descent, grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Both of his parents were educators but he was orphaned at age 12. He attended Phillips Andover Academy but was expelled during his junior year for disciplinary reasons. He moved in with an aunt and uncle in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where he completed high school. King earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University. He went on to earn a law degree at Yale and an educational doctorate at Columbia.

Before joining state government, King was involved in setting up charter schools in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and in New York.