Deputy Commissioner for Academics

As Deputy Commissioner of Academics at the Texas Education Agency, Penny Schwinn is responsible for the Assessment & Accountability Division, as well as Standards & Programs.

Schwinn began her work in education as a high school history and economics teacher in Baltimore. Her early career also includes experience as a new teacher coach in south Los Angeles. Her successful teaching efforts earned her the Peter Hannam award for Teaching Excellence, an Americorps Service Award, the Street Law Supreme Court Summer Institute placement and the Gilder-Lerhman Fellowship.

Prior to joining the Texas Education Agency, Schwinn served as Assistant Secretary for the Delaware Department of Education, and before that as Assistant Superintendent of Performance Management for the Sacramento City Unified School District. Schwinn is also the founder of Capitol Collegiate Academy in Sacramento, one of the highest performing charter schools serving low-income students in the state.

In between her time in the classroom and her district leadership roles, Schwinn worked in the private sector for a multi-billion dollar company where she supervised work in the operations, marketing and information departments. But she could never fully step away from education and was at one point elected to the Sacramento County Board of Education.

As an assistant superintendent in the Sacramento public school system, Schwinn developed the Guide to Success, the county’s first districtwide accountability system. In addition, she created the first school choice calculator in the county, ran the Principal Development Program, and managed the Assessment, Research and Evaluation Department. As a principal investigator, Schwinn also helped to lead the Sacramento Pathways initiative, a collaborative with higher education institutions to ensure students complete college after high school graduation.

As the Associate Secretary of Education in Delaware, she led multiple departments geared towards improving the quality of information provided to schools, including the statewide Offices of Assessment, Performance Management, School Turnaround, Accountability, and Data Management.

Schwinn earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California-Berkeley and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. She has a doctorate in Education (Ph.D.) Policy from Claremont Graduate University (SU16) in California and will receive her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from the University of Southern California this year.