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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dr. Candice McQueen paid her first official visit to Shelby County Schools as Tennessee’s new Education Commissioner Monday.

McQueen took office in January.

She’s trying to meet 10,000 teachers by the end of next year’s school year.

She toured a couple schools in SCS, including Maxine Smith STEAM Academy and Sherwood Middle, which was in the iZone.

She met with teachers to ask about what was working and what wasn’t.

The state’s preparing to transition from TCAP reading and math exams to TNReady next year.

The state claimed TNReady would be a better measure of student progress and critical thinking.

It would be more than just multiple choice.

The state also claimed TNReady would help measure skills that students needed to succeed after high school.

McQueen told WREG she wanted to see the state encourage top graduates to become teachers.

“How can we improve what we’ve already started through Common Core? How can we insure that we have high standards for all students?” McQueen asked.

She learned about some of the different ways SCS was trying to improve, including the district’s first STEAM academy, a school that took STEM classes and added the arts to it.


“Our students are exposed to the creative arts. They can take a dance class, or theatre, or orchestra, or band,” explained Principal Lischa Brooks.

McQueen met with district teachers for a round table discussion to discuss successes, challenges, and whether or not they felt valued.

Several teachers spoke with McQueen about the importance of involving parents in students’ educations.