Christina Theokas, Ph.D.
Chief Applied Science Officer
Christina Theokas joined Turnaround for Children in 2018 and was promoted to Chief Applied Science Officer in 2020. In this role, she oversees the teams that translate the science, design and develop new resources and tools, and partner with educators in the field to design schools that are organized to support healthy whole child development and learning. She ensures data informs all research and development, including continuous improvement of Turnaround’s tools, resources and services.
Christina came to Turnaround from the National Center for Urban School Transformation, where she studied the teaching practices, systems and structures, and leadership of high-performing, high-poverty schools and worked with educators to implement those strategies in their schools. Before this, Christina was Chief Program Officer at Breakthrough Collaborative, a national out-of-school time provider, and spent eight years at The Education Trust as Director of Research. She studied opportunity gaps students of color and low-income students experience and how schools ameliorate those issues, improve, and create excellent and equitable outcomes. Christina has also worked as a special education teacher, school psychologist, principal and conducted evaluations of district programs and initiatives to support continuous improvement. She is the co-author of two books, “Getting it Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools,” “Five Practices for Improving the Success of Latino Students: A Guide for Secondary School Leaders,” and multiple peer-reviewed articles about the factors and processes of positive youth development.
Christina holds a Ph.D. in child psychology from Tufts University, an M.A. in counseling psychology from Mount Holyoke College and a B.A. in psychology and art from Colby College.
What book has influenced you most?
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel helped me think about the role purpose plays in our lives and how schools can be better organized to help children discover and pursue their passions.
What motivates you?
Being part of a team with diverse skills and perspectives that comes together around a mission to improve outcomes for ALL children and pursues it doggedly, learning along the way and constantly getting better.