Federal Explainer

Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education: Background and Achievements

By Education Week Library Staff — March 01, 2021 | Updated: July 19, 2022 3 min read
Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Education, speaks after being introduced at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., on Dec. 23, 2020.
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Biographical Information: Cardona was born in Meriden, Conn. After earning a degree in bilingual bicultural education from Central Connecticut State University, he began his education career in 1998, working as a 4th-grade teacher at Israel Putnam Elementary School in Meriden. In 2003, Cardona took the helm of Hanover Elementary School, becoming Connecticut’s youngest principal at age 28. Less than ten years later, in 2012, he was awarded the National Distinguished Principal Award for Connecticut. That same year he earned his doctorate from the University of Connecticut. He became a district administrator in 2013, working as the Meriden district’s performance and evaluation specialist. In 2019, Cardona became Connecticut’s state superintendent. In that role, he pushed for reopening schools during the pandemic.

Serving Under: President Joe Biden

Dates of Tenure: 2021-Present

Fun Fact: Cardona sometimes played the bongo drums at events with his father and brother’s band.

To follow news on Miguel Cardona, click “Follow Topic” on the Miguel Cardona page.

Archives of Note:

Biden Picks Connecticut Schools Chief Miguel Cardona for Education Secretary

Cardona became head of the Connecticut Department of Education in 2019. He’s also been a teacher, principal, and district administrator. (Dec. 22, 2020)

Where Biden’s Choice for Education Secretary Stands on Key K-12 Issues

Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, Biden’s pick for education secretary, has taken positions on an array of K-12 issues. (Dec. 22, 2020)

Biden’s Pick for Ed. Secretary: U.S. Must Help Schools ‘Forge Opportunity Out of Crisis’

President-elect Joe Biden introduced Connecticut schools chief Miguel Cardona as his choice for U.S. secretary of education Wednesday. (Dec. 23, 2020)

5 Things To Know About Dr. Miguel Cardona: Biden’s Choice for Ed. Secretary

Watch EdWeek politics reporters Andrew Ujifusa and Evie Blad as they discuss 5 key questions about Dr. Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Education Secretary. (Jan. 5, 2021)

Who Is Miguel Cardona? Education Secretary Pick Has Roots in Classroom, Principal’s Office

Many who’ve worked with Joe Biden’s pick for education secretary say he’s ready for what would be a giant step up. (Jan. 14, 2021)

Miguel Cardona Pressed by Lawmakers on Tests, Reopening Schools, and Transgender Students

The nominee for secretary of education stressed the value of COVID-19 relief and that schools must be “free of harassment and discrimination.” (Feb. 3, 2021)

Unpacking Cardona’s Confirmation Hearing: What We Learned

Education Week reporters Andrew Ujifusa and Evie Blad discuss key topics that arose during Miguel Cardona’s confirmation hearing, and what comes next. (Feb. 4, 2021)

Senate Confirms Miguel Cardona as Education Secretary

The former Connecticut education commissioner got his start as an elementary school teacher and was a principal and school administrator. (March 1, 2021)

EdWeek Q&A: Miguel Cardona Talks Summer Learning, Mental Health, and State Tests

In an interview after a school reopening summit, the education secretary also addressed teachers’ union concerns about CDC guidance. (March 24, 2021)

White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona

President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the “systemic causes” of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students. (Sept. 13, 2021)

Miguel Cardona Came in as a Teacher Champion. Has COVID Muted His Message?

The education secretary is taking heat from some who say his advocacy is overshadowed by Biden’s push to keep schools open. (Jan. 20, 2022)

Miguel Cardona Tells Teachers ‘I Know You’re Tired’ in Speech Outlining Major K-12 Goals

The education secretary outlined his vision for education and specific goals for schools, but COVID has complicated his work. (Jan. 27, 2022)

Additional Resources
Connecticut Department of Education A short biography from the Connecticut Department of Education

How to Cite This Article
Education Week Library Staff. (2021, March 1). Miguel Cardona, U.S. Education Secretary: Biography and Achievements. Education Week. Retrieved Month Day, Year from https://www.edweek.org/policy-politics/miguel-cardona-u-s-education-secretary-background-and-achievements/2021/02

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