Bill Lee: Tennessee education commissioner leaving at end of year

Tennessee’s Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn is leaving the state department at the end of the school year, Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday.

Schwinn will be succeeded by Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, who currently serves as vice president for ExcelinEd — an education think tank founded by former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Lee, a Republican, appointed Schwinn to be the state’s education czar in 2019. She previously was the Texas Education Agency chief deputy commissioner of academics.

Lee said in a statement that Schwinn “played a key role” in his administration’s education efforts, adding that he had “tremendous gratitude for her leadership and wish her much success in her next chapter.”

Schwinn’s career in Tennessee included overseeing the department’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, implementing the Governor’s controversial school voucher program and overhauling the state’s school funding formula.

Lee’s administration did not immediately disclose where or why Schwinn was leaving the department.

Reynolds will take over July 1. The governor’s news release said her career “reflects a deep commitment to school choice, assessment and accountability, college and career pathways and education policy.”

“Lizzette’s significant education policy expertise and leadership make her well-suited to continue our work to deliver a high-quality education and expand school choice for Tennessee students,” Lee said.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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