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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #23-79
October 11, 2023
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Receives Professional Excellence Award for Exceptional Work in Education

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond was honored on Saturday, October 7, with the Excellence Award for exceptional work in education. This award was given to Superintendent Thurmond by the youth mentoring nonprofit organization, 100 Black Men of the Inland Empire, at their 7th Annual Gala for his efforts helping African American and underserved communities in the school system and his ongoing work at the California Department of Education (CDE) to address opportunity gaps.

“It is a great honor to be recognized with the Excellence Award for exceptional work in education by the 100 Black Men of the Inland Empire,” said Thurmond. “It’s also an honor and my mission to serve California schools and all our communities. I look forward to continuing my work collaborating with educators and communities across the state to ensure every student receives opportunities and the quality education they deserve.”

The 100 Black Men of America is a youth mentoring organization with chapters throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Virgin Islands. The Inland Empire chapter is dedicated to improving the quality of life and enhancing educational and economic opportunities for youth. It has established mentoring programs for middle school students in Riverside and a Saturday Academy for youth to be mentored while learning about STEAM topics and other essentials of growing up.

This award follows a number of other prestigious awards in recent months. Last month, Thurmond was awarded the President’s Award by the Urban League of Greater San Francisco Bay Area for going beyond the call of duty for African Americans and underserved communities and for his ongoing work at the CDE. In August, Superintendent Thurmond was awarded the Children’s Champion Award by LA’s BEST, an after school enrichment program. The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. awarded Thurmond a Distinguished Service Award in May. Superintendent Thurmond received the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 16 Leadership Award for service to the children of California and the Educator of the Year Award from the Loyola Marymount University School of Education for his transformative contributions to the field of education while advocating for more equitable opportunities for future generations. He also received the Excellence in Leadership Award from one of the state’s premier financial literacy organizations, the California Council on Economic Education, for his tireless efforts to promote personal finance education.

Superintendent Thurmond has made transforming California schools his priority. His vision and leadership secured 10,000 mental health counselors for schools and billions of dollars for wraparound services to support the whole child through community schools. Superintendent Thurmond is leading an effort to ensure reading by third grade for all students by 2026, and he has established the first statewide teacher recruitment effort, with a public service announcement and a one-stop information and referral system to help connect teacher candidates to scholarships, credentialing programs, and employers with current vacancies. He is also leading a statewide effort to provide a graduation requirement in personal finance for students.

Throughout his tenure, Superintendent Thurmond has fought for all students. He has launched initiatives to close opportunity gaps for African American and Latino students, English learners, students with disabilities, foster and homeless youth, and students from low-income backgrounds. He is leading efforts to provide transitional kindergarten for every four-year-old and universal meals to all students—free meals for every student regardless of ability to pay.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 11, 2023
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