Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Tawana was admitted with the first class of women to Bowdoin College, from which she transferred after two years to Spelman College and graduated cum laude with a degree in philosophy. She attended graduate school for two years at Howard University, where she served as graduate assistant in the philosophy department. Her teaching career began in the Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools where she taught high school English for three years. Next, she spent twelve years as a lower school teacher at St. Albans School for Boys in Washington, D.C., during which time she was awarded a Klingenstein fellowship at Columbia University and earned an MA in private school leadership.
After serving as director of the lower school at National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, D. C., for ten years, Tawana became the lower school principal at Pittsburgh’s Environmental Charter School, an inaugural member of GBA’s Green & Healthy Schools Academy. She presented at the 2014 Greenbuild International Conference with members of Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics on “IEQ Evaluation in Schools through Post Occupancy Evaluation.”
Former chair of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal Schools Association, Tawana has sat on the boards of the Bishop Walker School for Boys, Washington Latin School, Arts and Technology Academy, and Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education.