The 2018 Education Summit
February 26 — 27, 2018
The Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition held the Third Annual Education Summit, featuring John B. King, President and CEO of The Education Trust on February 26 and 27, 2018. Over the course of two days members learned about the current education landscape in Tennessee, helped identify shared education priorities for the coalition, developed a common education policy agenda, and advocated at the state legislature for students in our local communities and across the state.
John B. King Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served as the U.S. Secretary of Education from 2016 to 2017 as a member of President Barack Obama’s administration. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called King “an exceptionally talented educator,” citing his commitment to “preparing every child for success” and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems.
Before becoming education secretary and beginning in January 2015, King carried out the duties of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, overseeing all policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. In this role, King also oversaw the agency’s operations. King joined the department following his tenure as the first African American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner, a post he held from 2011 to 2015.
King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, Mass., and as a middle school principal.
King’s life story is an extraordinary testament to the transformative power of education. Both of King’s parents were career New York City public school educators, whose example serves as an enduring inspiration. Both of King’s parents passed away from illness by the time he was 12 years old. He credits New York City public school teachers — particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island — for saving his life by providing him with rich and engaging educational experiences and by giving him hope for the future.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, as well as a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. King lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife (a former kindergarten and first-grade teacher) and his two daughters, who attend local public schools. You can follow King on Twitter via @JohnBKing.
Dr. Candice McQueen was sworn in as Tennessee’s commissioner of education in January 2015. McQueen led a statewide effort to create a new strategic plan and vision for our schools called Tennessee Succeeds focused on increasing postsecondary and career readiness for all of Tennessee’s 1 million students. In summer 2017, Tennessee‘s new state plan was approved under the Every Student Succeeds Act, which builds on the work started under Tennessee Succeeds. Some of the hallmarks of the plan include a focus on ensuring Ready Graduates by supporting more early college coursework and industry certification attainment, a renewed accountability and support focus on improving achievement and growth for all students, and elevating a continuum of interventions for the state’s lowest performing schools.
Under McQueen’s leadership, Tennessee recently announced the state’s highest graduation rate in its history at 89.1%, best overall ACT at 20.1 – a number that represents all public school students in the state, across the board improvements in the 2nd year of the new state assessment, and a record high number of students taking and attaining credit for early college coursework. Tennessee has also refocused and reinvested in literacy with a statewide Read to be Ready campaign, new standards with comprehensive guidance and training on teaching reading, a statewide coaching network for elementary reading teachers, and summer camps for students who are furthest behind with an investment of over $30 million.
Over the last three years, Commissioner McQueen worked with the governor and the general assembly to pass the largest investments in K-12 education without a tax increase in Tennessee’s history – an increase that has resulted in more than $430 million invested in education with the majority going to teacher salaries.
McQueen has also connected with over 14,000 teachers on her Classroom Chronicles Tour, and spent time in close to 90% of Tennessee’s school districts. McQueen has opened lines of communication between the department and the public through avenues such as the Assessment Task Force and Assessment Task Force 2.0, Early Literacy Council, Career Forward Task Force, and the department’s inaugural Parent and Student Advisory Councils. In addition, she continues to oversee and participate in the department’s Teacher Advisory Council and the Governor’s Teacher Cabinet.
Prior to her appointment as Commissioner of Education, McQueen served as senior vice president and dean of the college of education at Lipscomb University. Under her leadership, Lipscomb’s college of education and teacher preparation program were consistently highlighted as one of the top teacher training programs for quality and effectiveness. Prior to joining Lipscomb University, McQueen was awarded multiple awards for both her teaching and the curriculum design of a new magnet school.
She began her career as a classroom teacher, teaching in both public and private elementary and middle schools. Dr. McQueen has a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb, a master’s degree from Vanderbilt, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Regents and was recently appointed to serve on the national board for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and as a commissioner for Education Commission of the States (ECS). She is also a member of Chiefs for Change.
Abby works across a number of Data Quality Campaign’s policy priority areas, conducting project specific research, writing, and policy analysis. As a senior associate, Abby combines her love of policy with her passion for education reform. Working on diverse issues from teacher preparation to family empowerment allows Abby to deepen her content knowledge while developing valuable skills.
Before joining DQC in 2015, Abby was the Director of Program Partners at Higher Achievement, a Washington, DC–based nonprofit that provides year-round academic support to middle school students. In this role, Abby managed all of the extracurricular programming provided to the more than 500 students in the program. Abby holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Richmond as well as an M.P.P from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
When she’s not at work, Abby continues to serve as a weekly volunteer mentor with Higher Achievement, teaching math to a small group of 6th grade students. She also enjoys cooking and traveling, especially to national parks.
David leads the day-to-day implementation of SCORE’s strategic plan, directing all programs and initiatives, as well as overseeing the organization’s financial and operational efforts. In his previous role as Executive Vice President, David led SCORE’s advocacy, communications, outreach, policy, and research work. Prior to joining SCORE in 2010, he worked in public relations and political consulting, providing clients and candidates with campaign consulting, issue advocacy support, and public affairs and communications strategy. Earlier, David worked for the late US Senator Fred Thompson and at the Tennessee Republican Party.
Besides his work at SCORE, David serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Nashville Classical Charter School, a public elementary school in East Nashville whose mission is to prepare every child — no matter his or her starting point — for college. David also serves on the Board of Directors of United Ways of Tennessee, on the Steering Committee of Complete Tennessee, and is a member of the 2016–17 cohort of Leadership Tennessee.
A Tennessee native, David is a graduate of Rice University and received an MBA with honors from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
Founder and CEO of The OpEd Project, writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media and mythology – that is, what we think is fact or fiction and how that shapes our ideas about politics, culture and history. She has contributed to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald. Her commentaries on women, politics, popular culture, mythology and human rights have been nationally syndicated and appear in anthologies. She has lectured at Harvard and Stanford universities, and appeared on ABC TV World News, Good Morning America, MSNBC, CNN and NPR All Things Considered. A graduate of Harvard (MA) and Columbia (MA) universities, she is the author of Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality & the Evolution of a Fairy Tale, which explores stories told about women over 500 years across multiple continents, and how they shape our lives today. It has been translated into multiple languages and is under consideration for a television series. Newsweek called it “revelatory,” The Wall Street Journal called it “beguiling,” and feminist author Naomi Wolf called it “laid back, readable brilliance.”
Orenstein has lived and worked around the world and particularly in Haiti, where she traveled as a folklore student and journalist in the 1990s, during a time of political upheaval. As a result of that experience, she has reported extensively on Haiti; organized fact-finding delegations for journalists, scholars and lawmakers; and consulted with the United Nations human rights mission. In 1996, she worked with a team of international human rights lawyers to assist victims of military and paramilitary violence in seeking justice. She investigated tortures, rapes, political assassinations and massacres; interviewed hundreds of victims, witnesses and alleged criminals; and coordinated lawyers’ and victims’ efforts to build cases against their persecutors. She has written about some of these cases and their aftermaths in Haiti and in the United States.
Orenstein has received a Peabody-Gardner Fellowship, Tinker Grant and a Cordier Essay Prize (from Columbia University), and was a finalist for the 2004 Prize for Promise, designed “to identify young women, aged 21–35, of great promise and vision who could… become world leaders in their respective fields.” She is a fellow with The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, a recipient of The Diana P Scott Integrity in Action Award, and a fellow of Echoing Green, which selected The OpEd Project as one of 19 of the most innovative social enterprises worldwide, out of a pool of 1500 applicants.
Andy is a data and policy analyst on the P-12 Policy and Practice team at The Education Trust. He collects, analyzes, and interprets education data related to student achievement, attainment, and opportunities to learn.
Prior to joining The Education Trust, Andy participated in the Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship as a policy research associate for the Partnership for Children and Youth in Oakland, Calif. While there, he collected and analyzed data to garner support for high-quality, after-school programs. He also has served as an Ella Baker trainer for the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools® program, where he worked on a team to train over 1,500 young leaders annually. In addition, he served as a positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) assistant at an elementary school in Durham, N.C.
A native of Gaston, N.C., Andy holds a master’s degree in public policy, concentrating in education policy, from Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development, as well as a bachelor’s degree in international comparative studies from Duke University. He is also an alumnus of the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia Law School.