In a bipartisan vote, the Senate confirmed Meriden-native Dr. Miguel Cardona as Education Secretary on Monday.
“It’s a blessing, and we are very, very proud of him,” said Sarah Cardona, Cardona’s mom.
Beaming with pride, Sarah and Hector Cardona say their son’s story is one of perseverance and hard work. On Monday, they watched as the meteoric rise of Dr. Miguel Cardona continued.
“We just stayed glued to the TV. It was exciting. It was exciting,” said Hector Cardona.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
Growing up in a housing project in Meriden with English as his second language, Cardona started his career as a fourth grade teacher before becoming Connecticut’s youngest principal at Hanover Elementary School in Meriden. He eventually became state education commissioner before being tapped by President Biden for education secretary and confirmed on Monday.
Mayor Kevin Scarpati says Cardona brings much-needed experience to a national stage.
“I think something we’ve been missing in this office for quite some time is a voice in the classroom. He knows what it takes to see students succeed,” said Mayor Scarpati.
Cardona’s dad says his son thinks from the heart and that it can be seen in his daily actions. He recalled a moment when Cardona was principal at Hanover.
“First day of school a lot of the kids were nervous, the younger kids. And they’d be crying. And he would dress as a rabbit, and he started hopping along. And it made the kids happy,” said Hector Cardona.
Seeing their son’s successes, they say they’re blessed.
“Miguel, when he was a child, he always had the humbleness in him and perseverance, and he hit the books on education. Up to this day, he hasn’t stopped learning in education, and look where he is today. And I’m very proud of him,” said Sarah Cardona.
“I just hope that God is with him at every decision he makes, and we’ll take it from there,” said Hector Cardona.
The mayor says they believe Cardona will join the First Lady of the United States when she arrives in the city on Wednesday. He says it’s believed they’ll meet with students and teachers in the school system, but no final details have been confirmed.