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INAUGURATION: Get to know Lipscomb’s new president Dr. Candice McQueen

Kim Chaudoin  | 

Dr. McQueen at high rise ribbon cutting.

As Inauguration activities are underway, the Lipscomb community is celebrating its new president, Dr. Candice McQueen. Get to know Lipscomb’s new president.

McQueen was appointed the 18th president of Lipscomb University on Aug. 4, 2021 and officially took office on Sept. 7. She has more than 20 years’ experience in education spanning classroom teaching, higher education leadership, state government and nonprofit sectors.

In her first seven months in office, McQueen has launched the Lipscomb Impact 360 strategic planning campaign, visited with alumni in several cities throughout the country as part of a Be A Light tour, launched the President’s Student Advisory Council and inspired the Lipscomb community to bring their best as they serve students every day. 

Prior to her appointment at Lipscomb, McQueen was CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), overseeing substantial growth of NIET’s work, 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.

Dr Mcqueen with students

From January 2015 to January 2019, McQueen served as Tennessee commissioner of education under 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 Tennessee, leading 1,100 employees and a $6 billion budget. During her time as commissioner, she led the creation of a strategic plan called Tennessee Succeeds, under which the state experienced its highest graduation rate, highest ACT scores, and largest increases in career and technical education enrollment in state history while also transitioning academic standards and the statewide assessment to higher expectations.

Before becoming the state’s top education official, McQueen served Lipscomb University as senior vice president and dean of the 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, the College of Education doubled enrollment and giving, and expanded programming to include six new graduate programs, including the university’s first doctoral program. She was the founding director of Lipscomb’s Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation that launched in 2012 and also led the College of Education to national recognition for excellence in teacher preparation and teaching outcomes.

In addition to her role as dean, McQueen was appointed senior vice president in November 2013, overseeing Lipscomb Academy, the 1,300-student pre-K-12th grade school, and setting strategic vision for the university as a member of the president’s executive leadership team.

McQueen earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Lipscomb University, a Master of Education from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. Before coming to Lipscomb in August 2001, McQueen taught at 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 and was recently recognized as a distinguished alumna of Peabody College.

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.