Tom Colbert was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He attended and graduated from Sapulpa High School.
According to Tulsa World, Colbert attended Eastern Oklahoma State College and earned his Associate degree. Then, he went to Kentucky State University (KSU) and earned his Bachelor of Science degree. During his time at KSU, he was named an All-American in track and field.
Later, he attended Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) to earn his Master of Education degree in 1976. After graduating from EKU, he became an educator in Chicago’s public school system. Colbert earned his Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.
Following his education, he practiced law at Miles-LaGrange & Colbert from 1986 to 1989. He continued under Colbert and Associates from 1989 to 2000.
According to the Oklahoma Civil Justice Council, Colbert became the first African American appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals; he served as Chief Judge. He was appointed by Governor Brad Henry to the Supreme Court of Oklahoma.