United States Secretary of Education

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Secretary of Education of the United States of America
Seal of the Department of Education
Flag of the United States Secretary of Education.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Education
Betsy DeVos

since February 7, 2017
United States Department of Education
Style Mr. Secretary
Member of Cabinet
Reports to The President
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 20 U.S.C. § 3411
Formation November 30, 1979
First holder Shirley Hufstedler
Succession Fifteenth in the United States Presidential Line of Succession
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Education
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1
Website www.ed.gov

The United States Secretary of Education is the head of the U.S. Department of Education. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet, and fifteenth in line of United States presidential line of succession. The United States Secretary of Education deals with Education policy.

The Secretary is advised by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, an advisory committee, on "matters related to accreditation and to the eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education."[1]

The current Secretary of Education is Betsy DeVos. She was confirmed by the Senate on February 7, 2017 when Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie, the first time a sitting Vice President cast the desiding vote on a Cabinet nominee.[2]

List of Secretaries of Education


      Democratic       Republican

No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s)
1 Shirley Hufstedler, November 12, 2007.jpg Shirley M. Hufstedler California November 30, 1979 January 20, 1981 Jimmy Carter
2 Terrel Bell, 1981.jpg Terrel H. Bell Utah January 22, 1981 January 20, 1985 Ronald Reagan
3 Bill Bennett by Gage Skidmore.jpg William J. Bennett New York February 6, 1985 September 20, 1988
4 Cavazos.jpg Lauro F. Cavazos Texas September 20, 1988 December 12, 1990
George H. W. Bush
5 Lamar Alexander official portrait.jpg Lamar Alexander Tennessee March 22, 1991 January 20, 1993
6 75px Richard W. Riley South Carolina January 21, 1993 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
7 Rod Paige.jpg Roderick R. Paige Texas January 20, 2001 January 20, 2005 George W. Bush
8 Margaret Spellings, official ed photo 2.jpg Margaret Spellings Texas January 20, 2005 January 20, 2009
9 DuncanArne.jpg Arne Duncan Illinois January 21, 2009 January 1, 2016 Barack Obama
10 John B. King, Jr.2015.jpg John King, Jr. New York January 1, 2016 March 14, 2016
March 14,2016 January 20, 2017
- Phil Rosenfelt Virginia January 20, 2017 February 7, 2017 Donald Trump
11 File:Betsy Devos 2.tif Betsy DeVos Michigan February 7, 2017 Incumbent

Living former Secretaries of Education

As of February 2023, there are eight living former Secretaries of Education, the oldest being Shirley Hufstedler (1979-1981, born 1925). The most recent Secretary of Education to pass away was Terrel Bell (1981-1985), on June 22, 1996.

Name Term of office Date of birth (and age)
Shirley Hufstedler 1979–1981 (1925-08-24) August 24, 1925 (age 97)
William Bennett 1985–1988 (1943-07-31) July 31, 1943 (age 79)
Lauro Cavazos 1988–1990 (1927-01-04) January 4, 1927 (age 96)
Lamar Alexander 1991–1993 (1940-07-06) July 6, 1940 (age 82)
Richard Riley 1993–2001 (1933-01-02) January 2, 1933 (age 90)
Rod Paige 2001-2005 (1933-06-17) June 17, 1933 (age 89)
Margaret Spellings 2005-2009 (1957-11-30) November 30, 1957 (age 65)
Arne Duncan 2009-2016 (1964-11-06) November 6, 1964 (age 58)


  1. "National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity". United States Department of Education. 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. O'Brien, Cortney (2017-02-07). "Mike Pence Makes History, Casts Deciding Vote for DeVos". Townhall.com. Retrieved 2017-02-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Energy
Ernest Moniz
15th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Robert McDonald