WASHINGTON - The 2020 election result is historic in more ways than one: Kamala Harris has become the first Black American and woman to become vice president-elect and Dr. Jill Biden, wife to the president-elect, will become the first first lady to work full time as a teacher.
When Jill Biden introduced herself to millions of Americans during the 2020 Democratic National Convention, she did so from a high school where she once taught English near her Delaware home.
The incoming first lady took a leave of absence from what would have been her 36th year of teaching to campaign for her husband. She worked tirelessly to emphasize the importance of education in a year where the coronavirus pandemic upended millions of Americans’ hopes for their children to safely return to school.
At the 2020 DNC, Jill Biden spoke directly to wives, mothers and teachers just like her, describing the devastation she felt watching the coronavirus pandemic ravage the nation.
“As a mother and a grandmother, as an American, I am heartbroken by the magnitude of this loss. By the failure to protect our communities. By every precious and irreplaceable life gone,” she said. “Like so many of you, I’m left asking: How do I keep my family safe?”
Now, Jill Biden plans to return to work, balancing both her duties as a teacher and first lady. In August, Jill Biden said in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning that she planned to continue working as a teacher while her husband runs the country.
FILE - Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden, speaks on October 31, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)
"I would love to. If we get to the White House, I'm going to continue to teach," she said. "I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and to lift up the profession."
This wouldn’t be the first time she balanced a similar role. She taught English at Northern Virginia Community College while her husband was vice president for eight years.
On the campaign trail, Jill Biden drew on her classroom experience to empathize with parents who struggled to cope with the shift to virtual learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The emphasis on education has always been a natural fit for someone who was a public school teacher for more than 20 years, earned two master’s degrees and then a doctorate in education.
She emphasized the importance of education pledging that a Biden administration would make listening to teachers’ concerns a priority.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.