It has been my pleasure to be Superintendent for this board. Of all my years in this field, I can’t say that I have known a more stable, hard-working and dedicated staff than we have here.
First of all, I am grateful for the experience, trust and shared values of the Directors of the various departments who have supported me as I learned this new job. They truly believe in our mission and in the individuals we support. The 250+ staff that work under their guidance are truly amazing, as well. It is obvious that they take a personal interest in the work they do.
Beginning last July, our agency was faced with a number of changes from Medicaid and the State MRDD Department; these changes truly challenged how we operated. Because of the efforts of all the staff, I feel that we are better off today than we were last year. The changes have encouraged growth and creativity and because of them, I think our vision of the future for the people we support has changed as well.
From the beginning, we have reminded ourselves that this business is “not about us” and “it is not our money!” The focus should always be on the individuals who ask for our support. Today, because money via waivers can follow the individual, we have individuals who are making choices and taking personal risks that take them on a journey only they should define. Sometimes this means we (staff) are not an active part of their lives anymore; sometimes this means we take on different roles.
The challenge has always been how to find resources for all the needs. This year, we have tried to accept the reality that we (the agency) can’t and shouldn’t be the only supports for the individuals who are eligible for our services. Because we have opened (and sometimes pried open!) our minds and operations we have made the dynamics between us and the community more fluid. Today, we see an increase in the direct interaction between the community and the individuals we support. The articles in this publication are good examples of how we are working together.
Soon, you will be seeing our Annual Report for 2005 and a semi-annual update on our 2006 Annual Action Plan. So that our stakeholders and the public doesn’t get lost in all the statistics and verbage, we will tell real stories of individuals we support. We hope that the stories will give substance to how we are meeting our goals.
I am looking forward to another year as Superintendent. Thanks, as always, for your support!