Superintendent Thurmond is an educator, social worker, and public school parent who has served Californians for more than 15 years in elected office. Previously, he served on the Richmond City Council, the West Contra Costa Unified School Board, and in the California State Assembly representing District 15.
Like many of California’s public school students, Superintendent Thurmond came from humble beginnings. His mother was an immigrant from Panama who came to San Jose, California, to be a teacher. His father was a soldier who did not return to his family after the Vietnam War. After his mother died when he was six, Thurmond and his brother were raised by a cousin whom they had never met.
Superintendent Thurmond’s family relied on public assistance programs and great public schools to get out of poverty. Public school education allowed him to attend Temple University, where he became student body president. He went on to earn dual master’s degrees in law and social policy and social work (MSW) from Bryn Mawr College and began a career dedicated to service.
Much of Superintendent Thurmond’s social service work has focused on improving the services provided to foster youth and directing programs that provide job training to at-risk youth. He also led programs that provide help for individuals with developmental disabilities. He has 12 years of direct experience in education, teaching life skills classes, after school programs, and career training.