Penny Schwinn served as Tennessee education commissioner from January 2019 until June 2023. In that role she led the restructuring of Tennessee’s $9 billion school finance system and the redesign of the state’s teacher-preparation market, making teaching in Tennessee a federally recognized apprenticeship profession. She designed and launched the state’s comprehensive Covid-recovery and student-acceleration programs that included major literacy, math, and tutoring initiatives. She led a $500 million statewide high school initiative to align K-12, post-secondary and workforce needs. And she secured the largest one-time and recurring investments in K-12 education in Tennessee’s history.
Schwinn currently serves as a fellow for the Walton Family Foundation and FutureEd, as well as in senior leadership for a university. She holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, a master’s from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD from Claremont Graduate University.