Kevin Huffman has served as Tennessee's commissioner of education since April 2011. Prior to his appointment, Huffman spent nearly two decades working with public education systems as a teacher, lawyer, non-profit executive and non-profit board member.
Huffman began his education career as a first- and second-grade bilingual teacher in the Houston Independent School District, teaching students in English and Spanish. After attending law school, Huffman represented school districts, state departments of education and universities, working on policy and litigation matters at the Washington D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson. Huffman then joined the senior management of Teach For America in 2000, serving as the general counsel, the senior vice president of growth strategy and development, and the executive vice president of public affairs as Teach For America grew into the largest provider of new teachers in the country. Huffman also wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post and other publications and won the Post’s national writing competition to find “America’s Next Great Pundit” in 2009.
Huffman was appointed Tennessee’s commissioner of education in April 2011 by Governor Bill Haslam. During his tenure, Tennessee has seen significant growth on its TCAP assessments. Additionally, on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Tennessee had the largest gains across fourth and eighth grade math and reading of any state in the country. Under his leadership, Tennessee was one of the first states to receive a waiver from No Child Left Behind, the state implemented a rigorous evaluation system focused on feedback for teachers, and it continued a focus on higher standards through the Tennessee Diploma Project and the Common Core State Standards.
Huffman graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in English Literature in 1992, and from the New York University School of Law in 1998. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee, the Board of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Board of Directors of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the executive committee of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and is a member of Chiefs for Change.