By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Haslam names new Ed. Commissioner
Candice McQueen head shot
Candice McQueen


Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Dr. Candice McQueen, a teacher and dean at Lipscomb University in Nashville, will join his cabinet as commissioner of the Department of Education.


McQueen, 40, currently serves on Lipscomb University’s executive leadership team as senior vice president, and as dean she oversees the College of Education as well as the 1,300 pre-k through 12th grade students in three schools at Lipscomb Academy.  She has led training, support and professional development efforts for thousands of current and future classroom teachers, instructional coaches and school leaders. Before joining Lipscomb in 2001, McQueen was a teacher in elementary and middle schools.


“Lipscomb’s College of Education produces some of our state’s best teachers, and Candice gets a lot of credit for that,” Haslam said. “She has taught in a classroom, so she brings both the experience of being a teacher and of preparing teachers to teach.  I am grateful for her willingness to serve in this role, and I know she’ll do a great job as we continue our efforts to provide a quality education for all Tennessee students.” 


McQueen’s college and teacher preparation programs have been highlighted at the state and national levels for excellence in teacher preparation design and teacher candidate outcomes.  In her six years as dean, Lipscomb’s College of Education has grown by 54 percent with 72 percent growth at the graduate level, has added 15 new graduate programs, including a doctorate, and has created innovative partnerships that focus on collaborative design and delivery for coursework and programming. 

In 2012, McQueen partnered with the Tennessee-based Ayers Foundation to initiate The Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation, which focuses on supporting higher academic standards, embedded professional learning and new approaches to leadership training and support. Tennessee’s higher education institutions are using the resources to prepare new teachers and many Tennessee school districts and other states are using the resources for professional development. 

“I have spent most of my career focused on developing and supporting educators to help our students succeed, and I look forward to bringing that experience and perspective to the important work of leading the Department of Education,” McQueen said. “Tennessee is headed in the right direction. We are making a real difference in the lives of our children and the future of our state.  My goal is for every graduate to be college and career-ready so they can succeed in the future.  I want Tennessee to continue to set the pace and lead the nation in the reforms and innovations that are making a real difference in the lives of our students.”

McQueen serves on the board of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and the executive committee for the American Association of Independent and Liberal Arts Colleges of Teacher Education. She is frequently asked to serve as an expert on teacher preparation issues by groups such as the Aspen Institute, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and the Lumina Foundation. 

McQueen was also named to the first Leadership Tennessee class in 2013 and serves on numerous boards, including the PENCIL Foundation’s executive board, State Collaborative on Reforming Education’s steering committee, STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand) Nashville, and the Mayor’s Youth Master Plan Leadership Council. 

McQueen, a native of Clarksville, has a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb, a master’s from Vanderbilt, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. She and her husband, Andy McQueen, a law partner at Bass, Berry and Sims, live in Nashville and have two children, Abigail, 11, and Henry, 8.

McQueen replaces Kevin Huffman who announced his departure last month.  Her first day on the job will be Tuesday, January 20.