Education commissioner unveils ‘Best for All’ strategic plan

Academics, Whole Child, and Educators are top priorities for Tennessee

NASHVILLE—Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn today presented the department’s strategic plan to more than 1,000 statewide educators at the 2019 LEAD conference held in Nashville. The plan, called “Best for All,” sets priorities for the department in serving Tennessee students, teachers, administrators, and families.

“We want to ensure that every student is on a path to success,” Schwinn said. “When they graduate, every student should know that they are able to accomplish whatever dreams they set for themselves. This strategic plan prioritizes the three key areas of providing quality academic programs, serving the whole child, and developing and supporting our teachers and leaders. The work we do for our children matters. They need us and deserve our best.”

The “Best for All” plan includes the following:

• Quality Academic Programs: All Tennessee students will have access to a high-quality education, no matter where they live.
        o Early Literacy Supports – invest in a proven, coherent, statewide literacy program that includes high-quality materials, implementation coaching, and shared diagnostics for data review.
        o High-Quality Instructional Materials – invest in high-quality materials, a tool for standards alignment training, and implementation support to districts.
        o Innovative Assessments – build free, curriculum-aligned interim and formative assessments for districts to use.
        o Career Exploration – ensure every student has career exploration in middle school and a high school pathway that aligns to their interests and strengths.

• Whole Child Support: Tennessee public schools will be equipped to serve the academic and non-academic needs of all kids.
        o Supports – ensure that schools and districts are able to quickly and appropriately respond to students in need through stronger resource mapping, statewide partnerships, and in-school resources.
        o Character Education – develop a Tennessee-specific character and citizenship education program that prepares students to make successful contributions to society.
        o Exceptionalities – develop regional hubs with the expertise in special education that districts need and create a statewide network that effectively supports students with disabilities through a tool for families and educators.

• Teachers and Leaders: Tennessee will set a new path for the education profession and be the top state to become and remain a teacher and leader.
        o Recruitment – create advanced courses for teaching as a profession in K-12, develop teacher fellowships, expand “Grow Your Own” opportunities for prospective educators, and continue to support improvements to educator compensation.
        o Preparation – ensure educators are prepared to be successful in the classroom upon completion of their educator preparation programs.
        o Pathways – elevate teacher leaders through regional networks, professional development pathways, and state leadership roles.
        o Development – support the development of effective leadership structures in every school and create cohorts of educators focused on building their degrees, certifications, and professional development.        

 The “Best for All” strategic plan establishes a framework for the department’s work going forward. It sets key priorities and will be part of shaping the department’s budget.

The strategic plan not only reflects the path the department will take but also includes feedback from teachers, administrators, students, and families as the commissioner has traveled the state over the past nine months visiting over 75 school districts across Tennessee.

For more information on the strategic plan and the department, visit

Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation.  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.