In 1958, Robert Shushan was a Los Angeles high school teacher with hopes of joining the administrative ranks when his sister disrupted his plans.
She belonged to a grass-roots parents group that wanted to provide an alternative to institutionalization for children like her son, who was born with profound intellectual disabilities. But the group was broke and falling apart. Would Shushan consider taking charge as its first executive director?
He thought he would help out temporarily, but he wound up guiding the Exceptional Children's Foundation to the forefront of its field over the next 40 years.
Under his leadership, the Culver City-based nonprofit pioneered programs to...