Candice McQueen to leave state education post

Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen speaks about updates on the state department of education's priorities going into a year with a governor's race during an editorial board meeting at the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The question of whether Tennessee's Gov.-elect Bill Lee will appoint his own education commissioner was answered Thursday with the announcement that current commissioner Candice McQueen will leave her post in January.

Gov. Bill Haslam said McQueen, who began the job in January 2015 and makes just over $200,000 annually, will become the CEO of the nonprofit National Institute for Excellence in Teaching's new base in Nashville upon her departure from the state Department of Education.

On Thursday, Haslam praised her work over the years.

"Candice has worked relentlessly since Day One for Tennessee's students and teachers, and under her leadership, Tennessee earned its first 'A' rating for the standards and the rigor of the state's assessment after receiving an 'F' rating a decade ago," Haslam said in a statement. "Candice has raised the bar for both teachers and students across the state.