Tom Topping's
Unique Qualifications

What makes me uniquely qualified?

I believe I am uniquely qualified for a seat on this board based my experience and education. I have been a teacher, coach, and a district level administrator. I have led non-profits and I started my own business. I am prepared and ready to help this district face the unprecedented challenges of a post-COVID-19 educational system. Please feel free to read more about my extensive career in education and as an entrepreneur below.

I would be honored to represent District 1 – At Large on the Pinellas County School Board because I believe in providing a quality education for all Pinellas County students that will prepare them for college, career, and life. I am committed to ensuring equity, access, choice, and academic rigor for every student across the District. I am a firm advocate of safer schools, bridging the achievement gap, and putting students and teachers first.

As an Entrepreneur

Tom Topping is a professional speaker and employee engagement expert with a master’s degree in human resources management. He has spent his career transforming teams and training individuals for some of the largest organizations in the United States. He created his company, Training Perfected, in 2018 dedicated to helping his clients maximize performance and happiness.

His professional contributions in education and business have been described as innovative, unique, pioneering, daring, and out-of-the-box. He has led large-scale pilot programs in performance management, re-envisioned an entire human resources department, and managed the implementation of a $5 million educational grant.

As a distinguished member of the local business community, Tom currently serves as a District Director for HR Florida. He was named the HR Florida “Chapter President of the Year” in 2017 for his service to SuncoastHR, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) affiliate chapter of Pinellas County.

As a Human Capital Partner

Tom provided comprehensive human resource services for the District’s Southwest Region, driving the growth of quality human capital through assessing needs, then creating, recommending, and implementing talent management processes, tools, resources, and solutions that aligned with District strategic goals and plans. He created and implemented new hiring practices and systems to support the management of the extensive substitute teaching staff. He also served as the primary contact for all strategic talent functions, including overseeing support staff.

  • Reduced opening day teaching vacancies from over 200 in 2015 to fewer than 90 in 2017.
  • Condensed time to hire substitute teachers from 2.5 months to 2 weeks.
  • Increased total number of substitutes from 600 to 1,400 in two years, while simultaneously increasing hiring standards.
  • Expanded District brand awareness, impacting the recruitment of diverse, high quality candidates through social media accounts.
  • Developed and managed exit interviews for all District employees and reporting process to support recommendations for retention strategies.
  • Conducted school visits and face-to-face interactions to gain an understanding of human capital needs.
  • Represented organization at numerous job fairs to recruit staff for critical shortage areas and participated in planning local job fairs for partner schools.

As a Teacher/coach

During his time as a teacher and coach in Pinellas County, Tom worked in several schools throughout the District. He taught in the Dropout Prevention program at Dixie Hollins and Seminole high schools. He also served as the head boys basketball coach at each school. He taught physical education at Carwise and Osceola middle schools.

Prior to moving to Pinellas, Tom experienced teaching and coaching in other Florida school districts. He taught in Marion, Dixie, and Pasco County Schools. His teaching duties in those districts included students from Pre-K to high school and encompassed exceptional student education, physical education, and screen writing.

Tom got his start in education shortly after graduating from Stetson University in Deland and accepted a position with the men’s basketball team as an assistant coach. After three years in that role he accepted a position as an assistant coach at Central Florida Community College (Central Florida College) in Ocala.

Tom has been a trusted leader and colleague at every stop along the way. He was well liked by students, teachers, players, parents, and fellow coaches. He was frequently asked to be an acting administrator and assisted in school activities including prom, Grad Night, school dances, fundraisers, and many other functions. Whatever students, teachers, or administrators needed, Tom was there.

From St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and from the beaches to the bay, Tom Topping diligently served a diverse and unique group of students throughout his years in Pinellas County. Today, he proudly refers to many of his former students and players as friends and colleagues.

As Grant Specialist / Project Manager

Tom managed a $5 million Personalized Learning grant as a collaborative effort between the district, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the New Tech Network, and Personalized Learning, LLC. Due to his strong record of achievement with the District, he was tapped to oversee all facets of the implementation, including establishing and monitoring the project timeline, daily operations, budget, and expenditures. He coordinated the development of staff training to align with the goals of the grant and ensured compliance with all relevant regulations and mandates.

  • Collaborated effectively with staff and officials, including project evaluators, to facilitate achievement of program goals and objectives.
  • Assisted with the development of a competency-based education pilot program approved by Florida legislature.

As Professional Development Specialist

Tom managed the Pinellas Schools appraisal systems for over 8,000 employees, including teachers, non-instructional staff, district-level administrators, principals, and assistant principals He generated reports on performance for administrators and the school board. As part of the Bridging the Gap team designed to increase the success of Pinellas County’s black students, he served as the professional development liaison, while supervising embedded teacher mentors that were assigned to the lowest performing schools. To support the goal of continuous teacher growth he directed the team responsible for managing professional development activities.

  • Managed the implementation of the pilot evaluation system for 21 schools with over 750 teachers in partnership with the Marzano Learning Center and Learning Sciences International.
  • Led the District’s Data Working Group to develop performance accountability measures for three levels of employees under two different systems, meeting state statutory accountability requirements.

As Senior Professional Development Coordinator

Tom helped lead professional learning and development needs for Pinellas County Schools, coordinating common learning goals across the system, conducting needs assessments, and crafting training programs to meet identified needs. He also managed the District-wide Training Day program, an initiative to deliver training opportunities, on a bi-annual basis for 8,000 teachers. He also served as a facilitator of several professional development courses.

  • Served as the Project Manager for the Common Core State Standards Summer Institute, training 5,000 teachers and administrators in the implementation of the standards across the district.
  • Facilitated the Leading the Learning Cadres initiative to embed site-based professional development throughout the District.
  • Led the team that created the new Pinellas Schools Deliberate Practice Plan which was recognized nationally by “Great Schools for Great Teachers.”