The First Black Education Commissioner In New York Was Just Named Chancellor of SUNY


December 8, 2022

The Brooklyn native was recently selected as the 15th chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), TheGrio reports.

Former New York Education Commissioner John King started his career teaching social studies in Puerto Rico before heading to Boston. From 2011 to 2015, he had the opportunity to work under the Obama administration to head the state Department of Education. Spending majority of his life in public service, he decided to run for governor of Maryland just last year. 

The SUNY Board of Trustees announced the appointment of John B. King on Monday, coming to an unanimous decision to name King chancellor of the largest public university system in the nation. With the help of Betty Rosa, the state’s first latina woman to serve as Education Commissioner, he plans to address the major decline in enrollment and improve equity and diversity.


In an interview with POLITICO, King said,  “We have a tremendous opportunity to advance access, affordability and completion and to make SUNY the strongest possible driver of economic development and economic mobility for the state. I’m very excited, and having served at every level of the education system, from classroom teacher to principal, to leading schools and school systems…to bring all of those experiences to bear in this work.”


Gov. Kathy Hochul, who oversees the budget for SUNY’s 64 campuses, was pleased with King’s selection and believes his background will help him a lot in this new role. “We are looking for a transformational figure, someone that will come here and reestablish the preeminence that I always thought SUNY should have,” she stated.


Congrats on your new role, King!


Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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