The Trousdale School, Incorporated, was established in 2005 by Thomas D. Johnson, Judith L. Johnson, and Christin J. Rose. Tom and Judy Johnson’s third child, Sarah, was born with Down Syndrome in the mid 1970s, and after fighting battle after battle in primary and secondary schools to continue her learning experience, she completed her high school certificate. The family looked to find the best “next fit,” and they were discouraged with the lack of options. The foundation of the school was developed to provide an affordable educational experience for Sarah and other high functioning adults with intellectual disabilities that had taken the best from the secondary school experience and wanted to continue to build on that framework. The school was organized as a personal commitment to provide a continued educational experience for high functioning intellectually disabled adults, and to enable them to achieve greater independence, productivity, and improved quality of life.
The school opened first with three students and one teacher in the corporate offices of Health Services Management Group in Cleveland, Tennessee, Mr. Johnson’s primary business as a nursing home management company. As the school grew, it moved to North Cleveland and rented facilities which were subsequently sold by the property owner, so Trousdale School relocated back in Health Services corporate offices, and ultimately leased the Life Center of Asbury United Methodist Church in South Cleveland in 2008. At that time, a purchase option was established with the church, and in spring 2012, Trousdale School purchased Asbury United Methodist Church as a part of its strategic plan to ultimately provide educational and residential services. The school currently serves 26 students from the Cleveland and Chattanooga areas between the ages of 22-55 with eleven staff (including three certified teachers) within a day program.