JFS Elects New Board President

Tom Cytron-Hysom has assumed the board presidency of JFS. “I am deeply honored to be asked to serve in this capacity,” he said. His relationship with JFS goes back many years, including as a consultant, a funder and a board member. “I value the essential work done by the agency, in weaving and maintaining the bonds of community. During this time of upheaval and uncertainty in the Jewish community, it is especially important that we continue our work of caring for those most in need and those who are isolated or otherwise marginalized, as well as the larger Jewish community and beyond.”

Professionally, Tom has consulted with a variety of non-profit and educational organizations since the early 90s to implement, expand and evaluate programming. He facilitated the St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium; worked as a program manager with the Northstar Digital Literacy Program; and currently consults with a statewide program funded by the Minnesota Department of Education that helps improve distance learning services for refugees, immigrants and lower skilled adults, providing professional development and resources.

Tom served for four years as a member of the Council for Black Male Success, a Saint Paul Foundation funded effort to improve outcomes for Black male teens and young men in St. Paul. He also collected and evaluated a wide variety of data for a three-year federal grant to provide counseling in high-risk elementary schools within the St. Paul Public Schools district.

For 22 years, Tom served as a public policy and legislative consultant. He led efforts to implement a statewide public policy platform benefiting Adult Basic Education, including the annual development of legislative initiatives, managing a statewide advocacy network, and working with professional lobbyists.

Early in his career, Tom worked with Family Service, Inc. as a program manager. He developed, maintained and expanded a variety of human service programs including family violence, mental health, anti-homophobia and HIV/AIDS prevention, senior services and family economic counseling.

“The common strand linking my professional interests is my commitment to providing resources and infrastructure to support social mobility and deep connections for marginalized people and populations,” he said.

In 2023, Tom received a Lifetime Achievement Award issued by The Innovating Digital Education in Adult Learning (IDEAL) Consortium, a project of the EdTech Center at World Education, Inc. The award was in recognition of his “visionary leadership that took Northstar Digital Literacy from a grassroots community-based project in St. Paul to the most widely used digital literacy assessment and learning platform in adult education.” Tom’s legacy of commitment to education was also recognized by the Literacy Action Network in 2007 with the Adult Basic Education Leader of the Year award.

Tom previously served the Jewish Community Center as a board member, vice president of member services, and member of the executive committee. The JCC honored his support with “Board Member of the Year” recognition in 2013. He is a member of Mt. Zion synagogue and is active in Jewish advocacy work.

Tom earned his Master of Arts degree in organizational leadership from the University of St. Catherine. He was also a Licensed Social Worker for many years.

Tom currently resides in St. Paul with his husband, Bob; rescue dog Zev and standard poodle Zander; assorted tropical fish; and four chickens in the backyard. Tom is a passionate gardener and garden designer, enjoys handicrafts, and is especially grateful for the enduring friendships in his life.