Candice Candice McQueen

Commissioner of Education, Tennessee

Dr. Candice McQueen was sworn in as Tennessee's commissioner of education on January 17, 2015. During her first year as commissioner, McQueen led a statewide effort to create a new strategic plan and vision for schools called Tennessee Succeeds. McQueen also connected with over 10,000 teachers on the first leg of her Classroom Chronicles Tour, spending time in over 75 school districts and 125 schools in 16 months. McQueen also worked with the governor and general assembly to pass the largest investment in K-12 education without a tax increase in Tennessee's history.

Prior to her appointment, McQueen served as senior vice president and dean of the college of education at Lipscomb University. Before joining Lipscomb University, McQueen was awarded multiple awards for both her teaching and the curriculum design of a new magnet school. McQueen has a bachelor's degree from Lipscomb, a master's degree from Vanderbilt and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. 

Candice 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.