January 17, 2019
Penny Schwinn Selected as Tennessee Education Commissioner

Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee today announced that he has selected Dr. Penny Schwinn, a member of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs program, as the state’s next education commissioner. Dr. Schwinn currently serves as chief deputy commissioner for academics at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). She is the second Future Chief who has been selected to lead a major education system in recent weeks.

“Penny is the right leader to build on Tennessee’s impressive record of improving outcomes for students,” said John White, chair of the Chiefs for Change Board of Directors and Louisiana state superintendent of education. “As a teacher, a school founder, and the leader of major initiatives for one of the nation’s largest education systems, she has dedicated her career to expanding opportunities for children. She will work with schools and families across Tennessee to help ensure that every student receives an excellent education.”

As TEA’s chief deputy commissioner, Dr. Schwinn currently oversees statewide efforts to improve student outcomes from early childhood to college, career, and military preparation. In her previous role as the associate secretary of education in Delaware, Dr. Schwinn led multiple departments geared towards improving the quality of information provided to schools, as well as the strategic investment of resources towards accelerated student achievement. She also led the statewide offices of assessment, performance management, school turnaround, accountability, and data management. Throughout, she has built on a life mission to improve educational opportunity for all students.

Dr. Schwinn is a member of the third cohort of the Future Chiefs program, which was created to address the lack of practical preparation for the complex job of leading state and large urban school systems. The program identifies some of the most talented, diverse emerging leaders, integrates them into a community of practice with current chiefs, and gives them a set of experiences and preparation that will enable school systems to choose skilled, ready leaders.

“Penny is an exceptional leader with the experience and the fortitude to do right by students and families every day,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee. “Her focus on equity and strong outcomes will help Tennessee maintain its standing as one of the fastest improving states in the country.”

To hear Dr. Schwinn share her values as a leader, please watch this video, and to learn more about the Future Chiefs program, please see this video.

About Chiefs for Change

Chiefs for Change is a nonprofit, bipartisan network of diverse state and district education chiefs dedicated to preparing all students for today’s world and tomorrow’s through deeply committed leadership. Chiefs for Change advocates for policies and practices that are making a difference today for students, and builds a pipeline of talented, diverse Future Chiefs ready to lead major school systems. Learn more on our website: chiefsforchange.org.