A nationally recognized advocate for public education, Tom Gentzel is committed to promoting sound state and federal policies that advance learning opportunities and educational access for every child through effective school board governance. A former CEO of national and statewide associations, he has written extensively on education, school governance and nonprofit leadership issues, and has been a keynoter and presenter in nearly 40 states, four Canadian provinces and London, England.
Gentzel led the National School Boards Association (NSBA) as its Executive Director and CEO for nearly eight years. Headquartered in the Washington DC metro area, NSBA is a federation of 49 state school boards associations that advocates on behalf of the locally elected and appointed officials who govern the nation’s 13,000 public school districts. In June 2020, he retired from NSBA, having been honored by the association’s Board of Directors, which named him Executive Director and CEO Emeritus.
Tom Gentzel’s career has been dedicated to public education and the students it serves. He capped more than three-decades at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) by serving as its Executive Director for 11 years, after previously leading PSBA’s advocacy efforts as head of its Governmental and Member Relations Department.
Gentzel was named one of 20 national education Thought Leaders by Trust Ed in 2017. He is a former chair of the Learning First Alliance (a coalition of 11 of the country’s leading education organizations), and is a recipient of the Edward Donley Award from the Education Policy and Leadership Center. He has been interviewed by ABC News, the Washington Post, U.S. World & News Report, National Public Radio, Good Morning America, the Associated Press, Politico, and Education Week, among many others.
Gentzel earned Bachelor of Science in Community Development and Master of Public Administration degrees from The Pennsylvania State University. He is a former member of the university’s Outreach Advisory Board, delivered the 2017 Commencement Address to its College of Education and was recipient of the college’s 2018 Service to Penn State Award.
In 2020, he founded Gentzel Insights LLC as a means of continuing his service to public education and nonprofit leadership, through public speaking, writing, training and consulting – providing a unique perspective drawn from four decades of interacting and working directly with thousands of local school officials across the country, advocating for sound education policies in Congress, federal agencies and state legislatures, and heading major national and statewide organizations.