Thomas "Tommy" Richard Smigiel, Jr., is a lifetime resident of Norfolk and was raised in the Ocean View and Bayview sections of Ward 5. An award winning educator, Tommy has dedicated his professional career to helping the children of Norfolk be successful in school and their personal lives. Tommy was recognized as the 2007 Norfolk Teacher of the Year and subsequently was selected as the 2008 Virginia Teacher of the Year and then was selected as a finalist for National Teacher of the Year.
Tommy Smigiel attended St. Pius X Catholic Primary School and graduated from Norview High School. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Old Dominion University, and later returned to school to earn a Master's Degree in School Administration. While attending Old Dominion University, he served as Student Body President and was recognized for his leadership and vision by being named Student Leader of the Year, and was a finalist for the distinguished Kaufman Prize. Tommy returned to his alma mater Norview, and taught Science and Leadership for eight years. He helped increase pass rates on state tests from 29% to 85%. For his work, he was recognized as Norfolk Public School’s Science Teacher of the Year. In 2005, he developed a program to help at-risk 9th graders stay in school, which was successful and raised the promotion rate. Tommy was an Assistant Principal at Granby High School from 2008-2010 and Lake Taylor High School from 2010-2011. He is currently an Assistant Principal at Granby High School.
Smigiel understood at a young age the importance of giving back to the community. As a teenager he volunteered during the summer at Tarrallton Recreation Center, and coordinated fundraisers for Operation Smile and the Northside Community Park Playground. He was recognized by the Knights of Columbus with the Young Man of the Year award.
Tommy continued his service to the community as an officer and board member of both the West and East Ocean View Civic Leagues. As a member of the East Ocean View Civic League he coordinated neighborhood clean-ups and edited and designed the community newsletter and web site. Because of his activism, Tommy was appointed by City Council to the Norfolk Environmental Commission and is active in promoting a cleaner, environmentally friendly city.
In 2007, after a gang mob attack in his neighborhood, Tommy worked with his neighbors to coordinate a town hall forum which drew over 500 citizens. These efforts helped East Ocean View get selected as a Project Focus neighborhood. Tommy has helped organize and fundraise for Norfolk's Relay for Life. His students have been inspired to get involved as well, raising thousands of dollars and volunteering countless hours to Norfolk charities.
Tommy was elected to City Council on May 4, 2010, assuming office on July 1. Presently he co-chairs the Health, Education and Families Sub-committee of the Council and also serves on the Communities and Public Safety Sub-committee. He also co-chairs the East Little Creek Road Business Association and the Mayor’s Ocean View Task Force. He is an appointed member to the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.
Tommy also serves as a board member on the Old Dominion University Darden College of Education Advisory Committee. Tommy was recently honored by the Norfolk Jaycees as an Honorary Member. Tommy is also a member of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government.
His wife Shannon is a Norfolk Public School’s Elementary School Guidance Counselor, and they have two daughters, Devin and Erin. Their home is in East Ocean View.