Lipscomb University’s College of Education has named Candice McQueen, Tennessee’s commissioner of education, its 2017 Innovator in Education.
McQueen, former dean of Lipscomb’s College of Education and Lipscomb University senior vice president, will be recognized at a breakfast in her honor on Wednesday, April 19, at 7 a.m. at the McCadams Athletic Center, located at 1027 Caldwell Lane, Nashville. Tickets are $50. To register, visit lipscomb.edu/innovatorineducation.
McQueen was sworn in as Tennessee’s commissioner of education on Jan. 17, 2015. During her first year as commissioner, McQueen led a statewide effort to create a new strategic plan and vision for our schools called Tennessee Succeeds. The comprehensive plan provides aligned goals, priorities, and strategies focused on increasing postsecondary and career readiness for all of Tennessee’s 1 million students. This month, Tennessee will submit its new state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act, which builds on the work started under Tennessee Succeeds. The plan was developed through robust stakeholder input and feedback throughout the drafting process, as thousands of Tennesseans weighed in over the course of a year.
A native of Clarksville, Tennessee, McQueen also connected with over 10,000 teachers on the first leg of her Classroom Chronicles Tour, and spent time in more than 100 school districts. The second year of the Classroom Chronicles tour is focused on student voice, and Commissioner McQueen has conducted roundtables with more than 100 high school students to hear more about their school communities, their goals for after high school, and how educators are helping to prepare them for their next step.
Under her leadership, McQueen worked to open lines of communication between the department and the public through avenues such as the Assessment Task Force and Assessment Task Force 2.0, Early Literacy Council, Career Forward Task Force, and the department’s inaugural parent and student advisory councils. In addition, she continues to oversee and participate in the department’s Teacher Advisory Council and the Governor’s Teacher Cabinet. McQueen also worked alongside the governor and first lady of Tennessee to launch a comprehensive statewide literacy effort called Read to be Ready, with the goal of having 75 percent of third graders reading on grade level by 2025.
In 2016, she worked with the governor and the general assembly to pass the largest investment in K-12 education without a tax increase in Tennessee’s history, and she has continued to work with the legislature this year to make another large investment in our public education system, including more than $100 million in additional funding for teacher salaries.
Prior to her appointment as Commissioner of Education, McQueen served as senior vice president and dean of the college of education at Lipscomb University. Under her leadership, Lipscomb’s College of Education and teacher preparation program were consistently highlighted as one of the top teacher training programs for quality and effectiveness at the state and national levels. McQueen also led the College of Education to a 54 percent enrollment growth with 72 percent growth at the graduate level while adding 15 new graduate programs, including a doctorate, and creating innovative partnerships that focus on collaborative design and delivery for coursework and programming.
Prior to her tenure at Lipscomb University, McQueen was awarded multiple awards for both her teaching and the curriculum design of a new magnet school. She began her career as a classroom teacher, teaching in both public and private elementary and middle schools.
McQueen has a bachelor's degree from Lipscomb, a master's degree from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. She serves on the board of trustees of the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Regents and was recently appointed to serve on the national board for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and as a commissioner for Education Commission of the States.