Representative David Byrd . District 71Capitol Hill Updates

Governor-Elect Bill Lee Sworn In As Tennessee’s 50th Governor Jan. 19

Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee made history on Saturday when he officially became our state’s 50th governor. Lee defeated Karl Dean during the November election and replaces term-limited Governor Bill Haslam.

Penny Schwinn Named Education Commissioner

Current Texas Deputy Commissioner of Education and Former Teacher

This week in Nashville, Governor-elect Lee appointed Penny Schwinn to lead the Tennessee Department of 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.

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.

As always, I am truly humbled and honored to be your voice in Nashville. If there is ever any issue I can assist you with, please contact my office by calling 615-741-2190 or emailing me at:  I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and suggestions as we continue to protect Tennessee’s conservative values throughout the remainder of the 111th General Assembly.

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