Tawana Cook Purnell Named Executive Director of the Campus School of Carlow University

Tawana Cook Purnell is the new executive director of the Campus School of Carlow University and the Early Learning Center.

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Pittsburgh Native Comes to Campus School from Bishop Walker School for Boys

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Tawana Cook Purnell has been named the new Executive Director of the Campus School and Early Learning Center of Carlow University.  She will begin this position on August 15, 2017.

“Tawana has rich experiences in independent and faith-based schools in Pittsburgh and in Washington, D.C.,” said Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, president of Carlow University.  “She has served as head of school, principal, director of lower school, and teacher in both public and private schools.  She has worked with students and parents from socioeconomically and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and has served as a member of the board of directors on many community organizations in both Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.”

Currently, Cook Purnell is the Head of School of the Bishop Walker School for Boys in Washington, D.C., where she worked with the board and staff to create and implement policy, established a cohesive K-6 curriculum for language arts and math, revised standardized testing protocol, and strengthened parent support efforts, among other initiatives.  Prior to that, she was a principal of the Environmental Charter School in Pittsburgh, and, for a decade, was the director of the Lower School at National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, D.C.  She has also served as a teacher at St. Albans School for Boys in Washington, and in the Montgomery County Schools in Montgomery County, MD.

“I am looking forward to leading the Campus School,” said Cook Purnell.  “I am particularly drawn to the opportunities for the Campus School in our culturally rich city and the collaboration between the Campus School and the Carlow University community.”

After being admitted with the first class of women to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., and a master’s degree in private school leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City.  She has served on many local, regional, and national boards, including Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance, the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education, the Excellence in Education Program and the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal Schools Association.


About the Campus School of Carlow University

The Campus School of Carlow University is an independent, coeducational, Catholic day school for Pre-Kindergarten through grade eight, and a Montessori Preschool program. The Campus School espouses Judeo-Christian values, features a strong comprehensive core curriculum and champions a holistic approach to learning that develops the creativity and unique gifts of each child.

About Carlow University

Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s graduates, curricula, and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in three colleges: Health and Wellness, Leadership and Social Change, and Learning and Innovation. Carlow graduates are in demand for their professional expertise, in fields ranging from nursing, the sciences, and perfusion technology to counseling, education, and forensic accounting; their entrepreneurial spirit and creative mindset; and their ability to manage change.  Carlow’s eleven athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.

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