Stephanie Costner serves as the of vice president of curriculum design & instructional technology at New York Edge. She joined the organization in 2021 to provide strategic leadership in the areas of educational equity, curriculum design, learner outcomes, and social-emotional supports. A former professor, Costner has dedicated her entire career to ensuring that students receive the education they deserve. She believes that college degrees are essential and necessary for expanding careers and ending generational poverty.
Before joining New York Edge, Costner consulted with Columbia University on its “Hip Hop Heals” portal development project. She was responsible for curriculum standards alignment, reviewing and editing curriculum, multimedia and multisensory learning, as well as equity and inclusion practices. Costner has also consulted for numerous companies and nonprofit organizations on graphic and multimedia design projects.
Prior to consulting, Costner worked as interim president/CEO and vice president for Programs, Assessments and Evaluations for the Colorado I Have A Dream Foundation (CIHADF). During her tenure with CIHADF, Costner led a team of educators and clinicians who delivered academic and extended day programming, as well as wrap-around and clinical supports to Dreamers in elementary school through college. She also managed grants, program data and evaluations to support funding and growth initiatives for the organization.
Earlier in her career, served as director of the Say Yes Collegiate Preparatory Academy (SYCPA) at Syracuse University. Prior to Say Yes, she served a 10-year appointment at the University at Buffalo, Educational Opportunity Center as an associate professor and new media and curriculum developer. In that role, Costner was responsible for developing and implementing academic courses, programs and projects which integrated new and emerging technologies cross-disciplines. She also oversaw the development of distance learning teaching models and web-based technology training seminars for the academic and professional staff at The University at Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center.
Costner graduated from Medaille College, with a Bachelor of Science degree in government services and a Master of Arts degree in higher education administration from Louisiana State University.
Courtne Thomas, Ed.D, is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at New York Edge The Excellence Project. Courtne is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Educational Elevation, Inc. She received her bachelor’s degree in communications from North Carolina Agricultural and State University, ranked as one of the top 5 historically black colleges and universities. She continued to pursue higher education, receiving a master’s degree in reading and supervision from Fairleigh Dickinson University. In 2009, she made the life-changing decision to return to school in pursuit of a terminal degree, which she completed with the successful defense of her project titled Academic Resilience: Narratives of High-Achieving Black Female Middle School Adolescents. Dr. Thomas has received many action research grants and fellowships, and she has been appointed to several review panels and boards including the Orange Board of Education. One of her greatest accomplishments occurred in August 2012, when she received a prestigious Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education. This opportunity enabled her to travel to Mexico and Colombia for six weeks with 15 educators from across the United States. The purpose of the trip was to conduct research and lead master classes and seminars about culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive teaching. An output of this experience was a culturally rich curriculum unit plan submitted to the U.S. Department of Education with access to educators across the nation. Other honors include receiving an action research grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, which enabled her to travel to Hiroshima, Japan to research the atomic bombing, and a National Education Association Learning and Leadership Grant to explore how the single-gender classroom format creates opportunities that do not exist in co-educational classrooms. Dr. Thomas is an expert in pedagogy, reading and literacy, transformative leadership, and servant leadership. She has several published articles including a piece in the New York Times inspired by her published curriculum. And, she plans to continue to collaborate with her professional colleagues.