Tom Armelino is deeply passionate when it comes to serving the needs of children and honoring the unique and diverse backgrounds, points of view, values, and inclusive sense of community that is necessary to prepare them for success. He understands firsthand how education can be the difference-maker for children, providing opportunity, and in many ways changing the trajectory of young people, society, and the world. Growing up in poverty and the sixth of nine children from a hard-working family where achieving a high school diploma was the exception and not the norm, Tom was the first to change this trajectory and graduate from college.
Passionate to give back to children the love, determination, and importance of working hard and believing in oneself that he learned from some incredible teachers and coaches, he dedicated his life to serving the needs of children and became a teacher. After eight years in the classroom and consistently being asked to serve in various teacher leadership roles as a mentor, coach, teacher-in-charge, model demonstration classroom teacher, and at-risk youth leader, he achieved a higher education degree. Tom went on to serve as a school site administrator, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, district superintendent in multiple school districts, and adjunct professor. In 2006, Tom was elected and served three unopposed four-year terms as the Shasta County Superintendent of Schools.
Currently, in his 3rd year as Executive Director of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, Tom works with a small team of accomplished and experienced educators, researchers, and facilitators to focus on systemic changes that ensure all students in California receive the quality education they deserve. Tom is spearheading major strategic shifts for the organization, focusing on providing local education agencies (LEAs) with research and development, professional development, and technical assistance. These initiatives will help to expand California’s System of Support to strengthen local control and continuous improvement through an equity-focused approach.
Tom understands the importance of working collaboratively with all stakeholders within the school system through his experiences as a school, district and county office leader, trained in Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management (TQM) principles. His schools, teachers, and staff were multiple recipients of the California Distinguished School and Title I High Achieving School awards during his tenure. Tom has also served in various state-level leadership positions as a member of California Governor Jerry Brown’s “Kitchen Cabinet,” Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) State President (2015-16), and chair of the state-appointed Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) committee. During his superintendency, Tom served as a Region II chair and state board member for the California County Superintendent Educational Services Association (CCSEA). Before joining CCEE, Tom served as Executive Director of the National Association of School Superintendents.
Recognized for his collaborative style of leadership, Tom has received numerous awards, including the CCSESA Champions Award, Shasta County Excellence in Public Health Award, Shasta County Community Builder Award, Shasta County Asset Champion, California Teachers Association (CTA) Local Chapter Administrator of the Year Award, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Community Coalition Leader Award, ACSA Shasta Charter Award for Central Office Administrator of the Year, ACSA Shasta Charter Superintendent of the Year Award, ACSA Region 1 Central Office Administrator of the Year Award, and ACSA Region 1 Superintendent of the Year Award.