Tonya CunninghamAdjunct Instructor
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Tonya is a successful and dedicated Licensed Social Worker and Licensed Funeral Director/Embalmer. Her duties as a Mortician afforded her the opportunity to practice in a local funeral home as Funeral Director in Charge. As a Social Worker, she has served in local nursing homes, hospice facilities, juvenile detention programs, and mentoring programs. Currently, she serves as Bereavement Coordinator for a local hospice company and Grief Support Group Facilitator for local Dignity Memorial Provider Funeral Homes.

An advocate of higher learning, Tonya obtained an Associate in Applied Science at Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She was later motivated to pursue graduate degrees in the field of Counseling and went on to earn two Master of Arts degrees in that field at Amberton University.

Having a quarter of a century’s experience and education, Tonya continues as an industry trendsetter. She has made history as the very first African-American female Instructor at the renowned Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. There, she also served as the Director of Learning Resources, as well as the School Chaplain and Counselor, providing spiritual guidance and support to both students and staff with over 1,000 students benefitting from her tutelage. Then, history was again made when Tonya was elected as the first female mortician to become President of the Fort Worth/Tarrant County Funeral Directors Association. She also serves as a business consultant to funeral homes & other funeral industry providers.   Currently she serves as Adjunct Instructor at her Alma Mater, Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, where she teaches General Psychology and Funeral Service Counseling.

Tonya has developed the unique, multi-faceted ability to connect with all generations and cultures, speaking both to the intellect and the heart. To date, the highlight of her career has been to share the platform with the renown grief educator, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, whom she admires.

She is the mother of Chelsea, who is in heaven and adopted son, D’Anthony. She is also the proud Dog Mom of “Mister” Cunningham, her Westie.