Skip Navigation


Pepperdine News and Events

Superintendent Advisory Council Names Dr. Tom Johnstone Superintendent of the Year

Tom Johnstone was named superintendent of the yearThe GSEP Superintendent Advisory Council has named Tom Johnstone, EdD, superintendent of the Wiseburn School District, as the 2013 GSEP Superintendent of the Year.

Johnstone assumed the helm of the Wiseburn School District in 2008, after more than 28 years of service in the Lennox School District where he launched his education career as a middle school social studies teacher. He went on to assume roles as a school counselor, an elementary assistant principal and principal, a director of curriculum, and ten years as the assistant superintendent of human resources.

“I love working in the field of education, and every day of my 33 year career plays an impact on my role as a superintendent,” said Dr. Johnstone. “I feel like the luckiest man in the world, as I continue to work in the wonderful Wiseburn community in taking education here to an even higher level of excellence.”

Johnstone’s nomination for the annual award came from GSEP Emeritus Professor of Education, Diana Hiatt-Michael, EdD, who oversaw Johnstone’s doctoral dissertation in 1997.

“I have nothing but superlatives to share regarding Johnstone’s leadership capability and commitment to the education of every child,” said Hiatt-Michael in her nomination letter. “He expects the best from everyone and they deliver because he serves as the role model and supporter.”

Highlights of Johnstone’s achievements:

  • Last year he secured legislation to develop a unified high school district and purchased land to build a high school
  • As assistant superintendent in the Lennox School District, the district saw many students accepted into top universities throughout the country including Harvard
  • Doctoral dissertation on parent involvement in school has been cited by numerous researchers and policymakers and was the basis of national parent involvement legislation and grants

Johnstone earned his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Santa Clara, a master’s degree in Latin American History from UCLA and a master’s degree in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University. He received a doctorate in Institutional Management in 1997 from Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

Nominees were evaluated based on how well they demonstrated success in the following six areas: visionary leadership, instructional leadership, family and community involvement, ethical leadership and building leadership capacity, organizational management, and advocacy.

The Superintendent Advisory Council is a consortium of state superintendents who gather four times a year for training, advocacy, and discourse regarding issues related to education. The superintendents also advise GSEP on teacher credentialing, administrative training, and master’s and doctoral programs.

GSEP established the "Urban Initiative" to develop a national model for preparing education and mental health professionals for long-term work in culturally diverse and underserved urban communities.