AACTE Board Member Candice McQueen Named Tenn. Education Commissioner

AACTE congratulates its Board of Directors member Candice McQueen on being named the next Tennessee education commissioner by Governor Bill Haslam last week. McQueen is currently senior vice president and dean of the College of Education at Lipscomb University. She will assume her new role January 20, 2015.

As the Tennessee commissioner of education, McQueen will oversee all of the work of the Tennessee Department of Education. She will lead the implementation of statewide assessments, the evaluation of curricula across Tennessee, and the execution of education initiatives of the governor as a member of the cabinet. McQueen has also accepted the challenge to oversee education standards that could mirror Common Core standards or Tennessee-specific standards, and she is tasked with creating and implementing a new state standardized test, “TNReady.” The commissioner has a role in creating the test and ensuring it aligns with what’s taught in the classroom.

According to The Tennessean, McQueen said in her acceptance speech that her “first priority would be to listen” and that she aims to ensure that the state’s review of standards includes feedback from all Tennesseans. “We’ve had influence in the work that we’ve done [at Lipscomb], but I want to impact the million kids that we have in our state, for good,” she said. “I want to make sure that [our state’s education] is nationally known and respected, and I believe that’s going to happen.”

Under McQueen’s leadership, Lipscomb’s College of Education and teacher preparation programs have been widely recognized for their design and outcomes. The programs have been highlighted by the state for quality and effectiveness based on the Tennessee Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs. During McQueen’s 6 years as dean, the college has grown considerably, adding 15 new graduate programs and creating innovative partnerships that focus on collaborative design and delivery for course work and programming. McQueen also led the partnership between her college and the Ayers Foundation to found the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation, which supports higher academic standards, embedded professional learning, and new approaches to leadership training and support.

“McQueen’s leadership style is clear vision and steadfastly enlarging the circle of allies,” said AACTE President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson. “Tennessee children and learners of all ages will benefit from that wisdom and commitment as she moves into the role of state education commissioner. I am so proud of her accomplishment for our profession and for our community.”

In addition to serving on the AACTE Board of Directors, McQueen is a member of the executive committee of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education, PENCIL Foundation’s executive board, SCORE’s steering committee, STARS, the Mayor’s Youth Master Plan Leadership Council, and the First to the Top Advisory Council. She has also served on the executive committee of the Tennessee Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. She speaks widely on educator preparation, transformational partnerships, change management, leadership, and redesigning professional development.

A Tennessee native, McQueen has a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb, a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas.

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Jerrica Thurman

Director of Marketing & Communications, AACTE