Toni Barton is a nationally recognized leader and champion of equitable educational systems in support of all learners, specifically exceptional learners. Prior to founding Spelligent, Toni founded and designed the Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute (ISLI) at Relay Graduate School of Education. In her capacity at Relay, Toni trained and coached state, district, and school-level leaders all across the country. Under her leadership, ISLI was one of the highest rated programs at Relay, a factor that led Toni to receive Relay’s equity award in 2020. In 2021, the Center for Learner Equity named Toni as one of sixteen “Beacons” in the special education sector—individuals who have demonstrated exemplary efforts to educate students with disabilities.
As a result of Toni’s success, she was asked to serve as a state-level coach and working group leader for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Advancing Inclusive Principal Leadership initiative. In that role, Toni served as a state coach for Arkansas and Washington, DC, helping cross-sector state teams develop statewide strategic plans around improving inclusive practices.
Toni is a former principal and charter network director who started her career as a special education teacher in DC Public Schools. Toni holds an M.A. in Teaching–Special Education, Juris Doctor, and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems.
Spelligent Schools is a rigorous, accessible, and engaging learning community that centers student identity so that children thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.
Spelligent does this by ensuring all academic, culture, and data systems are designed to meet the needs of students historically underserved or unseen in school. The environment and systems are grounded in high expectations and personalization; students, educators, and families understand each individual learner’s unique profile so that students’ differences are celebrated and affirmed; and the holistic wellness of both students and educators is at the center.