Former State Superintendent of Education
John White served as the Louisiana state superintendent of education from 2012 to 2020. Under his leadership, the state launched Louisiana Believes, a plan to ensure every child is on track to college or a professional career. White worked to unify the state’s fragmented early childhood system; modernize expectations for students; empower teachers; guarantee economic opportunity for high school graduates; and provide families with expansive school options.
When White stepped down, Louisiana was a better educated state than at any point in its history. The state’s eighth-grade students improved in mathematics on the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) more than did students in any other state in the nation. Over the last decade, Louisiana’s improvements rank in the top 10 among states on all four main NAEP tests. In 2018, a greater percentage of students than at any point in the state’s history graduated from high school. More students in that class than ever before graduated having earned a college credit or an industry credential; the number of Advanced Placement credits they earned nearly tripled the number earned in 2012. More graduates in 2018 than ever before entered community colleges or universities, and a greater percentage of graduates completed financial aid forms in Louisiana than in any state in the nation. In addition, more Louisiana graduates than ever before earned TOPS scholarships to ease the financial burden of a college degree.
Prior to being named state superintendent, White served as superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District. He oversaw the nation’s first system of publicly funded charter and non-public schools in New Orleans and launched the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone to replicate the successes.
Before moving to Louisiana, White worked in New York City under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and School Chancellor Joel Klein. He served as deputy chancellor, launching the Innovation Zone—a network of 100 21st Century schools that use technology to personalize student learning—and leading the city’s efforts to turn around more than 100 failing campuses and start 500 new charter and district schools.
White previously served as executive director of Teach For America—Chicago and Teach For America—New Jersey. He began his career as an English teacher at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, N.J. White holds a bachelor’s in English, with distinction, from the University of Virginia and a master’s in public administration from New York University. White is a member of the Chiefs for Change Board of Directors.