top of page


Spel·li·gent™ - /spel’əjənt/:

Knowing and understanding how learners differ and how to support learner difference in school, society, and at home.

The Full Story

Spelligent™ is a play on the word intelligent and signifies the ideal that every learner has the ability and opportunity to obtain knowledge and skills (intelligence). 

Schools should be designed to support every learner. When they do, they are Spelligent™. Our mission is to create an army of Spelligent educators, families, and students so that all learners, regardless of ability, are supported in school, at home, and beyond.

When an individual is Spelligent they can:

Support the

Potential of




To help schools and organizations design student-centered learning experiences where 

  • every learner has a learning experience that is responsive to their individual learner identity

  • learners participate in a rigorous, accessible, and engaging academic experience

  • learners are authentically connected to their school community; and thrive academically, socially, and emotionally

  • educators are masters at supporting learner variability in the school community

  • families know and understand their students' learning profile and how to support their potential


  • All students deserve to be successful in school regardless of ability.

  • Schools should be designed to support learners across the spectrum of variability.

  • Students with and without differences learn from and alongside one another.

  • Student individual differences should be recognized and celebrated.

  • Students deserve educators with the skills and knowledge needed to support learners across the spectrum of ability.

  • Organizations that support schools and leaders should offer programming where learner variability is centered.

A Record of Excellence

Our team has been recognized locally and nationally for our work in effectively supporting diverse student groups.


Our founding team was recognized for their work leading a DC school to an over 30% gain on state assessments for their English Language Learners (surpassing every other school in the city) while, in that same year, led students with disabilities to a proficiency level higher than the city average.  In addition, we supported another school in going from Tier 3 to Tier 1 standing, a school that is now a national blue ribbon school.

Our collective accomplishments include:

  • ESOL Teacher of the Year

  • serves as a state-level inclusive leadership coach for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Advancing Inclusive Principal Leadership initiative

  • designed and led the Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute, a national program named by the Center for Learner Equity, as a leading program in leadership development around inclusive practices.

  • developed and led training for Rocketship DC, AppleTree, OSSE, New School Venture Fund, Teach for America, Diverse Charter Schools Coalition, LAUSD, Camden Education Fund, and KIPP Texas, to name a few

  • designers and owners of "Inclusive Culture Inventory,” a framework outlining the key elements of effective inclusive schools 

toni headshot_edited.jpg

Toni Barton

Founding Executive Director

  • Former principal and charter network director who started her career as a special education teacher in Washington, D.C. Public Schools. Toni holds a Master of Arts in Teaching - Special Education, Juris Doctor, and Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. 

  • Toni has trained hundreds of educators across the country and in D.C. and presented on inclusive practices at various conferences and convenings, including SXSW EDU, EdSummit, and the National Charter School Conference. Toni’s work has been featured by Forbes and she has written articles published in The Hechinger Report, Getting Smart, ELearning Industry, and is a contributing author to the upcoming book Inclusive Leadership: From Theory to Practice.

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page