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Leadership & Staff

Dr. Thomas G. Maridada, II
National Director of Education Policy, Practice and Strategic Initiatives


Dr. Thomas G. Maridada, II is the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Director of Education Policy, Practice and Strategic Initiatives. Prior to joining CDF, Tom served as superintendent of several urban school districts in Michigan, where he was named “Michigan Superintendent of the Year” by the National Association of School Administrators. He has acted as a “school turn-around specialist” for some of the most challenging schools and districts in the country.

Tom has served as a leader of two national exemplary schools. In 1998, he, along with the administrative staff of his school, were invited to have dinner at the White House to laud the incredible accomplishment of creating a professional learning community that had achieved sustainable, high academic performance in a school that been previously plagued by persistently low student achievement. On the heels of his success as a principal, Tom was asked to co-create and develop a plan at the county level that would raise student achievement in 24 urban schools that were in “corrective action” as defined by No Child Left Behind. The schools that implemented the plan in their first year raised student achievement between 15-35 percent in both reading and/or math. In the second year, many schools experienced between a 20-40 percent increase, meeting AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) and consecutively outperforming schools that had not previously been challenged with raising student achievement. One the schools that used his reform model was featured on Good Morning America and the following year another school was given a commendation for being one of the most improved schools in the state of Michigan.

Tom was given the Innovator Award by CBS Broadcasting for his tireless efforts to raise over 25 million dollars. These monies funded scholarships, extended learning opportunities and the implementation of an Early College Program which allowed students from vulnerable communities to earn an Associates of Arts degree along with their high school diploma. Having been hailed by his students as a giant among men and inducted into Who’s Who in American Teachers numerous times, Tom is humbled by the countless accolades he has received for his commitment to excellence. He was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1993 and 1997. During the administration of the Honorable Coleman Young, Dr. Maridada was given the Spirit of Detroit Award a Key to the City for his renegade spirit and outstanding contribution to the field of education. He has also been honored by several organizations including: the Metropolitan Detroit Youth Foundation, the National Urban League, and the NAACP for his dedication and work with young people.

In addition to his work in schools, he is a member of the American delegation of the International Invitational Seminar on Schooling, which includes senior-level policy makers, academics and educational leaders that study educational equity and access in schools around the world which have included: Switzerland, France, Germany, Portugal and Northern Africa. Tom holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Thomas Maridada
National Director of Education, Policy, Practice and Strategic Initiatives
Children’s Defense Fund
Washington, DC
p (202) 662-3626
e  tmaridada@childrensdefense.org