Paula L White

Paula L White narrows the gap between intent and impact to help people lead successful, self-directed lives. As a teacher, school founder, nonprofit board member, and senior education executive, her work has had a transformative impact on thousands of children and families.

Paula earned a B.A. in Child Development from Spelman College and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.  In addition to her successful career in public education (see a detailed account below), her work and contributions include being a HuffPost education blogger, a board member of Programs for Parents, a member of the New Jersey Council for Young Children, a parenting blogger for Psychology Today, and the author of SHAPE: The 5 Keys to Parenting from Research and Real Life.  Her most treasured role is the one she holds as the mother of her 3 sons.

Paula’s eight-year teaching stint in Atlanta yielded more than 80% of her 5th grade class – 90% of whom were living in poverty – meeting or exceeding state benchmarks in Reading and Mathematics.  After moving to New Jersey, she garnered approval to open a charter school in the city of Newark and served on the Education Commissioner’s charter school task force to assist the state in revising key aspects of its charter school policy.  Ms. White went on to lead hundreds of scholars at her charter school to meet and exceed nationally-normed achievement levels.  She later worked as a program director in high-poverty, low-performing public schools, connecting students and families to social services and counseling, and coaching principals to create instructionally-rigorous, trauma-informed environments.  Most recently she served as the Chief Turnaround Officer for the New Jersey Department of Education, framing and leading school improvement strategy and support for over 200 Priority and Focus schools statewide and overseeing the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program.   While she was at the helm, suspensions in Focus schools measurably declined, and the number of schools with high chronic absenteeism rates dropped by more than 8%.  She crafted experiences and tools to support Priority school principals and under her leadership, 2 out of every 3 Priority schools made significant academic growth.   At the Department’s request, she also led the state’s multi-sector Chronic Absenteeism team to begin planning to improve K-12 school attendance.