In 1995 McQueen graduated from Marshall High School, going on to study at Eastern Illinois University. After gaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physical education, as well as a master’s in educational administration, she took a position at Danville High School, some 50 miles from her hometown.
After a year in Danville, McQueen left to begin teaching at Mattoon High School in the small town of Mattoon, IL. There, she taught both physical education and mathematics. In her faculty profile, she wrote that she wanted to become a teacher in order to “make the world a better place.”
“There are so many negative influences in the world,” she continued. “I wanted to provide a positive role model.” To that end, she also became involved in the school’s “Believe it or not I care” – or B.I.O.N.I.C. – program, working to build stronger communities through service-learning.