Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Tonya Mead is a Certified Fraud Examiner, Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator and Private Investigator. She started her career as an Educational Psychologist- School-based, K-12 Regular Administrator (she has maintained her credentials). Presently, she is the President of Shared Knowledge, LLC. It is a certified minority-woman owned company. Tonya Mead is a recipient of the 2014 Cafritz Foundation Award for Excellence in Public Service for her innovative work in solving the difficult problem of educator fraud and accountability for the DC’s 85,000 students. Prior to her system, DC Schools were the poster child of academic fraud (Greg Toppo, USA Today, “Memo warns of rampant cheating in DC Schools”, November 4, 2013). She is a recognized expert, and former member Regional Council, the College Board. Ms. Mead was the state education agency’s team lead for the Accountability and Consolidated State Performance Reports involving advanced statistics, and complex data mapping, computer systems format structure, data forensics, and the joining of disparate data files and duplicate removals.
Since 2010, she has led her company as an independent reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Schools on the secondary level and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation on the post-secondary level. From 2006 to 2012, Ms. Mead. Mead served as expert content reviewer for the publication, “Helping Children at Home and School III: Handouts for Family and Educators “ for the National Association of School Psychologists, 250 (March 2010).
On the school level, she has served as Ninth Grade Academy Coordinator whereby the earned promotion rate increased by 10% through extensive tutoring in English and Math and modifications of the master schedule. She also has served as Instructional Facilitator and was responsible for a 17% increase in standardized test scores and led school improvement in a school that had been labeled by the City Paper as the “worst school in a city of under-performing schools” ultimately earning national recognition by the Middle State Association- Commission on Secondary Schools and Colleges. She directed the installation of a computerized library loan and circulation database and obtained support from the U. S. Library of Congress for donated books. She authored a successful proposal for funding from the Perkins Act, WIA and managed by the DC Department of Youth Employment to pilot a program to pay high achieving students in an impoverished area to excel in academics.
Prior to Ms. Mead’s work at the state education agency, Dr. Mead was Clinical Coordinator and Internal Audit Investigator for DEA Controlled Substances at a residential treatment facility in Massachusetts. Shared Knowledge has served as the lead consultant and Educational Psychologist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor’s Alliance Against Drugs, Inc. a quasi public private partnership with the Department of Public Safety. In this role she started the “Status of Girls” program which expanded the live satellite feed from Boston, Massachusetts to Washington, DC and Aruba, Dutch Caribbean. She secured national co-sponsorships and 23 legislative endorsements. Some of the organizations signed on to assist with the program: National Crime Prevention Council, the Coalition of Girls Schools, The Boys and Girls Club, and the Girl Scouts, to name a few. Managed to budget. Marketed the conference and satellite-driven program ($300,000.00 budget). Oversight for RFP process, contract compliance and evaluative reports.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The name of my book is, Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer. The inspiration for this book is based upon the 10 years spent working in the public school system in the District of Columbia.
The inspiration for my latest book was my analysis of Office of Inspector General Reports and Auditor’s Reports (a) the 2012 DC OIG Report No. 2011-0318 regarding test security of standardized assessments and (b) the 2007 DC OIG Report # 06-2-25GA and the (c) DC Auditor’s Report #00:03:SDG:LD:HA:vh with findings that many DC schools had fraudulently graduated students without the proper credits or course completion and ineffective systems for special education accountability.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller
What are you working on now?
An update of my book, Awaken From your Slumbers and Rise on your Wings, an inspirational book for African Americans.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I have a blog at http://edfraud.net
Two of my articles written for the professional law enforcement community to combat fraud has appeared in the Fraud Magazine published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. As a result, I have received a lot of hits to my site and possibly sold a few more books, However the best website thus far is the http://amazon.com/author/tonyajmead because it provides an automatic update to my blog feed.
Another method that has been helpful is presenting at professional conferences. I have presented before the National Institute of Standards and Technology regarding cyber security, the National Association of State Directors of Education Certification, the International Conference on Academic Integrity, and the International Academic Forum. While attending these conferences, I have the opportunity to meet colleagues, recharge my batteries and network.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My book is narrowly focused on fraud, data breaches, and cyber security in the education sector. Although the education sector employs 13.3 million people in total, it doesn’t readily come to mind (unlike healthcare) when one thinks of fraud. Even so, my book is ranked in the 787 for forensic science on the Top 100 list and about 1,400 for the education administration category. When doing a Google search on the words “fraud in education” or “cyber security,” the number of searches for cyber related words are 100 times greater than that of fraud. So the design of your book cover is very important. I placed too much emphasis on the fraud aspect (for the cover) although one full chapter is solely focused on data and cyber security. I would probably see an increase in book sales with a book cover that illustrates an equal emphasis on cyber, data and computer-assisted crimes in education.
Another thing that would be helpful for new authors is to make sure that when you receive positive comments about your book in person, that you ask the reader to post them to your website and or review section for Amazon.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso.
What are you reading now?
The Science of Mind magazine.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Continue to read and write more.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Bible, A course in miracles, any book by Norman Vincent Peale, and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Tonya Mead’s Social Media Links