1894 alumna’s grandson is 2018 Founders’ Day speaker

  • John B. King Jr. is a national education leader

    Tuesday, August 21, 2018
    Dr. John B. King Jr. - The Education Trust image

    UMES' 132nd Founders' Day Convocation speaker will be Dr. John B. King Jr., the grandson of one of the institution's earliest graduates. 

    King is president and chief executive of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps for students from preschool through college. 

    He previously served in President Barack Obama's cabinet as the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education.

    The Founders' Day event also serves as the university's summer commencement, where this year 29 graduate students have completed requirements to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. The ceremony will be held Sept. 13 in the Ella Fitzgerald Center for the Performing Arts at 10 a.m. 

    King's paternal grandmother, Estelle Stansberry, graduated in 1894 from Princess Anne Academy, when it was a secondary school under the jurisdiction of Baltimore's Morgan College that provided a late 19th-century path for blacks to earn a higher education degree. 

    According to King's family, Stansberry became a nurse at a Philadelphia hospital that one of her sons eventually led as an administrator. 

    Before being confirmed as education secretary in March 2016, King was deputy Secretary of Education responsible for policies and programs affecting pre-school through grade 12 education, English learners, special education and innovation. 

    Prior to joining the federal agency, King was New York State Commissioner of Education from 2011 until 2014, the first African American to hold that post. He began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, and as a middle school principal. 

    His parents were career New York City public school educators, both of whom died by the time he was 12 years old. King credits their peers - particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Brooklyn's Canarsie neighborhood and at Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island - for saving his life by providing “rich and engaging educational experiences and by giving him hope for the future,” according to his online biography. 

    King earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Harvard University, a law degree from Yale Law School as well as a Master of Arts in teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. He serves as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland's College of Education and is a member of several boards, including those for The Century Foundation, The Robin Hood Foundation and Teach Plus. 

    The University of Maryland Eastern Shore opened its doors on Sept. 13, 1886.


    Excerpts from Dr. King's Education Trust biography were used in this announcement.