Tom Upchurch, a Georgia native from Bowdon, has devoted his life to education through many leadership and volunteer roles. His career spans experience as a classroom teacher, an elementary and high school principal, and a system superintendent.
Tom’s leadership in education reform has been recognized by serving in the following roles: Member, Georgia State Board of Education; Chair, Georgia’s Closing the Achievement Gap Commission; Chair, Gov. Roy Barnes’ Education Reform Implementation Task Force; Co-Founder, Georgia’s Leadership Institute for School Improvement; Chair, Accountability Committee, Gov. Roy Barnes’ Education Study Commission; Gov. Zell Miller’s Task Force for Teacher’s Pay for Performance; Co-Founder, Next Generation School project; Member, Georgia’s P-16Council; Georgia’s Blue Ribbon Funding Commission for Education; Gov. Zell Miller’s Task on Education Information and Technology and on Education Funding. Currently, Tom is President Emeritus of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. In this organization, he has helped establish a liaison among business, government and education leaders who share a commitment to improving education.
As a community volunteer, Tom’s service has been widespread. He is Chair of the Community Foundation of West Georgia and a Trustee of the University of West Georgia Foundation. He has served on the Board of Directors for Georgia Humanities Council, KidsPeace Georgia, Georgia Humanities Council, Georgia Business Forum, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Association for Year-Round Schools and Tanner Medical Center.
Tom obtained a two-year associate’s degree from West Georgia in 1959, followed by a BA in history in 1961. He then pursued a M.Ed from the University of Chattanooga and an Ed.S degree from the University of Georgia. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree by Mercer University. Other noteworthy honors are Service to Mankind Award, 1991 Citizen of the Year by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Education Award, and the Fulbright Distinguished Service Award.
Tom and his wife, Patsy Hand Upchurch, reside in Bowdon. They have two children and three grandchildren.