By Tamas Mondovics

“Penny leads with students at the forefront and I believe her experience is exactly what we need to continue improving on the gains we have made in the past few years,” said Lee. “As a former teacher and seasoned administrator, she will help make Tennessee a leader in the nation on education.”

Schwinn currently serves as the chief deputy commissioner of education at the Texas Education Agency. In this role, she pursued a series of reforms including the transformation of a failing state assessment program. She also implemented the expansion of statewide externships and pathway development for improving students’ career readiness upon graduation.

Prior to her work in Texas, Schwinn served as the Delaware Department of Education chief accountability and performance officer, conducting a testing audit that led to nearly a 20 percent decrease in student testing time.

She is also the founder of South Sacramento charter school Capitol Collegiate Academy, a Broad Academy alumni and a Teach for America alumni.

Additionally, Schwinn oversaw the development of open-source instructional materials to empower teachers with high-quality resources for teaching. Prior to serving in the Texas Education Agency, Schwinn was the chief accountability and performance officer for the Delaware Department of Education where she led efforts to conduct a testing audit, which led to nearly a 20 percent decrease in student testing time.

A former teacher, Schwinn taught with Teach for America (TFA) from 2004-2007 with work in Baltimore City Public Schools and Los Angeles. She is also the founder of Capitol Collegiate Academy, a charter school that serves low-income students in South Sacramento.

According to WBUR in Boston, and as reported by the Tenneseean, Schwinn was one of three finalists for the job of Massachusetts commissioner of elementary and secondary education.

Tennesseans for Student Success issued the following statement on Tennessee’s new Commissioner of Education:
“Congratulations to Penny Schwinn as she is named Tennessee’s next Commissioner of Education,” said Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister. “Over the last eight years, Tennessee experienced
historic gains in public education, and the next Commissioner will have an opportunity to continue to advance the policies that drive success for all students in Tennessee’s classrooms.”

On November 7, the transition unveiled a new website – transition.billlee.com. The site includes detailed information about the Governor-elect’s policy priorities, a section where Tennesseans can submit their
resumes to potentially join his team, and most importantly, a section where Tennesseans can share their ideas with the Governor-elect and his team.

Since launching the site, the Lee Transition Team has received information from over 1,600 applicants who are interested in serving in the administration and more than 2,500 ideas for bettering state government.

More information can be found at transition.billlee.com.