Relative to the Commissioner of Education
The Tennessee Journal reports that questions are being raised about whether Education Commissioner Lizzette Reynolds meets the minimum standard to hold the position to which she’s been appointed.
The issue is whether Reynolds qualifies to hold the post under Tennessee Code Annotated 4-3-802, which first became law nearly a century ago.
“The commissioner shall be a person of literary and scientific attainments and of skill and experience in school administration,” according to the law. “The commissioner shall also be qualified to teach in the school of the highest standing over which the commissioner has authority.”
Lee’s press secretary, Elizabeth L. Johnson, said in a statement to The Tennessee Journal that “Commissioner Reynold’s credentials and professional experience qualify her to serve as TDOE commissioner.”
The problem is that Reynolds doesn’t have a teaching degree and has never taught in a public or other school. She doesn’t have an active teaching license in Tennessee or any other state.
In other words, she could only teach in a Tennessee public school under a waiver or emergency certificate.
Previous Commissioners with backgrounds in politics and policy also had at least some teaching experience and an active teaching license. Penny Schwinn, the Commissioner just before Reynolds, taught high school in Maryland before her career in policy.
Kevin Huffman, an appointee of Bill Haslam’s, had experience in the classroom as a Teach for America teacher.
Here’s more on Reynolds: