Modoc County Superintendent  Tom O'Malley


Contact: Corrie Pelc
Phone: 916-662-7213

Modoc County Superintendent Wins State-Wide Annual Award

Tom O’Malley, superintendent of Modoc Joint Unified School District, named 2021 Superintendent of the Year

SACRAMENTO, CA, March 2021 – The California Small School Districts' Association (SSDA) is proud to announce that Tom O’Malley, superintendent of Modoc Joint Unified School District (MJUSD) in Alturas, CA, recently received the 2021 Binderup Superintendent of the Year Award, during SSDA’s Virtual 2021 Annual Conference earlier this month.

"MJUSD had set a goal to return to school on time and offer in person instruction to all of our students every day, and to date that has been achieved," said O'Malley. "For me, this award recognizes all of the members of the MJUSD team who put our students first and who did everything necessary to keep us open. To do what we have done this year takes a team effort, and I am truly blessed to be surrounded by amazing people."

"I am honored that SSDA has selected me for this recognition," O'Malley continued. "I am in frequent meetings with several SSDA superintendents, and I know how hard everyone is working on behalf of their students. This award at this time is an incredible honor and I could not be more appreciative."

O'Malley began his journey at MJUSD as a student, attending Alturas Elementary School, Modoc Junior High School (now Modoc Middle School) and graduating from Modoc High School. Starting his education career as a mathematics teacher, O’Malley returned to Alturas in 2005 as Assistant Principal of Modoc High School, working up to Principal and then Superintendent of MJUSD in 2013. O’Malley has also ingrained himself into his community as Assistant Chief of the Alturas City Fire Department and former chair of the Sacred Heart Parish Pastoral Council.

"Tom epitomizes true leadership in all aspects that are needed of a Small School District Superintendent: integrity, student centered, trusted, great sense of humor and fearless," said Tim Taylor, Executive Director of SSDA. "SSDA represents 539 small school districts throughout California and for Tom to be awarded the SSDA State Superintendent of the Year is a recognition of Modoc Joint Unified and all of Modoc County."

"Tom has elevated his leadership role into State level issues, while maintaining his focus on students and the Modoc Joint Unified School District," said Mike Martin, superintendent of Modoc County Office of Education.

Established in 1990, this award recognizes an individual Small School District Association (SSDA) member superintendent who has, over a significant period, made an outstanding contribution to small school district leadership and management. The award is made in the name of Charles Binderup, who was an outstanding small school district superintendent in California.

The purpose of the SSDA Binderup Award is to honor a small school district superintendent who through individual leadership and sustained effort has made worthy contributions to the operation of a small school district and to advancing the role of small school district superintendents in the educational arena and in the community. The award also recognizes the responsible and influential role of a small school district leader in developing successful school environment and helps stimulate the replication of small school district best practices and programs.

About Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA)

The California Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA) is California’s leading organization in terms of addressing, supporting, and lobbying on issues specific to the unique needs of small school districts. The mission of the Small School Districts’ Association is to provide relevant information and proactive assistance to small school district governing boards and superintendents through legislative advocacy, collaboration, professional development, and support services. To learn more, visit