Almost 20 years ago, Tom Johnson a former University of Tennessee starting Center, along with his wife, Judy, recognized the need to pursue post-secondary opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities for their daughter, Sarah. The true vision was not just servicing the needs of a group of individuals in Cleveland, Tennessee, but the state’s development of an entire system that one day would help an array of adults with varying disabilities across the state with their continued growth. Along the way legislation had to be created at the state level, and new licensure categories had to be developed for the administrative departments.
With Tom’s leadership, Trousdale School pursued and achieved national accreditation. Learning for Life, the school’s vision statement, is achieved through a persistent reassessment of goals and related small achievements, time after time after time. Not only has Tom made significant financial contributions and strategic business decisions, but he also has committed inordinate amounts of dreams, time, and energy. Without his perseverance and dedication, many may not have had the opportunities to invest in their own successes and growth toward independence.