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Who is Dr Miguel Cardona? CT education commissioner appointed US education secretary

Iram Sharifah Khan December 23, 2020
who is miguel cardona
Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Who is Dr Miguel Cardona? The Connecticut education commissioner was called a political “outsider” following the announcement that he’s one of two top picks for Biden’s education secretary.

Today, Dr Miguel Cardona has been announced as the Biden cabinet’s nominee for education secretary. Let’s learn more about Miguel Cardona’s career, bio and education.

Who is Dr Miguel Cardona?

Dr Miguel Cardona was born in 1975, in Connecticut, to Puerto Rican parents who migrated to the US as children.

Cardona spent the majority of his career as an educator in the area where he grew up – Meriden, Connecticut. He came from a lower class background and says he had to work his way up.

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He told the CT Mirror about his upbringing: “There were times throughout my youth that I think people had lower expectations than they should have. It just made me hungrier.”

Dr Cardona is president-elect Joe Biden’s confirmed choice for US education secretary, after running against former Howard University dean emeritus, Dr. Leslie Fenwick.

Both their candidatures and Dr Cardona’s election to the role signify a huge step forward for people of colour in education and politics.

Miguel Cardona and his wife, Marissa Perez, live in Connecticut and have two children together.

Dr Cardona’s career and education

Dr Miguel Cardona’s teaching career goes back almost two decades and started with his role as elementary school teacher in Meriden, CT. In 2003, at the age of 28, he became moderately famous as the youngest school principal in Connecticut.

In August 2019, he was appointed the Connecticut commissioner of education by Governor Edward Lamont., a role he has held ever since. His term for this role would end in 2023.

Now that Dr Cardona has won the candidacy, it is unsure what will happen to the title he currently holds. He will have to step down in order to join the Biden cabinet in January 2021.

According to the CT Insider, he is “the first Latino to hold the post in a state that has one of the largest achievement gaps in the United States between its Latino and non-Hispanic white students.”

Dr Cardona’s background shows how hard he has worked to get to where he is.

His love for his community is evident from how much he has given back to Meriden, and this is an attitude that may serve a future education secretary well. Still, as the new education secretary, Dr Cardona will have to face difficult decisions in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.

President-elect Joe Biden says he would like to announce the rest of his cabinet members before Christmas. According to the Washington Post, “an announcement has been expected by next week, […] but it’s possible that timing will change.”

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Iram is a London-based freelance journalist with a BA in Journalism and Media from Birkbeck University. She studied several modules, including Journalism in British Life, Interview skills and Feature Writing, Introduction to Journalism Practice and Manga and Anime. Iram went from university to work with GRV Media at The Focus Writers’ Academy and enjoys learning Japanese, taking singing lessons, playing video games and watching Korean dramas in her spare time.