In California, if a situation in a school district is controversial, complex, or critical the one person most superintendents call is Tom DeLapp. Since 1996 when he founded his firm, Tom has served as communications counsel for over 400 school districts in California. He has conducted over1,500 workshops across the country, training nearly 250,000 educators on effective communications, community engagement, and media relations.
Tom has helped school districts successfully communicate through sex scandals, budget cuts, ten teacher strikes, collective bargaining impasse situations, numerous campus shootings, bond campaigns, school closures, employee misconduct, health scares, marketing/branding concerns, student deaths, and curriculum battles. He has conducted communication audits and developed communication plans for over 50 school districts. Tom successfully dealt with controversial situations involving transgender students and teachers, including national media attention over the election of a transgender homecoming queen. The recognized “Master of Disaster”, Tom travels nearly 10,000 miles a month helping school districts enhance their communication capabilities.
A veteran of the communications industry with over 40 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, Tom DeLapp draws on a wealth of expertise and a national reputation as one of the premier school public relations professionals in the country. Mr. DeLapp is a highly sought after keynote speaker and workshop presenter on communication and education trends.
Professional Experience, Expertise, & Excellence
Executive Director for Membership/Communications, Association of California School Administrators. During his tenure with ACSA, Tom worked in all of California’s 58 counties and met with every one of ACSA’s 200+ local charters and regions. He traveled over 500,000 miles within California meeting with school district leaders, local association chapters, and educational organizations.
Founding partner of Pacific Communications Group, a public affairs communication and publishing firm in Sacramento. His company served clients in the public and private sectors, including state agencies, trade and professional associations, lobbyists, businesses, and the California Legislature.
Mr. DeLapp is a product of the public schools in Los Angeles, graduating from Westchester High School in 1969. He received his undergraduate degree in 1973 in American History from the University of California, Irvine, where he served as student body president and chairman of the statewide UC Student Body Presidents Council. Mr. DeLapp received the “Lauds & Laurels” Outstanding Senior Award from UC Irvine in 1973. He is a former director of the University of California Student Lobby (1973-75). Tom later served as General Manager of California Research (a capitol-based consulting firm).
Tom married his high school sweetheart Jan, who is a professor of early childhood education at American River College in Sacramento. As a state-level consultant, she has been an instrumental leader in integrating standardized competencies into a fully aligned ECE curriculum for the California Community Colleges and CSU systems. Their daughter Kathryn is a graduate of the Hartt School of Performing Arts at the University of Hartford in Connecticut and received her Master’s Degree in Theater Education from CCNY in 2013. She is a high school drama teacher in the Dublin Unified School District. Their son Kevin earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and was awarded his PhD from Duke University in 2006. He is now a tenured Professor of Philosophy at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Recently, Tom has stepped up to help cultivate and grow education foundations in California. Since 2009, he has served Vice President for the California Consortium of Education Foundations. Tom helped create the Rocklin Educational Excellence Foundation supporting his community’s public school system, and has served for six years as its first chairman.
In 2004, Tom DeLapp was recognized as Outstanding Communicator of the Year by CalSPRA. In 2006, he was awarded NSPRA’s Barry Gaskins Legacy Mentor Award recognizing his many contributions to and support for his school public relations colleagues. In 2013, he was the recipient of the President’s Award, NSPRA’s most prestigious recognition for lifetime contributions to the school public relations profession.
Tom served as President of NSPRA from 2017 to 2018.
Tom is the 2106 recipient of the Ferd. Kiesel Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Association of California School Administrators, for exceptional contributions to public education in California.