State Education Fellow

Laura Encalade


Chief of Staff, Commissioner’s Office, Tennessee Department of Education

Laura Encalade currently serves as the Chief of Staff for the Tennessee Department of Education where she serves as a top aide to Commissioner Candice McQueen. Before rejoining the department in February, 2017, Laura served as director of policy and research for the State Board of Education, leading projects including the state’s standards review process for math, English, science and social studies and the redesign of Tennessee’s teacher prep report card. Laura previously served as the director of educator talent and deputy director of the state’s Race to the Top grant, overseeing the implementation of statewide compensation policies and more than $500 million in grant funds. Laura began her career as a seventh- and eighth-grade social studies in St. Louis. A Memphis native, Laura earned her B.A. in Political Science and Economics at the University of Tennessee, a Masters in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri, and a Masters in Public Policy from Vanderbilt University.