NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen is leaving her post to become the head of a national education nonprofit.

Haslam's office said Thursday McQueen will be the CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching starting in January. The organization helps states and schools develop and retain educators.

McQueen was appointed to the state position in 2015 after leading the Lipscomb University College of Education. She called her time in the position an "honor of a lifetime."

McQueen helped push improving early education literacy and increasing the number of students earning credit for early college coursework. She also faced criticism over the challenges that have plagued the state's assessment test, with fixing the test becoming a key campaign issue in the governor's race.

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