James B. Hunt

James B. Hunt is the former four-term North Carolina Governor (1977-2001) who created the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), which promotes excellence in teaching through voluntary National Board certification. In addition, this celebrated education policymaker served as the founding chair for the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education and was named chairman of the National Education Goals Panel.



William J. Bennett

Bennett is the former Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities and succeeded Terrel H. Bell at Reagan's request in 1985 and served until 1988, when he stepped down to pursue other education policy interests. He later served as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.


Lauro F. Cavazos

Cavazos was appointed Secretary toward the end of Reagan's second term in 1988. A former president of Texas Tech University, Dr. Cavazos continued to serve as Secretary for the first two years of the Bush presidency, stepping down in 1990.


Lamar Alexander

Alexander was selected by President Bush to succeed Cavazos in 1991. He served previously as President of the University of Tennessee system, and before that, as governor of Tennesssee. Mr. Alexander remained Secretary until 1993, and he was later a Republican candidate for president.


Richard W. Riley

Riley was appointed by President Bill Clinton at the beginning of his first term in 1993 and remained Education Secretary until 2001, the longest-serving Secretary to date. Mr. Riley served as state senator and later governor for South Carolina before being appointed to the post.


Roderick Paige

Paige was appointed Secretary by President George W. Bush in 2001. He came to the post after serving as dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University and as Superintendent for the Houston Independent School District.