Dr. Candice McQueen, President of Lipscomb University
Dr. Candice McQueen was appointed the 18th president of Lipscomb
University, a vibrant faith-based, liberal arts community with a
student body of nearly 5,000 students located in Nashville,
Tennessee, on Aug. 4, 2021. She has more than 20 years of
experience in education spanning classroom teaching, higher
education leadership, state government and nonprofit sectors.
Prior to her appointment at Lipscomb, McQueen was CEO of the
National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) from January
2019 through August 2021. NIET is a national nonprofit founded by
the Milken Education Foundation to encourage and incentivize teaching excellence in
undergraduate and higher education classrooms using federal and state grants and philanthropic
gifts to support its programs. As CEO, McQueen has overseen substantial growth of NIET’s
work, including increasing service revenue and partnerships by almost 40% in three years,
receiving more than $50 million in new multiyear federal and state grants, and significantly
increasing NIET’s national profile and influence on improving educator effectiveness to ensure
every student achieves.
From January 2015 to January 2019, McQueen served as Tennessee commissioner of education
under former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. In this role, McQueen collaborated with and
monitored 147 school districts and hundreds of nonpublic and charter schools to serve the 1
million students in the state of Tennessee. This included leading 1,100 state employees and a $6
billion budget. 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 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 these several years, with Tennessee also
being the only state to both raise expectations and improve student performance simultaneously.
Before becoming the state’s top education official in January 2015, McQueen served Lipscomb
University as senior vice president and dean of the university’s College of Education. After
joining Lipscomb’s education faculty in August 2001 and serving as chair of the undergraduate
education department from 2004 to 2008, McQueen was appointed dean of the College of
Education in July 2008. Under her leadership as dean, McQueen doubled the College of
Education’s enrollment and giving, and expanded programming to include six new graduate
programs, including the university’s first doctoral program, and was also the founding director of
Lipscomb’s Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation that launched in 2012. She also
led the College of Education to recognition at the state and national levels for excellence in
teacher preparation and teaching outcomes.
In addition to her role as dean of Lipscomb’s College of Education, McQueen was appointed
senior vice president in November 2013. In that capacity, she also had the responsibility for
oversight of Lipscomb Academy, the 1,300-student pre-K-12th grade school, was a member of
the president’s executive leadership team and set strategic vision for the university. She served in
both the dean and senior vice president role until December 2014.
McQueen has a Bachelor of Science degree from Lipscomb University, a Master of Education in
school administration from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in curriculum
studies from the University of Texas. Before coming to Lipscomb in August 2001, McQueen
taught in both private and public elementary and middle schools in Texas and Nashville —
including Lipscomb Academy, was on adjunct faculty at Vanderbilt University and was an
assistant instructor and supervisor of student teachers at the University of Texas at Austin. She
has won multiple awards for her teaching at both the K-12 and collegiate levels. Her primary
research interests are teacher professional development, leadership, and reading and writing
A native of Clarksville, Tennessee, McQueen and her husband, Andy, a Lipscomb graduate and
former member of the men’s basketball team, have two children, Abigail, a Lipscomb University
student, and Henry, a Lipscomb Academy student. The McQueens are members of Hillsboro
Church of Christ in Nashville.