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Dr. Ivory Toldson

Director, Education Innovation and Research

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Dr. Ivory Toldson - Director, Education Innovation


Dr. Ivory Toldson was dubbed a leader "who could conceivably navigate the path to the White House" by The Washington Post, one of "30 leaders in the fight for Black men," by Newsweek Magazine, and the "Problem Solver" by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education


Dr. Toldson served as the president and CEO of the QEM Network, professor of counseling psychology at Howard University, and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs). Throughout his career, Dr. Toldson also served as a senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.


A sought-after speaker, Dr. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC, C-SPAN2 Books, NPR News, POTUS on XM Satellite Radio, and numerous national and local radio stations. In print, his research has been featured in The Washington PostCNN.comThe New York Times, The Root, The National Journal, Essence MagazineBET.comThe Grio, and Ebony Magazine.


In addition to ongoing work with elected officials, government executives, HBCU leaders, and advocacy groups, Dr. Toldson conceptualized the White House Initiative on HBCUs All-Stars program during the Obama administration, which identified and engaged the top HBCU scholars. As a senior research analyst for the CBCF, Dr. Toldson conceptualized, developed and authored the Breaking Barriers series, which analyzed success indicators for school-aged Black males. He has worked effectively with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and their staff to organize national and district-level forums on educational equity and access. 


Dr. Toldson has varied executive leadership experiences and has served on many advisory boards. He is an advisory board member for Generation Ready and the Morehouse Research Institute, and on the board of directors for the National Council on Educating Black Children, a premier non-profit and civil rights organization with a distinguished focus on improving educational opportunities and outcomes for African American children.


Dr. Toldson was named in the 2013 and 2014 The Root 100, an annual ranking of the most influential African-American leaders. His body of research was featured in The Foundation Center report, Building a Beloved Community, for his role in shaping sponsored programs for Black male achievement. Dr. Toldson was awarded the: Equity Champion Award from the New York City Department of Education; Outstanding Alumni Award from Penn State Black Alumni Association; Top 25 Forensic Psychology Professors,; and The Emerging Scholar designation from the Diverse Magazine.


Since graduate school, Dr. Toldson has had a career-long affiliation with HBCUs. He takes pride in his ability to promote HBCU scholarship and is an example of professional talent cultivated at HBCUs. He holds an honorary doctorate from Florida Memorial University.  

He is married to Marshella Toldson, and together, they are raising their daughter, Makena, and their son, Ivory Kaleb.

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