Courtne Thomas, Ed. D.

Courtne Thomas is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Educational Elevation, Inc. Courtne is a Special Assistant in the Office of Student Support Services in Newark Public Schools. She received her bachelor’s degree in communications from North Carolina Agricultural and State University, ranked as one of the top 20 historically black colleges and universities. She continued to pursue higher education, receiving a master’s degree in reading and supervision from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


In 2009, she made the life-changing decision to return to school in pursuit of a terminal degree, which she completed with the successful defense of her project, titled Academic Resilience: Narratives of High-Achieving Black Female Middle School Adolescents.


Dr. Thomas has received many action research grants and fellowships, and she has been appointed to several review panels and boards including the Orange Board of Education and the National Association of Professional Women. One of her greatest accomplishments occurred in August 2012, when she received a prestigious Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education. This opportunity enabled her to travel to Mexico and Colombia for six weeks with 15 educators from across the United States. The purpose of the trip was to conduct research and lead master classes and seminars about culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive teaching. An output of this experience was a culturally rich curriculum unit plan submitted to the U.S. Department of Education with access to educators across the nation.


Other honors include receiving an action research grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, which enabled her to travel to Hiroshima, Japan, to research the atomic bombing, and a National Education Association Learning and Leadership Grant to explore how the single-gender classroom format creates opportunities that do not exist in co-educational classrooms.


Dr. Thomas is an expert in pedagogy, reading and literacy, transformative leadership, and servant leadership.  She is also a member of the Orange School Board in New Jersey.  Dr. Thomas has two published articles (dissertation and hip-hop program article featured in the New Jersey Education Association Review Magazine), the hip-hop inspired curriculum and plans to collaborate with her professional colleagues.

Mirvetk Tonuzi, Ed. D.

Mirvetk Tonuzi, Ed. D., is a grade 8 Language Arts teacher at Sojourner Truth Middle School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Buffalo State University College and a master’s degree in Teaching and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


Dr. Tonuzi holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Seton Hall University with Kappa Delta Pi distinction.


In 2008, Dr. Tonuzi received a commendation for her dedicated service to Sojourner Truth students. She also received the East Orange Teacher of the Year Award and New Jersey’s Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award in 2009. In 2010, she received a Graduate Merit Award Scholarship from the Executive Women of New Jersey. In the same year, she was inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. Additionally, Dr. Tonuzi holds a supervisor’s certificate in New Jersey and a principal’s certificate in both New Jersey and New York State.


She is an expert in pedagogy, the needs of diverse learners, and constructivist leadership. Dr. Tonuzi has three published articles, a co-authored published curriculum and also plans to collaborate with her professional colleagues.

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Elevation, Inc.

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