In a move that’s sure to raise the eyebrows of charter school skeptics, the state has named an executive from a city charter school organization as its number-two education official.
John King, currently the managing director of an Uncommon Schools network here in the city, will next month become the State Education Department’s deputy commissioner focusing on elementary and secondary schools, the state announced today. In that job, he’ll “lead the state’s school reform efforts,” according to the department’s press release. King will start his new job Oct. 5, four days after David Steiner takes over as state education commissioner. King is replacing Johanna Duncan-Poitier, who is heading off to SUNY, where she’ll lead an effort to develop a “pipeline” that serves students from early children through college and beyond.
Here’s the state’s press release about King’s appointment:
STATE BOARD OF REGENTS APPOINTS DEPUTY COMMISSIONER TO LEAD EDUCATION REFORM EFFORT
The State Board of Regents today announced the appointment of Dr. John B. King, Jr. as Senior Deputy Commissioner for P-12 Education. In his position, King will lead the State’s school reform efforts. He will begin State service on October 5, 2009.
Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said, “John King is a nationally recognized education leader with a proven track record of lifting student achievement, particularly for low-income minority students in urban settings. His goal is always the same – ensuring that the students in his care are prepared for college-level work and productive careers.”
“New York’s children, teachers, and schools are fortunate to have John King assume this important leadership position,” said Education Commissioner-elect David M. Steiner, who will begin service as Commissioner on October 1, 2009. Steiner added, “Students have thrived at the schools John King has overseen. And I know he will bring the same commitment to educational excellence to all of New York’s children in his new role at the Education Department.”
King said, “I look forward to working with teachers, school leaders, parents, and all of those throughout the State who are interested in raising student achievement. The Regents have set an aggressive reform agenda and I am thrilled to work with them and Commissioner-elect Steiner to accelerate the progress already underway.”
John King has been recognized across the State and the nation for providing results-driven educational leadership. As co-founder and co-director of the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston, he developed an instructional program and school culture that provided not only the academic skills but also the self-discipline and character essential for success in high school and college. Under John King’s leadership, Roxbury Prep’s students attained the highest state exam scores of any urban middle school in Massachusetts, closed the racial achievement gap, and outperformed students from not only the Boston district schools but the city’s affluent suburbs. One hundred percent of the school’s students are Black or Latino, over 70% of the students qualify for free or reduced price lunch, and all of its graduates matriculate to college preparatory high schools; 80 percent of the school’s graduates who are now college-age are persisting in college.
In his current role as Managing Director with Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter management organization that operates schools in New York and New Jersey, Dr. King has continued to improve educational outcomes for low-income students in urban settings. In 2009, 98 percent of grade 3-8 students in the New York State Uncommon Schools network scored at Level 3 or 4 on the State math assessments, compared with 86 percent of all New York students and 82 percent of New York City students. In addition, 89 percent of the New York State Uncommon Schools grade 3-8 students scored at Level 3 or 4 on the State’s English Language Arts assessments, compared with 77 percent at the State level and 69 percent in New York City.
A former high school history teacher from a family of New York City public school educators, John King is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College. Additionally, he holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and both an M.A. in the Teaching of Social Studies and an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. He has served on the board of New Leaders for New Schools, the nationally recognized principal training program, and is an Aspen Institute-NewSchools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellow.