Press Release from the Ohio DD Council

Governor John Kasich Appoints New Chair to Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council

April 9, 2018 (Columbus, OH) – Governor John Kasich has appointed Joanna Spargo as the new chairperson to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council). Spargo, of North Canton, OH, begins her service to promote equal opportunities for the statewide disability community.

Joanna Spargo
Ohio DD Council Chair

picture of DD Council's new chairperson, Jo Spargo

The Malone University alumna started her work in the disability field right after college. As a social worker, she started helping people with developmental disabilities move into apartments in the local community. She built her career with REM Ohio, and now is the executive director of the State-wide provider agency that offers an array of services for people with disabilities, job seekers facing employment challenges, and individuals with other complex needs.

Leading a provider agency, Spargo wants to bring attention to the Direct Support Provider (DSP) crisis in Ohio. Understanding and bringing value to DSPs is one of the many things she would like to achieve while on the Council.

Adding to her many roles, Spargo is also a mother of two children, one who has disabilities. Becoming a parent opened up a new world for Spargo, which empowers her advocacy even more for parents of children with disabilities.

“It’s a whole different world and parents are navigating this alone,” she said. “This experience with my son brought to light many issues that parents go through, and how we can support them in various areas such as healthcare, education, and more.” 

Through her diverse roles and experience, she hopes to support Ohio DD Council’s great work, but also continue to enhance collaboration and outreach to areas that are in need of services. She wants to use this platform to make sure underserved and unserved communities are also heard and represented well.

“We want to tap into our Council’s resources and reach across Ohio to those underserved and unserved areas. What connections do our members, advocates, or families have and how can we work together to make sure everyone’s voice is heard?”

There is amazing energy in the Council, and we are going to continue collaborating to see how we can keep expanding our impact across the State,” added Spargo.

“We welcome Joanna with her extensive knowledge of the needs and abilities of those with disabilities,” said Carolyn Knight, executive director of Ohio DD Council. “Her professional experience as well as her strong advocacy for her children is invaluable as the Council continues to foster full community inclusion of those with developmental disabilities in Ohio.”

About The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council:

The mission of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council (Ohio DD Council) is to create change that improves independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life. The Ohio DD Council is one of a national network of state councils, committed to self-determination and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. The Ohio DD Council advocates for people with developmental disabilities and their families; initiates programs that enrich their lives; demonstrates a consistent commitment to our mission; and educates about disability rights and the importance of self-determination. Learn more at