Tommie Lindsey - MacArthur Foundation

Our Keynote speaker on March 1 will be Dr. Tommie Lindsey. Dr. Lindsey graduated from the University of San Francisco with a major in Communication Arts and Social Science. Lindsey was a college valedictorian but began his career teaching incarcerated children.  Lindsey recently retired after 41 years as a coach and mentor from James Logan High School's Forensics team in Union City, California. The forensics team at James Logan High School has had unparalleled success, becoming the first school in the history of the National Speech & Debate Association to have won a School of Excellence Award for 19 consecutive years. He has proven that success in speech, school, and life can be achieved by students whom others label as disadvantaged or at risk. 


His philosophy has always been to “recognize that every child has a voice, and to work insatiably to create an environment where they discover the skills necessary to develop it.” Tommie's life and program were not about winning; they were about empowerment. Speech trips visited historical sites like the Holocaust Museum and places in Birmingham where the struggle for Civil Rights met fierce resistance. 


Coach Lindsey produced articulate voices. His goal: “Use your voice as your drum to fight for social justice until equity becomes the rhythm of the land."


Some of his other honors and recognitions include being named California State Teacher of the Year in 1994, being inducted into the MacArthur Fellows program in 2004, and being awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of San Francisco for his "visionary leadership" in 2007. Tommie is also a Hall of Fame inductee for both the NSDA and California High School Speech Association and is a recipient of the Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America award.