Dr. Candice McQueen became Lipscomb University’s 18th president in September of 2021.
Dr. Candice McQueen was appointed the 18th president of Lipscomb University, a vibrant faith-based, liberal arts community with a student body of nearly 5,000 students located in Nashville, Tennessee, on Aug. 4, 2021. She has more than 20 years of experience in education spanning classroom teaching, higher education leadership, state government and nonprofit sectors.
Prior to her appointment at Lipscomb, McQueen was CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) from January 2019 through August 2021. NIET is a national nonprofit founded by the Milken Education Foundation to encourage and incentivize teaching excellence in undergraduate and higher education classrooms using federal and state grants and philanthropic gifts to support its programs. As CEO, McQueen has overseen substantial growth of NIET’s work, including increasing service revenue and partnerships by almost 40% in three years, receiving more than $50 million in new multiyear federal and state grants, and significantly increasing NIET’s national profile and influence on improving educator effectiveness to ensure every student achieves.
From January 2015 to January 2019, McQueen served as Tennessee commissioner of education under former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. In this role, McQueen collaborated with and monitored 147 school districts and hundreds of nonpublic and charter schools to serve the 1 million students in the state of Tennessee. This included leading 1,100 state employees and a $6 billion budget. As commissioner, she led the creation of a strategic plan called Tennessee Succeeds, which became the department's plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Tennessee Succeeds outlines goals and strategies to increase college and career readiness for Tennessee's students. During her time as commissioner, Tennessee experienced its highest graduation rate, highest ACT scores, and largest increases in career and technical education enrollment in the state's history while also transitioning academic standards and the statewide assessment to higher expectations. In 2018, Education Next noted that the quality of Tennessee's academic standards moved from an "F" to an "A" over these several years, with Tennessee also being the only state to both raise expectations and improve student performance simultaneously.
Before becoming the state’s top education official in January 2015, McQueen served Lipscomb University as senior vice president and dean of the university’s College of Education. After joining Lipscomb’s education faculty in August 2001 and serving as chair of the undergraduate education department from 2004 to 2008, McQueen was appointed dean of the College of Education in July 2008. Under her leadership as dean, McQueen doubled the College of Education’s enrollment and giving, and expanded programming to include six new graduate programs, including the university’s first doctoral program, and was also the founding director of Lipscomb’s Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation that launched in 2012. She also led the College of Education to recognition at the state and national levels for excellence in teacher preparation and teaching outcomes.
In addition to her role as dean of Lipscomb’s College of Education, McQueen was appointed senior vice president in November 2013. In that capacity, she also had the responsibility for oversight of Lipscomb Academy, the 1,300-student pre-K-12th grade school, was a member of the president’s executive leadership team and set strategic vision for the university. She served in both the dean and senior vice president role until December 2014.
McQueen has a Bachelor of Science degree from Lipscomb University, a Master of Education in school administration from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in curriculum studies from the University of Texas. Before coming to Lipscomb in August 2001, McQueen taught in both private and public elementary and middle schools in Texas and Nashville — including Lipscomb Academy, was on adjunct faculty at Vanderbilt University and was an assistant instructor and supervisor of student teachers at the University of Texas at Austin. She has won multiple awards for her teaching at both the K-12 and collegiate levels. Her primary research interests are teacher professional development, leadership, and reading and writing methods.
A native of Clarksville, Tennessee, McQueen and her husband, Andy, a Lipscomb graduate and former member of the men’s basketball team, have two children, Abigail, a Lipscomb University student, and Henry, a Lipscomb Academy student. The McQueens are members of Hillsboro Church of Christ in Nashville.
"I fully believe Lipscomb’s 130-year history has been life-changing as we have continued to elevate the only light that overcomes darkness by revealing Christ to our students." — Dr. Candice McQueen