Arne Duncan was named U.S. secretary of education by President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Jan. 20, 2009. Duncan served in this position until December 2015. Prior to his appointment, Duncan served as the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools from June 2001 through December 2008, becoming the longest-serving big-city education superintendent in the country. Currently, Duncan is a managing partner at Emerson Collective, where he focuses on improving the lives of young adults in his hometown of Chicago. He leads Chicago CRED, an initiative designed to dramatically reduce gun violence in Chicago. Through partnerships with local business leaders, community organizers, and nonprofit groups, Duncan aims to create job and life opportunities for disconnected youth between the ages of 17 and 24.
Before joining the Chicago Public Schools, Duncan ran the Ariel Education Initiative (1992–1998), a nonprofit focused on advancing educational opportunities in economically disadvantaged areas. From 1987 to 1991, Duncan played professional basketball in Australia, where he worked with children who were wards of the state. Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987. He is married to Karen Duncan and has two children, Clare and Ryan.