Job is “personal” for Tennessee’s new education commissioner

Tennessee News

Tennessee’s new K-12 education commissioner who will be leading a $6-billion dollar department says the job is “personal” for her.

Dr. Penny Schwinn’s comments came during a day that saw visits to a Nashville charter school, a group representing superintendents and also introductions to state lawmakers.

After being introduced by Governor Bill Lee who brought her from a job in Texas, Commissioner Schwinn told the superintendents her work is “personal” because “it’s the family business” as she follows in her mother’s footsteps as a teacher and was in a classroom when she was just a few weeks old.

She added that her own two kids will be in Metro Nashville Public Schools, joining million other students in Tennessee’s K-12 systems.   

After her hour-long visit to LEAD Neely’s Bend school in the Madison area of Nashville, Schwinn said she “will measure success by how well our children are doing. That is both academically and how well they are doing after they leave high school

Trouble with the achievement test TNReady is one issue the new commissioner will face quickly with potentially a new vendor to select and the tests looming in the spring.

For the past several testing periods, there were issues with the online version in things like accessing or submitting it.

On this day though, she beamed at what she saw at her school visit.

“When you see students who are so passionate about what they do and get so excited about school, it is contagious and exactly what you want to see in all the public school classrooms in this state,” the new commissioner told reporters.

Schwinn added she’s very supportive of the vo-tech initiative launched by Governor Bill Lee this week.

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