Connecticut Chief of Schools Miguel Cardona is expected to head south to Washington, D.C. to serve in President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet as Education Secretary in a meteoric two-year rise to national prominence.
The appointment of Cardona, a lifelong resident of Meriden, could be officially announced as soon as sometime on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
The Washington Post first reported last week that Cardona, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, who was president of the National Education Association for six years, and Leslie T. Fenwick, the dean emeritus of the Howard University School of Education and an education policy professor, were the front-runners for the position, though it now appears Cardona won out.
According to reports, Cardona met virtually with Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Monday, Dec. 21.
If he is nominated, Cardona will hit the ground running, as Biden has vowed to reopen and keep schools open within his first 100 days in office, something Cardona has also been adamant about in Connecticut during the pandemic.
Biden previously said he would choose a school teacher to serve as his Education Secretary, which Cardona fits, having started his career as an elementary school teacher in Meriden before moving up to school principal and assistant superintendent before being named Gov. Ned Lamont’s Commissioner of Education last year.
Cardona served as co-chairperson of the Connecticut Legislative Achievement Gap Task Force as well as co-chairperson of the Connecticut Birth to Grade Three Leaders Council. He also taught for four years as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Educational Leadership., according to the state's website.
“Miguel Cardona’s formative experience as a teacher and administrator has been critical to his accomplishments as Connecticut Education Commissioner,” the Board of Education Union Coalition said this week in a statement. "He has been tested by the unprecedented upheaval caused by the pandemic.
“While this challenge has been a rocky road — and many issues remain unresolved — teachers and school support staff have appreciated his openness and collaboration,” they continued. “If selected as Secretary of Education, Dr. Cardona would be a positive force for public education — light years ahead of the dismal Betsy DeVos track record.”
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