Before Tom started teaching in 2015, he was an AIDS activist in the 1990s and a community organizer in the poor people’s movement to end poverty in the 2000s. He helped organize day labourers in Baltimore, working with the United Workers Association and the University of the Poor’s School of Labor. He also helped organize early childhood educators in Vancouver, working with the Liberation Learning Project, the Child Care Equity Campaign, and the BCGEU.
Tom was also a communications specialist with the Toronto and York Region Labour Council and a policy advisor with Ontario’s self-regulatory College of Early Childhood Educators. Tom also worked in television and viral video production, helping produce Emmy-winning children’s educational television aired nationally on public television in the United States.
Tom helped organize a hunger strike and has organized mass protest marches, lobbied White House staff under the Obama administration, organized campaigns covered by the New York Times, CBC, and the Toronto Star, helped produce hard-hitting viral videos seen by tens of millions of viewers, and helped secure living wages for day labourers and achieve a gender equitable 20% “pay correction” for early childhood educators.
Tom’s formal education includes a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Vancouver Island University (2019), one year of graduate studies in Human Development and Applied Psychology at the University of Toronto/OISE (2008-2009), a Bachelor of Education in Environmental Education with a focus in Indigenous Perspectives in Education from Simon Fraser University (2014), a Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Langara College (2010), and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Washington (2003).