Inspired by her mother, who established her own school in 1968, Michelle D. Turnbull, MEd, earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology and elementary education from Hampton University in 1999 and began her career at her mother’s school, the Melrose Community School. She taught grades K-8 at the Melrose Community School from 1994 to 2008 and took over as the director in 2004 following her mother’s passing. The school closed in 2008, due to the Great Recession, which led to Ms. Turnbull joining Teach for America, a national organization that seeks to provide all children with equal opportunities for education. She spent 2008 to 2009 as a substitute teacher before becoming a special education teacher from 2009 to 2011. During this time, she also taught as a grammar and writing teacher for the Sts. Peter & Paul School from 2009 to 2010 and as a substitute teacher for the Merrick Academy-Queens Public Charter School from 2010 to 2012.
In 2012, Ms. Turnbull became a corps member with Teach for America and achieved her first full-time position through the organization while living in Georgia. After a brief period as a preschool teacher at Bright Horizons in 2012, she became an interrelated special education teacher and chair of the English language arts department for Riverdale Middle School in Atlanta from 2012 to 2014. Returning to New York, she was a team leader for third grade with the Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School in the Bronx from 2014 to 2015; the dean of literacy and dean of students with the Community Partnership Charter School in Brooklyn from 2015 to 2018; the dean of special education for the National Heritage Academies in Brooklyn from 2018 to 2019; and the dean of special education and intervention for the Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School from 2018 to 2020.
Ms. Turnbull furthered her education during this period as well, achieving certifications in special education behavior and learning disorders for grades K-12 with the Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency in Atlanta in 2014 and as a school building leader through the state of New York in 2016. Furthermore, she achieved a Master of Education in school leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University in 2015, an achievement she cites among the highlights of her career. She was certified in literacy coaching and teacher leadership at Lesley University in 2019 and in life coaching and youth life coaching through Pace Academy in 2020.
In 2020, Ms. Turnbull founded Turnbull Coaching and Consulting, LLC, where she excels as the principal consultant and coach, and became a virtual academic coach for teachers with EdConnective in 2021, a position that allows her to reach teachers across the United States. Also in 2021, she obtained a women in entrepreneurship certification from Cornell University and completed a master’s degree in youth studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Remaining active with Teach for America as well, Ms. Turnbull was elevated to the position of director of programs in 2022. With Teach for America, she is responsible for coaching roughly 25 teachers across seven schools in the New York area, and also assists in the induction and hiring process for new teachers.
Passionate about what she does, Ms. Turnbull’s ultimate goal is to help as many children as possible. She wants to be a person that children feel safe talking to and to be able to give children in need the chance for a better life. Looking toward the future, she plans to continue to grow Turnbull Coaching and Consulting to establish its professional identity and bring it point where she can employ other coaches. She is also working on a book that focuses on overcoming obstacles, fears and doubts. Outside of her work in education, Ms. Turnbull is the owner of LivingRoomTablesPro.com, an e-commerce store that offers various tables, light pieces and décor geared specifically toward living rooms, and holds several rental properties.
Attributing much of her success to her personal drive and desire to always be better than she was the day before, Ms. Turnbull considers her most notable achievement to be having excelled as an educator for over 25 years. Her excellence has been recognized on multiple occasions by her peers and students. A member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, she was later inducted into Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology for her academic excellence. In 2008, she was named Teacher of the Year by the Mellow Community School and, more recently, Ms. Turnbull was featured among the Top 10 Inspiring Education Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2022 by Entrepreneur magazine.