Dr. Candice McQueen

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Candice McQueen was sworn in as Tennessee’s commissioner of education on January 17, 2015. Previously, she served as senior vice president and dean of the college of education at Lipscomb University. McQueen began her career as a classroom teacher, teaching in both public and private elementary and middle schools. She also served as a higher education faculty member and department chair before being named dean in 2008.

While at Lipscomb, McQueen served as a member of the university's executive leadership team and oversaw both her college and the 1,300 pre-K-12th grade students in three schools at Lipscomb Academy. Under her leadership, Lipscomb's college of education and teacher preparation program were consistently highlighted as one of the top teacher training programs in the state of Tennessee for quality and effectiveness based on the Tennessee Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs and was most recently pointed out as the second highest ranking program in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality. McQueen also founded the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation at Lipscomb. The institute has a focus on improving professional learning for teachers by focusing on embedded professional development, coaching and new approaches to leadership training and support.

Prior to joining Lipscomb University, Dr. McQueen was awarded multiple awards for both her teaching and the curriculum design of a new magnet school. Dr. McQueen has a bachelor's degree from Lipscomb, a master's degree from Vanderbilt, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee and the Board of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Dr. Candice  McQueen

Who is your favorite teacher?

One of my favorite teachers is Mrs. Lee Ellen Beach, my high school speech teacher and forensics coach. She was an exceptional teacher with high expectations and boundless energy. Mrs. Beach both pushed me to excel and supported me along the way to step outside my comfort zone and to meet ever-increasing goals. Her creativity and passion for teaching inspired me to want to be the same and I will be forever grateful to her for her mentorship. 

What was your favorite subject in school and why?

I loved all subjects taught by a great teacher—that was always the differentiator for me. I also gravitated toward courses with lots of reading, writing and problem-solving—three things I still enjoy today.

Why are you passionate about working at NIET?

Effective teaching is the absolute best way to drive student success, so there is no other organization I'd rather be leading than one where this belief is matched with exceptional outcomes. As Tennessee's commissioner of education, I saw firsthand the difference NIET's partnership can make for students. I witnessed the dramatic difference that NIET's rubrics and evaluation support brought to schools across the state. Additionally, many schools in Tennessee that adopted the TAP model now experience our top level of growth every year. I am honored to work with NIET's incredible team to help bring this support to educators and school leaders across the country, so more students can have the opportunity for success.