Tom Addington, the Superintendent of the Central Union School District, has been selected as the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region XI Administrator of the Year.
Addington was recognized with the award at the Region XI luncheon in Bakersfield earlier this month.
The ACSA serves more than 18,000 California educators and puts its priority on advocating for public school students in kindergarten through grade 12 as well as adult learners.
Addington said he was humbled by the award since it was his staff who nominated him.
“For me, the greatest honor is the support that ACSA provides to the students,” Addington said. “It is wonderful to be recognized with colleagues from throughout the region and it is also great to have some of our regional ward honorees receive state recognition.”
Addington began his career in education in 1990 as a school psychologist with the Fresno County Office of Education before moving to the Hanford Elementary School District the following year.
In 1998, he became the assistant principal and district coordinator of special education with Central Union. He served as the district’s assistant superintendent from 2002-2012 before taking over as superintendent.
Jeffrey Gilcrease, the Central Union board president said CUSD serves a diverse population that includes agricultural areas, military families and an Indian reservation. The district consists of four schools, including two on Naval Air Station Lemoore.
“Tom has met this challenge with skill and grace,” Gilcrease said.
Addington said he was the most proud of the area the district serves and that it’s a team effort.
“Central has a great staff of people committed to student success,” Addington said. “We are a team and work together as a group to provide a fantastic educational experience for our students.”
Central Union Principal Nancy Davis said Addington always puts students first and has a hands-on approach that makes a difference.
“He makes an effort to be at the school sites and to be involved,” Davis said. “He fully supports the students. I’ve seen him write messages to students and just go out of his way. If we walked onto the campus and you asked a student “who is that?” I don’t think there’s a single kid who wouldn’t know who he is.”
Addington is a member of the executive leadership board for the Central Valley Education Coalition and an active member of the ACSA at the charter, regional and state levels. Most recently, Addington served as vice president of legislative action for ACSA Region XI. Addington is also a member of the Military Impacted School Association, the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools and is a board member of the California Association of Federally Impacted Schools.
Davis said all those connections Addington makes help the students.
“He does whatever it takes to provide for the students,” Davis said. “He’s very clear about his vision for the district. He makes sure our goals as educators are that we are building students who can be lifelong learners and that they have the tools to live in a changing world. I enjoy working with him. He’s always there for support.”
Davis said Addington helps create a learning community where hopefully all students can find success.
“(Tom) understands it takes a whole community to make that work,” Davis said. “He knows it takes the teachers, the bus drivers, the instructional aides to make an experience where students want to be learners. We’re all advocates for the students.”
Addington said one of the things the district does is try to help students use modern technology.
“We work to give children a true 21st century education,” Addington said. “And provide the foundational building blocks for students to move into high school.”
Addington said he believes in the district’s mission statement to challenge staff to be better than they think they can be.
“To me, this is what education is all about,” Addington said. “The challenge, the continual pursuit of knowledge. How can we be better? How can we reach every student? How can we extend the learning for our children? How can we develop stronger community partnerships with our families? It’s a never ending quest.
“We can always be better, celebrate the victories and the accomplishments but look to the new challenge to continue to refine our practice and our implementation. We have to make it count for our students.”