Dr. Jill Biden to continue teaching alongside FLOTUS responsibilities, a historic first

Erin ToaleIn the Media, Teachers

Dr. Jill Biden will continue to teach English full-time at Northern Virginia Community College, making her the first woman to have a civilian full-time job in addition to her responsibilities as First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). She held the same position during her tenure as Second Lady during the two-term Obama administration, giving her the distinction of being the first wife of a Vice President to hold an outside employment position. When Joe Biden first ran for president in 1988, Dr. Biden announced her intention to continue teaching regardless of the outcome of that and subsequent bids for public office. Dr. Biden has two Master’s degrees, one in English and one in Reading, and received her PhD from the University of Delaware in 2007 with a dissertation titled Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students’ Needs.

Dr. Biden has extensive classroom experience, including teaching English and Reading at both high school and college levels and working with disabled youth in a psychiatric hospital. She also worked for over a decade as a reading specialist and English teacher in the Delaware public school system. Dr. Biden co-founded a youth literacy organization called Book Buddies in 2007, which provides books to low-income families and works with children as young as four.

Screenshot of a tweet posted by Dr. Jill Biden on August 18, 2020. The text reads "Teaching is not what I do. It's who I am." Below are several yearbook and newspaper clippings of a young Dr. Biden.

Dr. Biden spoke directly to the concerns of educators and parents in her speech at the Democratic National Convention, which was broadcast from her old English classroom at Brandywine High School in August 2020. She addressed the concerns of working parents struggling to support remote learners and admitted that she too worries “How do I keep my family safe?”. She continues to be outspoken about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. Her charity and philanthropy work focuses largely on education and healthcare advocacy.

Dr. Biden has authored two children’s books. Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops, released in 2012, is based on her stepson Beau’s military deployment. In June 2020, she released Joey: The Story of Joe Biden, which includes anecdotes about her husband’s struggles with bullying and stuttering.

As an organization devoted to building critical literacy skills and developing positive self-identity in CPS students, WITS is thrilled to see an educator that shares our values in the White House.