What A Wonderful World

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
-Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World
As we celebrate Tom’s birthday today- its fitting to highlight his favorite song. For as long as I could remember anytime What a Wonderful World comes on the radio, Tom closes his eyes and hums the lyrics. Its his “take you to another place” song. He has every recording and version available on iTunes. No matter how bad or stressful the day is its the type of song that can make you stop and evaluate your surroundings. “We have it pretty darn good”, Tom usually says when a song like that ends. Music can give you great perspective.
Here’s a few other things you might not know about Tom:
1. His substantial iTunes library is mostly filled with what he refers to as “whiny chick” music. His ideal playlist involves Patti Griffin, Natalie Merchant, Norah Jones and of course some version of What a Wonderful World.
2. When he’s in Seattle, his days revolve around a tide chart. He anxiously references the app on his phone and plans his schedule around the best time for beach walks.
3. He could live off cheap red wine, salty green olives, Manchego cheese and crackers.
But most of all, Tom is totally and completely obsessed with education. He wakes up with a passion for education so rich that it inspires people around him. Tom won’t relax until every student has access to a quality education. Its not just a career to him, its his life. Happy Birthday Tom!

Caroline Vander Ark

Caroline is President of Getting Smart.

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Bryan Setser

Happy birthday brother. I often tell people who ask me why did I leave such a great job for a chance to work with you....simply this...he inspires me every day to want to equal his passion for the kind of world we all want our kids to live in. Enjoy your family on a well deserved rest.


Great word Caroline!  Tom is one of a kind and a true inspiration to so many of us. This wonderful world in a better place with him in it.  Happy Birthday Tom!

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