Tom Changnon was elected Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools in November, 2006 and sworn into office on January 9, 2007. As Superintendent, he oversees the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) with a staff of 940 and a budget of over $227 million. SCOE provides direct instructional programs and support services to the 25 school districts in Stanislaus County. This includes 190 schools and over 106,920 students. The office also provides regional programs and services in a seven-county area.
A graduate of Stanford University, Changnon was drafted by the Houston Astros professional baseball organization following college. He played minor league ball for two years before an arm injury ended his pitching career. It was a local high school principal that led him into teaching through a baseball coaching position. According to Changnon, the rest is history. “I knew after being around young people that I wanted to pursue a career in education,” he said.
Changnon began his teaching career 40 years ago at Fremont High School and shortly after moved to the Central Valley to begin teaching at Beyer High School. Through the years he taught Economics, Government, American History, and served as Activities Director. He also taught Special Education classes to students with a wide range of developmental challenges. Changnon continued to coach baseball and basketball during his teaching career, and also did a stint as a professional baseball scout with the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels organizations.
Although he enjoyed the classroom, Changnon eventually entered the field of school administration and held positions as Assistant Principal, Principal, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent of the Keyes Union School District. Under his leadership the Keyes District passed two school bonds, and built a new state-of-the-art middle school. In partnership with the County Office, they were also able to build a new Head Start facility and implement the first-ever Head Start program in the district.
Changnon is known as an innovative thinker and was tapped to serve on the initial California Department of Education Charter School Committee. He was also responsible for creating charter schools in the Keyes area which have been recognized statewide as outstanding schools.
Since taking office in 2007, Changnon has championed Civics Education, Character Development, Parent Involvement and Career/Technical Education programs in the County. He has led a two-year county-wide campaign to improve student attendance (Every Day Counts), with 17 school districts improving attendance rates the first year and an additional 10 the second year. He also led a two-year county-wide campaign focused on health and fitness issues called, "Fit for the Future." This campaign was lauded by the Governor's office as a model for the state and Stanislaus County was named "County of the Year" in the Governor's Fitness Challenge two years in a row. From 2010-2013 Changnon focused on promoting the importance of civility in a world becoming less civil and continues to encourage students, parents and community members to choose positive and respectful behaviors in their personal and work lives. The county-wide effort was called, "Choose Civility" which spread to seven other counties! Changnon is focused on increasing graduation rates in Stanislaus County and led this focus through an initiative called "Destination Graduation." The initiative, in place for five years, saw graduation rates increase. Destination Graduation has expanded and the next step is a move to “Cradle to Career,” focused on helping a child from infancy through college and/or to a career. The County Office has also been appointed as one of the leads of the Governor’s Arts Initiative.
Changnon holds two Master’s Degrees and has received numerous awards including the Association of California School Administrators Bill Ullom Award in 2004 and Region 7 "Superintendent of the Year" Award in 2010. On January 27, 2018, he received the Robert J. Cardoza Citizen of the Year/Lifetime Achievement award. Changnon serves on a number of local, regional, and state committees. He is also currently a member of the Workforce Alliance Board, Stanislaus Partners in Education, and serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County.
Tom Changnon resides in Modesto with Dianne, his wife of 40 years. Dianne retired after 39 years as a middle school teacher. They have two adult children, Garrett and Gabrielle, who are both teachers, and three grandchildren.