Meet Our Team
Tonya Breland, Ed.D.
Specializing in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Tonya Breland has a passion and commitment to increasing access and opportunities for those who have been historically marginalized. Through her research, she birthed a framework for sustainable equity planning in which she helps school districts identify areas where they are equitable, have inadequate capacity, or are vulnerable to inequities. Her work is also transferrable to organizations looking to address matters of DEI.
Tonya is a highly respected National Milken Educator Award recipient and educational leader with a lifelong mission to make a difference in the lives of others.
In her career, Tonya served as an Elementary School Principal, Curriculum Supervisor, as well as a Middle and Elementary school teacher. She previously served as the Co-Chair of the State Professional Learning Committee with the New Jersey Department of Education and has been a sought-after Trainer, Coach, Consultant, Speaker to school districts and other organizations. She also taught in the NJEXCEL Program preparing professionals for licensure as school/district administrators. She served as Director for the Office of Professional Learning and most recently as Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Division of Academics & Performance at the New Jersey Department of Education.
She currently serves on several boards, Learning Forward NJ, Eskolta, NJ Tutoring Corp, NJSBA Equity Council and another nonprofit.
She has authored two books: Fight to Make It Happen: 6 Power Principles to Fulfilling Your Purpose & Living Your Dreams and Mykayla Mitchell Moves Away”, a children's chapter book.
Tonya is a graduate of Howard University, Nova Southeastern University & New York University, where she received her Doctor of Education in Leadership & Innovation.
Erika Leak, M.Ed.
Specializing in Culturally Responsive Curriculum & Instruction
Erika Leak’s career in education has its roots in her late father’s story of educational inequity. Raised in a large city by a hearing impaired mother, Mr. Newman was taught by his teachers that he needed only a “strong back” for a good future rather than an education. A quick study, he listened and left school in the tenth grade taking his mechanical genius and aptitude for mathematics and science with him. Eventually retiring as a master electrician, he made sure his children understood the value of education. Erika decided to turn the failure of his teachers into her mission for educational equity.
Erika is highly regarded for her service in education on both the state and local levels. Whether ensuring an equitable review of policy for students statewide in her former role as a state director or ensuring that all of her students receive high quality, culturally relevant instruction as a classroom teacher, she has always placed the diverse needs of students in the center of her work. In her current role, she serves as the English language arts and literacy coordinator for the New Jersey Department of Education.
Erika is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Temple University, where she received her Masters of Education and is currently working on her Doctorate of Educational Leadership.
She lives in New Jersey with her husband and three daughters.