The Education Trust-West Statement: Dr. John B. King, Jr. to Serve as President of the Education Trust – National


Dr. John B. King, Jr. to Serve as President of the Education Trust – National

David V. Britt, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Education Trust, announced today that John B. King, Jr., who served as Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama, has been unanimously selected by the Board of Directors to assume the role of President.  “Over its 25 year history, the Education Trust has been a leader in the work to bring attention and action to closing long-standing opportunity and achievement gaps that separate too many low income students and students of color from their peers, pre-kindergarten through college.  This history provides a strong foundation on which to build new partnerships, new work, and new learning—indeed a new movement—and we think John is exactly the right leader for this next stage of the organization’s work.”

King started his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Boston, Massachusetts.  From 2011 to 2015, King served as the first African-American and first Puerto Rican Commissioner of Education in New York State, then was tapped by President Obama in 2015 for leadership at the U.S. Department of Education—first performing the duties of Deputy Secretary, and then as the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education.

Today, King told the Education Trust staff, “The Education Trust’s mission is my life’s mission. I lost my parents at a very young age.  But in my New York City public schools, I was fortunate to have great teachers who made school engaging, challenging, and nurturing.  Amazing teachers at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island gave me a sense of hope and possibility.  If I had not had those teachers, I wouldn’t be alive today. They literally saved my life.  At the Education Trust, I want to help more kids like me—kids for whom schools make all the difference—get the education they need and deserve.”

King wants to build on that momentum by increasing the Education Trust’s support for state advocacy, but also by seeking new partnerships with equity-minded education and civic leaders around the country. After a brief transition period, Ed Trust CEO Kati Haycock will step down from the organization she founded in the early 1990’s.

“As the Education Trust –West continues its equity-driven research, policy and advocacy work alongside civil rights groups, educators, parents, students and community-based organizations from across California, I am thrilled that Dr. King will be The Education Trust’s new national president,” says Ryan J. Smith, executive director of the Education Trust –West. “I want to express deep gratitude to Ed Trust’s founder, Kati Haycock, for her decades-long commitment to fighting on behalf of low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities and English learners.”

King and his wife Melissa live in Takoma Park, Maryland, where their two daughters attend Montgomery County Public Schools.  He will start his new role on March 6, 2017.


The Education Trust –West is the West Coast arm of The Education Trust. It was founded in 2001 as a California-based research, policy and advocacy organization focused on closing opportunity and achievement gaps.

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.