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United States Secretary of Education

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Secretary of Education
Seal of the United States Department of Education.svg
Seal of the Department of Education
Flag of the United States Secretary of Education.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Education
Miguel Cardona

since March 2, 2021
United States Department of Education
StyleMr. Secretary
The Honorable
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatLyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building, Washington, D.C.
AppointerPresident of the United States
with Senate advice and consent
Constituting instrument20 U.S.C. § 3411
FormationNovember 30, 1979; 41 years ago (1979-11-30)
First holderShirley Hufstedler
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Education
SalaryExecutive Schedule, Level I

The United States secretary of education is the head of the U.S. Department of Education. The secretary serves as the principal advisor to the president of the United States, and the federal government, on policies, programs, and activities related to all education in the United States. As a member of the Cabinet of the United States, the secretary is fifteenth in the line of succession to the presidency.

The current secretary of education is Miguel Cardona, who was confirmed by the Senate on March 1, 2021.[2]


The United States secretary of education is a member of the president's Cabinet and is the fifteenth in the United States presidential line of succession.[3] This secretary deals with federal influence over education policy, and heads the United States Department of Education.[4]

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."[5]

List of secretaries

Prior to the creation of the Department of Education in 1979, Education was part of the ambit of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.


  Democratic   Republican

  Denotes an Acting Secretary of Education

Health, education, and welfare

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President(s)
Oveta Culp Hobby Texas April 11, 1953 July 31, 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Marion B. Folsom New York August 2, 1955 July 31, 1958
Arthur S. Flemming Ohio August 1, 1958 January 19, 1961
Abraham A. Ribicoff Connecticut January 21, 1961 July 13, 1962 John F. Kennedy
Anthony J. Celebrezze Ohio July 31, 1962 August 17, 1965
Lyndon B. Johnson
John W. Gardner, U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.jpg
John W. Gardner California August 18, 1965 March 1, 1968
Wilbur J. Cohen Michigan May 16, 1968 January 20, 1969
Robert H. Finch California January 21, 1969 June 23, 1970 Richard Nixon
Elliot L. Richardson Massachusetts June 24, 1970 January 29, 1973
Caspar Weinberger official photo.jpg
Caspar W. Weinberger California February 12, 1973 August 8, 1975
Gerald Ford
F. David Mathews.jpg
F. David Mathews Alabama August 8, 1975 January 20, 1977
JAC AR 2007.jpg
Joseph A. Califano Jr. District of Columbia January 25, 1977 August 3, 1979 Jimmy Carter
Patricia R. Harris.jpg
Patricia Roberts Harris August 3, 1979 May 4, 1980[6]



No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office President
United States Secretary of Education Shirley Hufstedler at Miami-Dade Community College 1980-02-07 (cropped 2).jpg
Shirley Hufstedler California November 30, 1979 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
Terrel Bell Utah January 22, 1981 January 20, 1985 Ronald Reagan
Bill Bennett by Gage Skidmore.jpg
William Bennett North Carolina February 6, 1985 September 20, 1988
Lauro Cavazos Texas September 20, 1988 December 12, 1990
George H. W. Bush
Portrait gray.png
Ted Sanders
Illinois December 12, 1990 March 22, 1991
Lamar Alexander black and white photo.jpg
Lamar Alexander Tennessee March 22, 1991 January 20, 1993
Richard Riley Official Department of Education Photo.jpg
Richard Riley South Carolina January 21, 1993 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
Rod Paige.jpg
Rod Paige Texas January 20, 2001 January 20, 2005 George W. Bush
Margaret Spellings, official ed photo 3.jpg
Margaret Spellings January 20, 2005 January 20, 2009
Arne Duncan official photo (cropped).jpg
Arne Duncan[8] Illinois January 21, 2009 January 1, 2016 Barack Obama
John B. King official portrait (cropped2).jpg
John King Jr.[8] New York January 1, 2016 March 14, 2016
March 14, 2016 January 20, 2017
Phil Rosenfelt (cropped).jpg
Phil Rosenfelt
Virginia January 20, 2017 February 7, 2017 Donald Trump
Betsy DeVos official portrait (cropped).jpg
Betsy DeVos Michigan February 7, 2017 January 8, 2021
Mick Zais official photo (cropped).jpg
Mick Zais
South Carolina January 8, 2021 January 20, 2021
Phil Rosenfelt (cropped).jpg
Phil Rosenfelt
Virginia January 20, 2021 March 2, 2021 Joe Biden
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, official portrait (cropped).jpg
Miguel Cardona Connecticut March 2, 2021 Incumbent

Living former secretaries

As of September 2021, there are nine living former secretaries of education (with all secretaries that have served since 1985 still living), 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.

Name Term Date of birth (and age)
William Bennett 1985–1988 (1943-07-31) July 31, 1943 (age 78)
Lauro Cavazos 1988–1990 (1927-01-04) January 4, 1927 (age 94)
Lamar Alexander 1990–1993 (1940-07-03) July 3, 1940 (age 81)
Richard Riley 1993–2001 (1933-01-02) January 2, 1933 (age 88)
Rod Paige 2001–2005 (1933-06-17) June 17, 1933 (age 88)
Margaret Spellings 2005–2009 (1957-11-30) November 30, 1957 (age 63)
Arne Duncan[8] 2009–2016 (1964-11-06) November 6, 1964 (age 56)
John King Jr. 2016–2017 (1975-01-05) January 5, 1975 (age 46)
Betsy DeVos 2017–2021 (1958-01-08) January 8, 1958 (age 63)


  1. ^ "3 U.S. Code § 19 - Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act". Legal Information Institute. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  2. ^ KATHRYN WATSON (March 2, 2021). "Senate confirms Miguel Cardona as education secretary". CBS News. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  3. ^ Wilson, Reid (October 20, 2013). "The Presidential order of succession". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  4. ^ "US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements". United States Department of Education. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Harris was Secretary on May 4, 1980, when the office changed names from Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to Secretary of Health and Human Services. Because the department merely changed names, she did not need to be confirmed again, and her term continued uninterrupted.
  7. ^ "The Education Secretaries Miguel Cardona Would Follow". Education Writers Association. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c 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 November 23, 2016.

External links

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jennifer Granholm
as Secretary of Energy
Order of precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Education
Succeeded by
Denis McDonough
as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Energy
Jennifer Granholm
16th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Denis McDonough
This page was last edited on 6 September 2021, at 23:56
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