Education Commissioner visits teachers, parents in Oakland and B - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Education Commissioner visits teachers, parents in Oakland and Bolivar

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen visits Oakland Elementary (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) Education Commissioner Candice McQueen visits Oakland Elementary (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Commissioner McQueen spoke with parents and teachers at Oakland Elementary (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) Commissioner McQueen spoke with parents and teachers at Oakland Elementary (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Commissioner Candice McQueen spoke with teachers at Bolivar Elementary School (SOURCE: Facebook/Senator Dolores Gresham) Commissioner Candice McQueen spoke with teachers at Bolivar Elementary School (SOURCE: Facebook/Senator Dolores Gresham)
OAKLAND, TN (WMC) -

Since being sworn in as Tennessee Education Commissioner on January 17, 2015, she has visited over 10,000 teachers, and her Classroom Chronicles brought her to West Tennessee this week.

Candice McQueen visited teachers, parents, and educational leaders in Fayette and Hardeman counties on Friday as part of her commitment to speak with 10,000 teachers during the 2015-2016 school year through The Classroom Chronicles. Even after reaching her goal of 10,000 at Richland School in Lynneville last week, she said she would continue visiting teachers throughout the state in order to learn from those on the front lines.

Her visit at Oakland Elementary School allowed her to sit down at round table discussions with groups of teachers and PTO members to discuss what was going good for their school, as well as the challenges they faced.

PTO representatives joined with teachers and school board members to inform the commissioner of the successes the school had enjoyed as well as the challenges it still faced.

"We (PTO) reached out to the community and this year we've had more community involvement and than we've had and the more community involvement we have, it invites the community into our school," Oakland Elementary PTO representative Katy French told Commissioner McQueen. "They've come in, they've actually gotten to meet the teachers, meet the principal, and we've got to do so many more projects because we got the whole support of the school and the community."

Fayette County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marlon King joined the host of individuals who welcomed Commissioner McQueen to the school. Dr. King discussed with the Commissioner how the school system has aligned with the state's Tennessee Succeeds, by creating Imagine 21.

"Our strategic 21 plan, Imagine 21, is aligned with Tennessee Succeeds, so it has a literacy component," Dr. King told McQueen. "We want to be 21 percentage points higher by 2021. Parents are going to help facilitate the whole accelerated reader initiative next year in our schools."

After hearing the accomplishments of the school and the visions for the future, Commissioner McQueen commended the work of the school, but then turned the attention to what could be improved.

"Sounds like you have great parent engagement and you're obviously aligning to Tennessee succeeds and the strategic plan we have with the state," Commissioner McQueen said. 

But then she asked them what their challenges were and what could be improved.

The group was unanimous in agreeing they could improve in communication.

Dr. King said he has started a newsletter and the district has other things in place to begin improving the communication within the district.

After visiting Oakland Elementary School, Commissioner McQueen made her way to neighboring Hardeman County, where she stopped at Bolivar Elementary School to visit with teachers and students.

"Candice McQueen was made for this," State Senator Dolores Gresham said. "Her instant rapport with teachers, parents, and children is amazing to watch. She loves what she does and it shows."

Gresham is chairman of the Senate Education Committee and joined the commissioner in her travels through Gresham's district Friday.

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