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THOMAS F. (TOM) DAMON

Palo Alto Unified School District,
Director of Adult Education, 1967 - 1982
Principal, Cubberley Adult School, 1958 - 1967

California State Department of Education,
Consultant, Bureau of Adult Education, 1957 - 1958

Los Gatos Unified School District,
Principal, Los Gatos Evening High School, 1954 - 1957

National Association for Public Continuing and Adult Education,
President, 1978 - 1979

Association of California School Administrators,
Adult Education Chair, 1973 - 1976

Santa Clara County Office of Education,
Consultant in Adult and Vocational Education, 1966 - 1969

University of California Extension, San Jose State University Extension,
Instructor of Classes in Adult Education, 1959 - 1970

Audio file

National professional organizations (NAPCAE/AAACE)

Excerpt from an interview with:
THOMAS F. DAMON by CUBA Z. MILLER
December 8, 1994
Los Altos Hills, California

DAMON:
And I think also at the federal level, the national level, NAPCAE [National Association for Public Continuing and Adult Education, pronounced NAP-GEE] has been the spokesman in Washington for any legislation that resulted in monies for basic education and English as a second language monies flowing from Washington to the local districts.

MILLER:
One of the first memories I have of you [chuckling] is encouraging NAPCAE membership. I'm sure that at the very first meeting that I went to as an adult educator that you were there encouraging us to join NAPCAE.

DAMON:
I think my favorite line was, "It's your voice in Washington; and if you're not a member, you ought to be." I recall one of my predecessors, and I guess you'd have to say that this man was kind of a mentor, this was Ted Goldman of San Francisco. I think it was he who first proposed my name as a part of the NAPCAE Board of Directors. That was shortly after I came to Palo Alto, and it would have been in the middle '60s sometime. But he used to speak about NAPCAE, his favorite organization, and he did become president of NAPCAE. He was, unfortunately, killed in an automobile accident during the height of his career.

MILLER:
That's always hard to [take]. California has offered a lot of national leadership to NAPCAE and AAACE [pronounced triple A-C-E] which followed it. Why don't you just kind of give us a rundown of Californians and their contributions to the national level, and if there's anything about the national conferences out here that you might want to say something about?

DAMON:
Well, our national organization that [historically] relates directly to adult education most directly has been the National Association for Public Continuing and Adult Education. Although there was a name change, it was originally founded as the National Association for Public School Adult Education, NAPSAE; and to be more inclusive and to include the community colleges, they changed it to NAPCAE.

MILLER:
Yes.

DAMON:
And I think the very first president of that group was Manfred Evans when he was Assistant Superintendent for Adult Education in the Los Angeles District. And I don't have the years here, but one of his successors was Ted Goldman.

MILLER:
The man from San Francisco.

DAMON:
From San Francisco. And then there were two others from Los Angeles in fact, three others through the years. There was J. Richard Smith, Dick Smith, who was Assistant Superintendent for Adult Ed there for awhile. Then there was a [Los Angeles] principal whose name I can't think of at the moment [Bob Schenz], who was the president in the early '60s. And then there was Jud [Judson] Bradshaw from San Diego. There was Ray [Raymond T.] McCall, who was from San Jose, who served as president of a great many organizations in California, CCAE and CAAEA, and then finally NAPCAE. And then I served in that role in 1970 and '80.

MILLER:
When was NAPCAE organized?

DAMON:
NAPCAE was organized about [1952-53].

MILLER:
So, in point of fact, California really dominated the leadership in its early years.

DAMON:
In its early years, and I think all of us served on the board before becoming active in the … as president. In '79-80, I think my year was '78-79, and I was followed by Bob [Robert] Rupert of Los Angeles in 1979-80, and I guess he was the last Californian to serve in that position.