Focus Policy Blog


Joint Center Meets With U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr.

On May 4, the Joint Center, partnering with INSIGHT America, organized a breakfast with U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. and Office of Civil Rights Assistant Secretary Catherine Lhamon.

The U.S. Department of Education creates federal education financial aid policies, collects data on America’s schools, brings national attention to key educational issues, prohibits discrimination and ensures equal access to education for all students. Under Secretary King’s leadership, the Department has focused on excellence and equity, supporting and elevating teachers, and improving college affordability and completion rates.

Secretary King was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2016. Before becoming secretary, Dr. King worked in the Education Department as the principal senior advisor and carried out the duties of the deputy secretary, including overseeing all preschool-through-12th-grade education programs and initiatives, working with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper task force, and working to close school achievement gaps. Prior to that, Dr. King served as commissioner of education for the state of New York, and was the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve in that role.

Catherine E. Lhamon serves as the assistant secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining the Department, Lhamon worked as the director of impact litigation at Public Counsel and as the assistant legal director at ACLU of Southern California.

Meeting participants included:

  • Oracle Government Affairs Director Sara Akbar
  • Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Interim President & CEO Cristina Antelo
  • National Action Network Associate DC Bureau Chief Faith T. Blackburne
  • Communities for Just Schools Fund Executive Director Allison Brown
  • The National Council of La Raza Education Policy Analyst Brenda Calderon
  • BP America Vice President and Head of External Affairs Ray Dempsey
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund Government Affairs Director Paris Dennard
  • The George Washington University Law School Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Roger A. Fairfax
  • The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development Dean and Professor Michael J Feuer, PhD
  • Urban Institute Senior Research Associate Megan Gallagher
  • National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Deputy Director for Constituency Services-Education Dr. Edelmira Garcia
  • White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans Executive Director David Johns
  • Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Board Chair Barbara Johnson
  • National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Christopher Kang
  • Jack Kemp Foundation National President Jimmy Kemp
  • Urban Cure National Clergy Relations Director Rev. Derek McCoy
  • Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies President Spencer Overton
  • National Action Network DC Bureau Chief Ebonie Riley
  • Corporation for Enterprise Development Children’s Savings Director & Asset Building Senior Advisor Carl Rist
  • Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Director of Programs & External Affairs Nina Roque
  • National Urban League Senior Director for Policy and Legislative Affairs Susie Saavedra
  • INSIGHT America Co-Founder Elroy Sailor
  • Open Society Foundations Senior Policy Advisor for Education and Youth Justice Christopher L. Scott
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Director of Educational Opportunities Brenda Shum
  • Generation Opportunity Director of External Affairs Ja’Ron K. Smith
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Public Policy Interim Director Kimberly Tignor
  • American Association of Blacks in Energy Vice President Tracey Woods
View photos here.