TN education commissioner repays tuition ‘upon realizing the mistake’

Twice within the first six months of her employment with the state, Tennessee Education Commissioner Lizzette Reynolds signed forms certifying she had been a state employee for more than six months as she sought a tuition waiver for classes at the University of Tennessee at Martin, newly released records show.

Reynolds is seeking a teaching credential, something she did not hold in Tennessee when Gov. Bill Lee appointed her to the post and one of the requirements for a state education commissioner. State employees are eligible for free tuition but only after working for at least six months.

Her qualifications for the job have come under intense criticism from Democrats, who have called for her resignation and unsuccessfully sought her impeachment. State law requires the education commissioner to be “qualified to teach in the school of the highest standing over which the commissioner has authority” and have experience in school administration.

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