United States Secretary of Education

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Secretary of Education of the United States of America
Seal of the Department of Education
Flag of the United States Secretary of Education.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Education
Phil Rosenfelt

since January 20, 2017
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
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Flag of the United States.svg United States portal

The United States Secretary of Education is the head of the U.S. Department of Education. The Secretary is the principal adviser to the President on federal policies, programs, and activities related to education in the United States. As a member of the President's Cabinet, this Secretary is fifteenth in the United States presidential line of succession.


The United States Secretary of Education is a member of the President's Cabinet, the fifteenth in the United States presidential line of succession.[1] This Secretary deals with federal influence over education policy, and heads the U.S. Department of Education.[2]

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."[3]

Current and future Secretaries[edit]

The current Secretary of Education is John King, Jr. King became Acting Secretary on January 1, 2016, and officially assumed the post on March 14, 2016.[4]

On November 23, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced Betsy DeVos to be his designee for Secretary of Education.[5]

Lists, Secretaries of Education[edit]

List of secretaries[edit]


  Democratic (5)   Republican (6)

  Denotes an Acting Secretary of Education
No. Portrait name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s)
1 Shirley Hufstedler, November 12, 2007.jpg Shirley Hufstedler California November 30, 1979 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
2 Terrel Bell, 1981.jpg Terrel Bell Utah January 22, 1981 January 20, 1985 Ronald Reagan
3 Bill Bennett by Gage Skidmore.jpg William Bennett New York February 6, 1985 September 20, 1988
4 Cavazos.jpg 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 official portrait.jpg Lamar Alexander Tennessee March 22, 1991 January 20, 1993
6 Richard Riley Official Department of Education Photo.jpg Richard Riley South Carolina January 21, 1993 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
7 Rod Paige.jpg Rod Paige Texas January 20, 2001 January 20, 2005 George W. Bush
8 Margaret Spellings, official ed photo 2.jpg Margaret Spellings Texas January 20, 2005 January 20, 2009
9 DuncanArne.jpg Arne Duncan[4] Illinois January 21, 2009 January 1, 2016 Barack Obama
10 John B. King official portrait.jpg John King, Jr.[4] New York January 1, 2016 March 14, 2016
March 14, 2016 January 20, 2017
No image.svg Phil Rosenfelt
January 20, 2017 present Donald Trump
11 Betsy DeVos 2005 crop.jpg Betsy DeVos[5] Michigan January 2017
Pending Senate confirmation

Living former Secretaries[edit]

As of January 2017, there are seven living former Secretaries of Education, the oldest being Lauro Cavazos (served 1988–1990, born 1927).[citation needed] The most recent Secretary of Education to die was Shirley Hufstedler (served 1979–1981, born 1925) on March 30, 2016.[citation needed] The most recently serving Secretary to die was Terrel Bell (served 1981-1985, born 1921) on June 22, 1996.[citation needed]

Name Term Date of birth (and age)
William Bennett[citation needed] 1985–1988 (1943-07-31) July 31, 1943 (age 73)
Lauro Cavazos[citation needed] 1988–1990 (1927-01-04) January 4, 1927 (age 90)
Lamar Alexander[citation needed] 1991–1993 (1940-07-06) July 6, 1940 (age 76)
Richard Riley[citation needed] 1993–2001 (1933-01-02) January 2, 1933 (age 84)
Rod Paige[citation needed] 2001–2005 (1933-06-17) June 17, 1933 (age 83)
Margaret Spellings[citation needed] 2005–2009 (1957-11-30) November 30, 1957 (age 59)
Arne Duncan[4] 2009–2015 (1964-11-06) November 6, 1964 (age 52)


  1. ^ Wilson, Reid (October 20, 2013). "The Presidential order of succession". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements". United States Department of Education. Retrieved 28 December 2016. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b c d 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. 
  5. ^ a b Hensley-Clancy, Molly (November 23, 2016). "Trump Picks Betsy DeVos As Education Secretary". Buzzfeed.com. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 

External links[edit]

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