By Dr. Penny Schwinn, Tennessee Commissioner of Education
I am so grateful to be in Tennessee. Over the last decade, the country learned about the transformative work happening in Tennessee schools. The progress that has been made and sustained is impressive and motivating, and I am proud to build upon this nationally recognized education foundation here alongside you.
I come from a family of educators. I was in my mom’s classroom for the first time at 6-weeks old and volunteering with her students by fourth grade. Both my sister and I, our spouses, and many of my cousins have subsequently gone into education because of the deep respect and admiration that we developed by watching our parents work to serve the children in their communities. I have endeavored to follow in their footsteps and will spend my life working to serve our public schools and students.
My career so far has allowed me to be part of the public education system through a number of roles. I have been a classroom teacher, a principal, and an assistant district superintendent. I have worked at the state level and in both large and small schools. Supporting our kids and opening doors for their futures through public education is what drives me every single day, and I hope you see that as I step into this new role.
With that, I commit to operating with children front of mind and deep in heart. I commit to an equal balance of support and accountability. I commit to using data and evidence to drive our work forward and measure both our performance and progress.
I look forward to meeting you in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead. I look forward to learning about what has contributed to this growth, and what will continue that acceleration. I look forward to learning about all of our communities in Tennessee, and ways that we can support each of our students’ unique potential, and foster their successes.
What a privilege to be part of this work, and what an honor to do so in Tennessee. I look forward to listening and learning with you, collaborating and partnering on initiatives to support our children, and keeping Tennessee as the proof point of what is possible for our education system.