United States Secretary of Education

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Secretary of Education of the United States of America
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
Betsy DeVos.jpg
Betsy DeVos

since February 7, 2017
United States Department of Education
Reports to The President
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Constituting instrument 20 U.S.C. § 3411
Formation November 30, 1979
First holder Shirley Hufstedler
Succession Sixteenth[1]
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Education
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1
Website www.ed.gov
Education in the United States
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The United States Secretary of Education is the head of the U.S. Department of Education. The Secretary advises 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 and is the fifteenth in the United States presidential line of succession.[2] This Secretary deals with federal influence over education policy, and heads the U.S. Department of Education.[3]

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."[4]

List of Secretaries of Education[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
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[5] Illinois January 21, 2009 January 1, 2016 Barack Obama
10 John B. King official portrait.jpg John King Jr.[5] New York January 1, 2016 March 14, 2016
March 14, 2016 January 20, 2017
No image.svg Phil Rosenfelt
Virginia January 20, 2017 February 7, 2017 Donald Trump
11 Betsy DeVos.jpg Betsy DeVos Michigan February 7, 2017 Incumbent

Living former Secretaries[edit]

As of February 2017, there are eight 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 1985–1988 (1943-07-31) July 31, 1943 (age 73)
Lauro Cavazos 1988–1990 (1927-01-04) January 4, 1927 (age 90)
Lamar Alexander 1990-1993 (1940-07-06) July 6, 1940 (age 76)
Richard Riley 1993–2001 (1933-01-02) January 2, 1933 (age 84)
Rod Paige 2001–2005 (1933-06-17) June 17, 1933 (age 83)
Margaret Spellings 2005–2009 (1957-11-30) November 30, 1957 (age 59)
Arne Duncan[5] 2009–2015 (1964-11-06) November 6, 1964 (age 52)
John King Jr. 2016–2017 1975 (age 41–42)


  1. ^ https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/3/19
  2. ^ Wilson, Reid (October 20, 2013). "The Presidential order of succession". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 December 2016. 
  3. ^ "US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements". United States Department of Education. Retrieved 28 December 2016. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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 23 November 2016. 

External links[edit]

United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Energy
15th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
David Shulkin