Dr. Jill Biden: Educator in the White House
“I’m passionate about education because, like most teachers, I’m a lifelong learner. I love to learn new things…I believe that education is the best way to change lives and create opportunity,” said Dr. Jill Biden while answering questions sent in by kids to The Washington Post.
Dr. Biden is a New Jersey-born educator who teaches writing at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and is now the first lady of the United States. While being second lady during Obama’s presidency, she continued her role at NOVA, though with more anonymity than her current position of first lady allows.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware in 1975, Dr. Biden first became an English teacher at St. Marks High School and then quickly became a reading specialist at Claymont High School while finishing her Master of Education with a specialty in reading at West Chester University. At Claymont High School, her job was to catch up the students who were behind in reading achievement. One of those students was Yolanda McCoy, who told The Washington Post that, though English was not her favorite subject, Dr. Biden “won us over. By the end of the year, we were engaging more.” McCoy is now a Wilmington City Council member.
Dr. Biden received her second Masters of Education, though this time studying English, from Villanova University while teaching English at the Rockford Center psychiatric hospital. For fifteen years, Dr. Biden taught at Delaware Technical Community College and at the same time received her Doctor of Education in educational leadership from the University of Delaware before ending up at NOVA while her husband served as Vice President. At NOVA, she is known as “Dr. B” and teaches students to become better writers and helped to create the women’s center at NOVA to help women on campus finish their degrees.
Only some can say that their English teacher is the first lady of the United States. Former NOVA student Juliette Rosso said, “She was genuine, and she was humble.” Another of Dr. Biden’s student, Mikaela Stack, told The Washington Post that her former English teacher cares deeply. She’s incredibly engaging and challenging and kind.
One of her focuses at the White House is elevating the teaching profession and working on the US education system. “We have to make our education policy teacher-centric. The teachers have to give the input,” Dr. Biden told Trever Noah on the Daily Show, “We can’t be looking at them and say ‘this is what you have to do.’ The teachers have to be saying ‘this is what we want.’ Teachers are the experts on our children’s learning, after all."
More from Dr.Jill Biden:
Besides her memoir, Where the Light Enters: Building a Family and Discovering Myself, Dr. Biden has written two children’s books. The first one was Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops, which aligns with her passions as a military mother and now first lady, where she is committed to helping military families. Her latest children’s book, Joey: The Story of Joe Biden, was published in 2020.
Author: Katie Rutz-Robbins
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