Meet the School Turnaround Team

School Turnaround specialists are not theorists, but principals and superintendents who have personally turned around failing schools and who know how to help others do the same.

Milred Toliver, Interim President

Mildred joined the School Turnaround staff after participating in the program.  She now works extensively not only with principals but also with teachers, district administrators, and school boards. She leads much of the national and regional training and initiates many of our new education initiatives.  She leads the team of School Turnaround Specialists on the ground and is instrumental in providing professional development internally for them at TRI.

Loretta Blanks, Director School Turnaround

Loretta became a principal in 1991. Loretta led her first school, Dumfries Elementary, in making marked improvements, including a 23% improvement in fourth grade writing scores in one year.  Loretta continued her work as a turnaround principal at John Small Elementary School.  Test scores improved from 56% of the students being proficient in reading and mathematics to 81% being proficient and the school being recognized as a School of Distinction.

Nicole Johnson, Director School Turnaround

Nicole led Leonard Sixth Grade Center as a participating principal in School Turnaround prior to becoming a specialist. Under her leadership, in 2008 the school received a rating of “Recognized” from the Texas Education Agency, the 2nd highest achievement rating in the state of Texas. The campus reading gap that was as wide as 20 points – was reduced to less than 9 points.  Her campus received the Gold Performance Award for 51% of the students scoring Commended in Reading.

Tyrone Burton, Turnaround Specialist

Tyrone  was the principal of Cherokee Park Elementary School in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Under his leadership the school made major gains, and he was named Elementary School Principal of the Year in 2013- 2014. Under his leadership student achievement increased by 75% in core content areas. Cherokee Park Elementary went from threat of closure in 2001 to earning some of the highest distinctions in the state. In 2009 and 2010, his school earned the Cecil Picard Excellence in Education Award for achieving the highest value added score in the state.

Natasha Hunter, Instructional Coach

Natasha Hunter joined the School Turnaround team in August,  2019. She has served as an Elementary Assistant Principal,  High School Accountability Specialist,  Junior High Literary Specialist, and K-4 Reading Coach. Natasha brings a passion for using data to guide standards-based planning and instruction and is excited to collaborate with others in this area. Natasha has been in education for sixteen years and is looking forward to growing more professionally alongside such accomplished educators as those in the School Turnaround department, as well as those who partner with our company. 

Sherron Jinadu, Turnaround Specialist

Sherron became the principal of Anniston High School in Anniston, Alabama when it was designated a persistently failing school.  She became a participating principal in School Turnaround in 2011 and as the instructional leader implemented strategies for her school to achieve AYP in reading in 2013.  From 2012-2013 Anniston High School saw gains of 25% in reading and 30% in math.  She received the honor of being named School Turnaround Principal of the Year in 2013.

Cynthia Lawson, Turnaround Specialist

Cynthia Lawson, has served as a principal, instructional supervisor, and specialist at the district and state levels. Throughout her career, she received various awards and accolades for improving the schools in which she worked, including Kentucky’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Mathematics Education Service and Achievement Award, presented by the Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In addition, under her leadership, Second Street Middle School was named a finalist in the Middle Schools to Watch Program for Kentucky and a National Title I Distinguished School for Narrowing the Achievement Gap, one of two schools selected by the Kentucky Department of Education.

Bruce Osgood, Turnaround Specialist

As the principal of John Muir Middle School, Bruce led his staff in an effort that addressed sub par academic performance and raised API (Academic Performance Index) scores by 43 points in his first year and 41 points in his second year, earning the school the California Governor’s Performance Award.  As the Principal of Burbank High School, Bruce led a turn around effort that grew the school’s API by 127 points over 8 years and met AYP targets for all significant sub populations.  Bruce has served as an Elementary teacher, Middle School Principal, and High School Principal.

Debon Lewis, Turnaround Specialist

Debon, has served as a founding school principal and teacher throughout his career. His expertise as a turnaround school leader has led to several awards and accolades throughout his career, including an NAACP Education Award and two Rookie Teacher of the Year Awards. Under his turnaround leadership, KIPP AMP Academy’s grade from the NYDOE went from a D to an A in two years. He is also founder and CEO of Transformative Growth Partners and does consulting work nationally for various entities.

Megan Caswell, Program Administrator

Megan Caswell joined the TRI team in May of 2018 supporting the School Turnaround program.   Megan brings 10 years of management and customer service to the position, which benefits the organization as she manages travel for the entire team.  She can juggle multiple priorities and adapt to unforeseen changes, which benefits the School Turnaround program as she provides internal administrative support, plans and organizes conferences, maintains databases and manages the day to day operations for the ST team.   Her ability to do web research, format business documents and troubleshoot software programs are additional skills she brings to the organization.

Gayle Burnett, Special Projects Guru

Gayle has held many titles having served as a Wall Street executive, managing partner of a diversity consulting firm, co-author of Peace In Everyday Relationships and, most recently, a district leader at the Atlanta Public Schools. At TRI, she is responsible for applying her diverse skill set to facilitating non-profit board strategy and planning with a focus on race, equity, and inclusion. Gayle also delights in supporting the TRI team with problem-solving and troubleshooting new work.

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