James Gordon Carter (1795–1849), born James Carter, Jr.in Leominster, Massachusetts, was a Massachusetts State Legislator and education reformer. He was educated at Groton Academy and Harvard College.
He wrote “Influence of an Early Education” in 1826 (Essays Upon Popular Education), and in 1837, as House Chairman of the Committee on Education, contributed to the establishment of the Massachusetts Board of Education, the first state Board of education in the United States. This was an important stepping stone in the path to government funded schooling. To the disappointment of many of Carter's supporters, who felt he deserved the honor, Horace Mann was appointed the board's first secretary.
Carter was also instrumental in the reformation of teacher education, and establishment of the first Normal school which later became Framingham State College. This earned him the sobriequet: "Father of the American Normal School."
The James G. Carter Junior High School in Leominster, Mass.(now defunct) was named after him.