Governor Bill Haslam today announced Education Commissioner Candice McQueen will leave state service in January to become the CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), a non-profit organization that helps states, districts and schools attract, develop and retain high-quality educators.
Governor Haslam appointed Comm. McQueen in January 2015, and while serving as commissioner, the state has experienced record high graduation rates of 89.1 percent and the best overall statewide ACT average and best overall ACT participation rate in the state’s history at 20.2 and 97 percent respectively. Comm. McQueen introduced a new strategic plan and vision for schools called Tennessee Succeeds, which has focused on increasing post-secondary and career readiness for all of Tennessee’s 1 million students. She has continued the state’s trajectory as one of the fastest improving states in the country in K-12 education, while adding historic gains in science, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, officials said.
“Candice has worked relentlessly since day one for Tennessee’s students and teachers, and under
her leadership, Tennessee earned its first ‘A’ rating for the standards and the rigor of the state’s
assessment after receiving an ‘F’ rating a decade ago,” Governor Haslam said. “Candice has raised the bar for both teachers and students across the state, enabling them to rise to their greatest potential. I am grateful for her service and know that she will continue to make an impact on education in Tennessee and across the country.”
Officials said, "Comm. McQueen’s work has touched students in all grade levels. She launched Read to be Ready, a multi-faceted initiative that is focused on improving students’ reading abilities in the early grades, which has already shown initial early successes. And a record number of high school students are now taking and earning credit for early college coursework."
“Serving as education commissioner has been the honor of a lifetime, and it has been especially
significant to help lead Tennessee’s schools in partnership with a governor who has been
incredibly focused on improving education for all of our students,” Comm. McQueen
said. “I am proud to see what our students and educators have accomplished in these last four
years and know we have laid a strong foundation for continued success. Through my new role
with NIET, I will continue to be an advocate for Tennessee’s teachers and work to make sure
every child is in a class led by an excellent teacher every day.”
Officials said, "Comm. McQueen’s entire career has been focused on teacher effectiveness – first as an award-winning teacher; then as a faculty member, department chair and dean of Lipscomb
University’s College of Education; and for the last four years as Tennessee’s education
"In her new role as CEO of NIET, she will lead a national organization that works with schools,
districts, states and universities to support teachers and school leaders, impacting more than
250,000 educators and 2.5 million students."