Courtne Thomas, Ed. D.
Courtne Thomas is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Educational Elevation, Inc. 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. Courtne has experience as a Special Assistant in the Newark Public Schools supporting 33 schools. Her scope of work included the facilitation of discipline Superintendent Hearings in the stead of district senior executives, Restorative Practice professional development and leadership development coaching. Dr. Thomas also has building leadership experience as a K-5 school principal at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls. Her expert organizational development skills came at a pivotal time in the school’s history as she successfully supported the charter renewal process. Courtne executed against her strategic plan in the same academic year as the impact of COVID-19 rocked the education community. All this as a first year principal navigating the ebbs and flows of policy changes during the transition to remote learning. During her tenure, Courtne increased academic achievement by more than 10 percent.
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.