Issue 15: Wishlist for the Next Higher Education Act

Insights & Outlooks

Candice McQueen

Candice McQueen

Chief Executive Officer, NIET

Dr. Candice McQueen has been NIET’s chief executive officer since January 2019. Prior to her role at NIET, she was Tennessee’s commissioner of education for four years. 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 1 million students.

Dr. McQueen has long advocated for focusing on human capital as the primary lever for change. In 2018, researchers at Georgetown University pointed to Tennessee’s teacher evaluation and professional development model, which is supported by NIET, as leading to substantial, career-long improvement in teachers and resulting gains in student achievement. 

Prior to her time as commissioner, Dr. McQueen was senior vice president and dean of the college of education at Lipscomb University. She started her career as a classroom teacher, teaching in elementary and middle schools in Tennessee and Texas. 

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