The U.S. Department of Education has had 12 secretaries since its birth as a Cabinet-level department in 1980. Some have served for an entire presidential administration, others for less than a year. They’ve used their perch at the helm of the Education Department to push a broad basket of policy priorities, from standardized testing and broader civil rights enforcement to a rollback of the federal footprint in K-12. And they’ve come from a range of backgrounds, including that of former governor, federal judiciary, state schools chief, big-city superintendent, and outspoken policy advocate.
Check out these pages for a deep look at each secretary’s tenure, challenges, and accomplishments.