Dr. Candice McQueen is the chief executive officer of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET).
Prior to Dr. McQueen's 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. 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 the several years, with Tennessee also being the only state to both raise expectations and improve student performance simultaneously.
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. McQueen serves on the Board for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), is a member of Chiefs for Change, serves on the Results for America state advisory committee and was named a distinguished faculty member in education at Lipscomb University. She holds a master's degree from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas.