Tom Armstrong ’70 found his mission early, serving persons with developmental disabilities and has made it his life’s work.
While at SHS, Tom served as a member of Student Council and was its president his senior year while also serving on his Class Executive Committee. He also represented SHS at Buckeye Boys State. Tom played several sports in high school including football and, as a player for head coach Bill Wilkins, was a member of two undefeated Northern Ohio League title teams.
After high school, Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in public administration, both at The Ohio State University. While working his way through school, he accepted his first career position through the OSU Nisonger Center, working with individuals with developmental disabilities who resided at the Columbus Developmental Center, a state-operated institution. Says Tom, ”The work absolutely captured my interest and commitment and became my life’s mission.”
In a career that has spanned forty years, Tom has served as Assistant Executive Director for Goodwill Industries of Columbus; Assistant Superintendent for the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities; Superintendent for the Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities; and Superintendent for the Columbus Developmental Center. He also was Executive Director for the Ohio MRDD Services Group, providing legislative services and technical assistance to all (88) Ohio county developmental disabilities boards. Since May of 2001, Tom has served as Superintendent for the Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which annually serves over 4,000 children and adults and their families. Observes a fellow alum, ”Tom’s work with people with developmental disabilities clearly has taught him much about facing adversity, the resilience of the human spirit and what it means to be part of a larger, diverse community.”
Tom has remained connected to the Shelby Community and for the last three years has served as the President of the SHS Alumni Association. He is also a member of the Shelby Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 763.
Nominator: Mike Johnson ’63