New Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen sent a message to teachers today. In it, she noted that she is a Tennessean (from Clarksville) and that she has years of classroom teaching experience, including teaching in Tennessee. These two items differentiate her from her predecessor.
Here’s her message:
I wanted to send you a brief note during this holiday season to express how much I look forward to working with you in the months ahead.
I am honored Governor Haslam has asked me to serve as Commissioner of Education, and I am pleased I will have the opportunity to listen, learn, and work with you in support of the children and families of Tennessee.
This is a very exciting time in our state. We know we are headed in the right direction. We are the fastest improving state in the nation in student achievement. Most importantly, thanks to you, we are making a real difference in the lives of our children and the future of our state. I also know you share my belief that we have more work to do.
We want every child in our state to have access to a great school and to great teaching in every classroom. We want every graduate to be college and career-ready so they can succeed in the future. We 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. We will do that by supporting strong school leaders and great teachers, like you, in every school in our state and by staying focused on high standards and assessments that align with and work with those standards.
I grew up in Clarksville, and like you have served as a classroom teacher – in both public and private schools – at the elementary and middle school levels — in Tennessee and outside our state – and I have spent most of my career focused on developing and supporting educators to help our students succeed. We both know that’s where the magic and hard work takes place – in classrooms – between great teachers and eager children.
Now I look forward to traveling our state to listen and learn from you and other teachers, principals, parents, and other school leaders who are working so hard every day to help our children succeed.
I can commit to you that I will always put children first in making decisions about policy or practice. Every decision we will make at the department will be made through the lens of what is best for our students. We know this work is hard, but if we continue to put students at the center of the conversation I am confident we can build on our progress.
The future of our state – and of our children – depends on the work we will do together in the coming months and years. I’m excited to get started, and I look forward to working closely with you.
Thank you for your leadership, and best wishes during this holiday season.
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