Cardona previously served as the Commissioner of Education in Connecticut, a position he held after being appointed by Governor Ned Lamont in August 2019. In this position, he faced the unprecedented challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and led the safe school reopening efforts in Connecticut. Cardona's approach to leadership in Connecticut focused on partnerships: within his Education Department; between State agencies; and with local boards, educator unions, school administrator associations, child advocates, and most importantly, students and families. He attributes his success in Connecticut in part to the strong backing of those partners, as well as support from the members of the Connecticut State Board of Education and his staff at the Connecticut State Department of Education. Cardona has two decades of experience as a public-school educator from the City of Meriden. He began his career as an elementary teacher. A lifelong Meriden resident, Cardona attended CCSU for his bachelor's degree as well as UCONN, where he completed his master’s degree, his doctorate and his superintendent certificate. He is very active in his community, serving on several nonprofit charitable organization board of directors. Cardona and his wife Marissa are the proud parents of two children.