United States Secretary of Education

Secretary of Education of the United States of America

Seal of the Department of Education

Flag of the Secretary of Education
John King

since January 1, 2016
Acting: January 1, 2016 – March 14, 2016
United States Department of Education
Style Mr. Secretary
Member of Cabinet
Reports to The President
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 20 U.S.C. § 3411
Formation November 30, 1979
First holder Shirley Hufstedler
Succession Fifteenth in the United States Presidential Line of Succession
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Education
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1
Website www.ed.gov
Education in the United States
Education portal
United States portal

The United States Secretary of Education is the head of the U.S. Department of Education, and takes advice, and proposes and executes legislation that deals with federal influence over Education policy. As a member of the President's Cabinet, this Secretary is fifteenth in line of United States presidential line of succession.


The United States Secretary of Education is a member of the President's Cabinet, the fifteenth in line of United States presidential line of succession. This Secretary deals with federal influence over Education policy, and heads the U.S. Department of Education.

The Secretary is advised by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, an advisory committee, on "matters related to accreditation and to the eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education."[1]

Current and future Secretaries

As of March 14, 2016 the Secretary of Education is John King, Jr.. He had been Acting Secretary since January 1, 2016.[2]

On November 23, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump announced Betsy DeVos to be his designee for Secretary of Education.[3]

Lists, Secretaries of Education

All former Secretaries


  Democratic   Republican

  Denotes an Acting Secretary of Education
No. Portrait name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s)
1 Shirley Hufstedler California November 30, 1979 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
2 Terrel Bell Utah January 22, 1981 January 20, 1985 Ronald Reagan
3 William Bennett New York February 6, 1985 September 20, 1988
4 Lauro Cavazos Texas September 20, 1988 December 12, 1990
George H. W. Bush
- Ted Sanders
Illinois December 12, 1990 March 22, 1991
5 Lamar Alexander Tennessee March 22, 1991 January 20, 1993
6 Richard Riley South Carolina January 21, 1993 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
7 Rod Paige Texas January 20, 2001 January 20, 2005 George W. Bush
8 Margaret Spellings Texas January 20, 2005 January 20, 2009
9 Arne Duncan[2] Illinois January 21, 2009 January 1, 2016 Barack Obama
10 John King, Jr.[2] New York January 1, 2016 March 14, 2016
March 14, 2016 January, 2017
11 Betsy DeVos[3] Michigan January 2017
Pending Senate confirmation
Designate Donald Trump

Living former Secretaries

As of December 2016, there are seven living former Secretaries of Education, the oldest being Lauro Cavazos (served 1988–1990, born 1927). The most recent Secretary of Education to die was Shirley Hufstedler (served 1979–1981, born 1925) on March 30, 2016. The most recently serving Secretary to die was Terrel Bell (served 1981-1985, born 1921) on June 22, 1996.

NameTerm of officeDate of birth (and age)
William Bennett 1985–1988 July 31, 1943
Lauro Cavazos 1988–1990 January 4, 1927
Lamar Alexander 1991–1993 July 6, 1940
Richard Riley 1993–2001 January 2, 1933
Rod Paige 2001–2005 June 17, 1933
Margaret Spellings 2005–2009 November 30, 1957
Arne Duncan[2] 2009–2016 November 6, 1964


  1. NACIQI Staff (November 23, 2016). "Welcome". Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Eilperin, Juliet; Layton, Lyndsey & Brown, Emma (October 2, 2015). "U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to step down at end of year". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  3. 1 2 Hensley-Clancy, Molly (November 23, 2016). "Trump Picks Betsy DeVos As Education Secretary". Buzzfeed.com. Retrieved November 23, 2016.

External links

United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Energy
Ernest Moniz
15th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Robert McDonald
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