Professor of Practice & Director of Policy
Arizona State University - Children's Equity Project
Mario Cardona is a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University and serves as the Policy Director for the Children’s Equity Project. He is currently on leave working as the Senior Advisor for Early Childhood Development at the White House. Earlier, Cardona was the Chief of Policy and Practice for Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), providing leadership and outreach to the government, CCAoA members, and the general public on issues relating to the early care and education system. Cardona previously served in the Obama Administration as the Senior Policy Advisor for Elementary and Secondary Education on the White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, he led the Administration’s legislative strategy, budget proposals, and policy initiatives to advance and execute President Obama’s early and K-12 education agenda. Prior to his service in the White House, Cardona held senior roles in the U.S. Senate, including as a principal advisor to the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. While serving in Congress, Cardona wrote and led staff negotiations to pass the Child Care & Development Block Grant Act of 2014, a law that comprehensively updated the quality and safety standards in federally subsidized child care for the first time in nearly twenty years. Cardona earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, and a juris doctorate, with honors, from the George Washington University Law School.