David M. Toston

Senior Advisor of Equity & Innovation
Areas of Focus:

Community Education Initiative

Early Literacy Support Block Grant


Reading Instruction and Intervention

Special Education Educator Workforce

System of Support Evaluation

David Toston is originally from Compton, CA, and credits his mother and K-12 educators for showing him the importance of education and preparing him for a life of public service. A graduate in English and Education at Pacific Union College, Toston received his Master’s of Education in School Psychology at Azusa Pacific University and completed the Educational Leadership program at Western Washington University.

Currently, as the Director of Systems Improvement and Innovation at the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, Toston leads in the development of direct technical assistance guidance and resources that LEAs can utilize to improve instructional quality and advance achievement for all students, especially our most vulnerable students. He also works in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE) and State Board of Education (SBE) in leveraging the assistance of leads identified across the state of California to support LEAs in improving outcomes for students (e.g., SELPA Leads, Literacy Leads, etc.).

Before his current position, Toston was an Associate Superintendent with the El Dorado County Office of Education. In this role, he provided leadership and oversight of the professional learning systems, programmatic and fiscal oversight framework for the El Dorado SELPAs and Statewide Initiatives. During this time, he was also an adjunct Professor with Loyola Marymount University, where he taught graduate courses in the Department of Urban Education. Additionally, Toston has served in a variety of regional leadership roles in California and Washington.

Toston’s extensive experience in the California educational system includes leadership and participation in numerous professional organizations and state committees. In 2017 he was appointed by the California Assembly to the Advisory Commission on Special Education. In 2020 he was elected as the Chair of California on Special Education (ACSE), becoming the first African American to hold this role. He has previously served as the Vice-Chair for ACSE and the Chair for the Coalition for Adequate Funding in Special Education. David believes his professional achievements reflect his family, employers, mentors, and teammates’ exemplary support and inspiration.