Miguel Cardona (2021- )
Miguel Cardona was born on July 11, 1975, in Meriden, Connecticut. His parents were both of Puerto Rican descent, and Miguel spoke Spanish at home. He attended Central Connecticut State University, becoming the first in his family to finish college when he graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in education. In 2001, he received his master’s degree in bilingual and bicultural education from the University of Connecticut, where he also completed his doctorate in education.
Cardona spent most of his career in the Meriden public schools, beginning as a fourth-grade teacher. He became the state’s youngest principal in 2003. In 2013, he took the position of a performance and evaluation specialist, and two years later, he was named an assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. In 2019, the governor of Connecticut appointed Cardona the state’s commissioner of education. In that position, Cardona helped the state navigate the Covid-19 pandemic and adapt to new circumstances, including, in many cases, virtual learning.
In December 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he would nominate Cardona as secretary of the Department of Education. The US Senate confirmed him by a vote of 64 to 33 on March 1, 2021, and Cardona was sworn as the twelfth secretary of Education in the next day. He focused on pursuing an equity agenda and balancing education with public health demands in the midst of the pandemic.