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NCBDD NEWS

NEW SUPERINTENDENT NAMED

Gloria Llewellyn

Transitional Superintendent Gloria Llewellyn has been tabbed by the Belmont, Harrison, and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities as its new Superintendent following the retirement of Steve Williams.

A proven leader with 30 years of experience in the developmental disabilities’ field, Gloria was hired as Director of Operations for the BHN Alliance in 2017, became the Assistant Superintendent in 2020, and was named Transitional Superintendent in 2023.

The BHN Alliance shares 10 administrative functions including Superintendent, SSA, Early Intervention, and Human Resources.

Before coming to the county boards, Gloria served for five years as Executive Director for ResCare, Inc., a leading provider of home and community-based services for people with disabilities.

Her career in the DD field began when she answered an ad to support a young girl with down syndrome while she was still a student at The Pennsylvania State University. The mother had recently died, and the father needed help rearing three small children.

“The father put so much faith into me and others to care for and support his children while he worked, often on overnight trips,” Gloria said. “I really enjoyed the family dynamics and realized early on that I was a member of their family.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Penn State, Gloria left the field for nine months, but returned.

“I really liked the closeness that comes from helping connect people to what they need and want and forming relationships,” Gloria said.

She went on to obtain a Master of Education degree from Youngstown State and held various positions at ResCare, including behavior specialist, before becoming Executive Director.

Gloria said that effective leadership involves challenging people to think differently and be open to the possibility of change.

“I want the people we support to receive fantastic services and employees to thrive, while ensuring that the long-term objectives of the county boards are met,” she said.

Gloria said that the BHN Alliance is strong because of past leadership, the current team, and the kind, supportive volunteer boards.

“I am still humbly processing the honor to serve as Superintendent,” Gloria said adding, “I am in a place to listen so I can learn from others - the people and families we support, employees, provider partners and community partners – so together we can form a true plan for sustainability and positive change.”

Gloria credits her own circle of support for her success.

“I could not do what I do without the support of my husband, Donnie, sons, parents, sister and brother-in-law, the Llewellyn clan and friends, Gloria said. “They wrap me with love every day.”

Superintendent Steve Williams to Retire

After a career spanning almost four decades, Stephen L. Williams, Superintendent/CEO of the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, will retire on December 31, 2023.

 

Williams, 59, started his career at the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities as a case manager in 1988. He was promoted into various leadership positions until being named Superintendent of the three county boards, known as the BHN Alliance, in 2012.

Williams is the only DD superintendent in Ohio to serve three county boards in that capacity and has guided them through many changes.

 

“The system of support I started in is vastly different than what it is today, and for all the right reasons,” Williams said. “We moved from being a ‘pilot’ in people’s lives - making decisions for them - to being a ‘navigator’ where we help people get what they want out of life.”

 

Williams said one of the primary ways of doing this was understanding the lived experiences of people served. Under his leadership, the BHN Alliance embraced Trauma-Informed Care, a compassion-driven approach that emphasizes positive relationships.

 

“It is about helping people with developmental differences achieve what matters the most to them and making sure each one feels safe, Williams said.

 

Williams credits people with disabilities as leaders in changes that have moved the system forward.

 

“Self-advocates have led the way and it has been my honor to support their efforts to improve accessibility and inclusion for all people,” he said.

 

Since taking the helm as superintendent, Williams oversaw the expansion of early intervention for babies and toddlers and targeted transition activities for students ages 14 and older. He has headed projects to create accessible homes, promoted greater access to jobs for people of all abilities, and strengthened partnerships with other agencies and the public schools.

 

The retiree credits those around him for successes achieved during his tenure.

 

“Absolutely nothing could be accomplished without the incredible team across the BHN Alliance,” Williams said. “They strive for excellence and provide the best service to the people we support.”

 

Williams said there have been challenges over the years with one being particularly difficult – the lack of comprehensive local services for children and youth with multiple mental health and developmental needs.

 

“We did not have the necessary supports, so we were sending children across the state for specialized treatment, separating them from the people who loved them the most,” Williams said. “We knew that had to change.”

 

In 2014 the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities and its partners in mental and behavioral health, juvenile court, Job and Family Services and the provider network created Tomorrow’s Youth Project, a holistic approach that includes the youth and their families in the healing process. In-home mental health and behavioral supports, planned respite, targeted activities, and therapeutic mentoring are now offered locally. This strategy of bringing multiple agencies together to serve youth at risk for residential placement was one of the first in Ohio.

 

Described as a thoughtful leader, Williams has served on state work groups that involved the redesign of adult services and transportation, multi-system youth initiatives, and county board sustainability.

 

In 2012, the BHN Alliance received the Visionary Leadership Award from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities for pioneering shared administrative services across the three county boards.

 

Williams, who served on the OACB Board of Trustees as a Superintendent representative, received the Kenneth Legats Visionary Leadership Award in 2018.

 

As Williams reflected on his career, he said there is only one measure of success for him.


“The work has never been about us, but rather the people we support,” he said. “If they are living their best lives then, and only then, are we successful.”

 

A smooth transition was assured when the three county boards named Gloria Llewellyn as Superintendent, effective Jan. 1, 2024. Llewellyn has 30 years’ experience in the developmental disabilities field, the last five years with the BHN Alliance as Assistant Superintendent and Transitional Superintendent since January 2023.

 

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Gloria Llewellyn Receives Outstanding Educator Award

St. Clairsville, OH – Gloria Llewellyn, Assistant Superintendent for the BHN Alliance (Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities) received the Brad McFadden Outstanding Educator Award at the 2023 Belmont County Exceptional Student Awards event on May 11, 2023.

The Brad McFadden Award recognizes a person who has made a notable contribution to special education in Belmont County. The honoree is voted upon by members of the Belmont County Special Education Advisory Council.

 In her role at the County Board Gloria works with the public schools, supporting parents, teachers, administrators and students in a variety of ways.

Gloria and Nancy 2023

Gloria Llewellyn (right), Assistant Superintendent of the BHN Alliance, received the 2023 Brad McFadden Outstanding Educator Award from the Belmont County Special Education Advisory Council. Nancy Weeks, Preschool Coordinator for the East Central Ohio ESC, presented the award to her at the annual Exceptional Student Awards dinner held at the Belmont Career Center on May 11, 2023.

The complete text of the McFadden Award presentation to Gloria follows:

 

“The 2023 recipient of the Brad McFadden Outstanding Educator Award is a person who makes things happen. From her start as a home-based Program Worker to Executive Director of an $18 million residential provider, Gloria Llewellyn puts her heart, mind and soul into serving people.

Today, as Assistant Superintendent of the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Gloria has built a reputation as a dependable partner with school districts when there is a need to make learning easier or the environment more accommodating for students with developmental differences.

This Steubenville native began her life of service working as a direct support professional while studying for her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Penn State.

Subsequent employment included directing residential sites for people with disabilities and providing therapeutic counseling and psychotherapy to adults and children in a variety of settings. She became a skilled behaviorist who developed compassionate ways to address the challenges people face.

In 2003, Gloria added a Master of Education degree to her resume’. In 2011, she became Executive Director for ResCare, where she led all functions in southeast Ohio for the multi-million-dollar provider. She left that position in 2017 when she accepted an employment offer from the county board. She was a perfect fit from the start. Gloria understood the board’s mission and goals while bringing a fresh perspective to the table. Her business acumen, compassion and discernment benefit the organization, and she provides clear, motivating and constructive feedback to those she leads.

A strong advocate for people with developmental differences, she approaches every challenge as an opportunity to improve someone’s life and build or strengthen relationships. She is willing to take on hard problems by choice and, on occasion, has made what seems impossible possible. Her balanced approach and ability to bring people together means her advice and support are sought by parents and educators alike.

Humble. Caring. Driven. Smart. Gloria Llewellyn is all of these, and one more: she is excellent – in all she thinks, says and does.

Noble CBDD Receives Three-Year Accreditation Award

 

CALDWELL – A three-year accreditation award, the highest possible term, has been given to the Noble County Board of Developmental Disabilities for the work it does to support people with disabilities.

 

A team from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities completed a comprehensive review this fall that included interviews with people served and families whose supports are provided, coordinated or funded by the County Board.

Noble DD Board Superintendent Stephen Williams credited the Board’s emphasis on relationships as the key to its success.

 

“Relationships are what matter in life and we focus on building them with the people we support and our partners who provide their services,” Williams said. “We get to know people and put our efforts into helping each person live a great life.”

 

All areas of the County Board were reviewed, including personnel, service and support, health and safety, incident reporting and how effective the Board is.

 

The Noble County Board of DD serves over 100 people, coordinating and/or funding supports like early intervention (birth to three), school-age assistance, transition from school to work (ages 14 to 22), job-related skill development, employment, residential, respite and transportation.

 

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BELMONT-HARRISON-NOBLE

COUNTY BOARDS OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

 

The Community SSA: A New Way of Supporting People

The BHN Alliance has become known for its out of the box thinking and strong belief that the least intrusive path is the most beneficial to bettering the lives of those with disabilities. One of the ways this shows is through the newly created Community SSA position.

Tracy Johnston, who serves in the role, works with people who meet eligibility requirements, but are living relatively independent lives in the community.

“We help people maintain the independence that they love and need without interfering in their lives,” Tracy said.

Tracy does this by acting as a liaison between the person and his or her respective life plans. That can mean coordinating a ride back and forth from work to finding someone a new place to live. Whether it is reaching out to other agencies or contacting community organizations, Tracy is there to support those who just need direction, a helping hand, and a bit of perspective.

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Community SSA Tracy Johnston (right) is a friend that Junior can rely on to help him get the things he wants out of life.

Her work is a crucial part of the BHN Alliance vision and is the next step in the evolution of a more integrated and cutting-edge service delivery system across Belmont, Harrison, and Noble counties.

“This Community Support model emerged after we realized that many people just need a little assistance in getting what they want out of life,” said BHN Alliance Superintendent Stephen Williams. “We connect them with community resources without enrolling them in specific services they don’t want or need.”

Tracy sees herself as more than just another support to those eligible for services.

“My favorite part of the job is helping people understand that I am their friend and will help whenever they need. Whether it be just to talk or to help them connect to resources, I am there without being overly intrusive.”

And that’s what Tracy does each and every day.

EI Team Leader Receives OACB Award

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Lori Wells, the Early Intervention Team Leader for the BHN Alliance, has received the Five-Star Customer Experience Award from the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities.
 

The Five-Star Customer Experience Award recognizes a county board employee who goes above and beyond in supporting people served by their county board. Wells received the award at the 36th Annual OACB Convention on December 5, 2019 at Columbus.
 

Wells, who is the Early Intervention Team Leader for the BHN Alliance (Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities), is described as someone who has an acute understanding of what families need and goes above and beyond in service to them.
 

According to Holly Weatherson, EI Contract Manager for the BHN Alliance, Wells is “masterful” at supporting families, always willing to provide what they need, well beyond normal business hours. One of those needs is met through her credential as a Certified Infant Massage Therapist, a skill that can console babies dealing with the trauma of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
 

“Lori has defined what it means to provide specialized instruction to families whose infants and toddlers have disabilities or developmental delays,” Weatherson said. “She can relate to families and their challenges and is, in truth, their ally.”
 

As the EI Team Leader, Wells mentors and supports an entire team of developmental specialists and speech and language, occupational and physical therapists serving over 100 families with evidence-based early intervention supports.
 

Early Intervention is a statewide system that provides coordinated services to parents of infants and toddlers (ages birth to three) with disabilities or developmental delays in Ohio. To make a referral, call 1-800-755-4769.

 

Photo courtesy OACB

Noble County Soccer, Noble County Board of DD
Partner to Provide Safe Play for All

Reprinted with Permission from The Journal-Leader, Caldwell, OH
July 22, 2019

For the first time, Noble County Soccer will be able to offer a safe, fun and educational soccer season for the local youth that have developmental disabilities. This would not be possible without the support of the Noble County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The Noble County Board of DD was able to provide Noble County Soccer with funds to acquire the necessary safety equipment for these young athletes. Noble County Soccer is so honored to be able to provide this soccer experience to the youth of the county ages Pre-K through 8th grade, regardless of the player’s experience or abilities. In the past, families that had athletes with developmental disabilities would have to travel outside of the county to find an organization that could fulfill the safety needs required for these young athletes to be able to participate in any type of sporting event. Thank You Noble County Board of DD.


For any questions regarding the Developmental Disabilities soccer season, please contact Keith Wilson (NCS Board Member) 304-966-2173, or Adam Chandler (NCS Board Member) 740-581-2063.

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Pictured left to right: Corey Archer (NCS), Adam Chandler (NCS), Jen Hayes (NCS), Beth Guiler (Noble County Board of DD), Keith Wilson (NCS), Scott Stritz (NCS), and Shawn Stritz (NCS).

BHN Superintendent Receives Leadership Award

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Stephen L. Williams, Superintendent of the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, has received the 2018 Kenneth Legats Visionary Leadership Award from the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities.

The award is presented annually to an executive who, over a career of more than 20 years, has shown high ideals, vision, and moral leadership in the administration of services for people with developmental disabilities.

Williams received the award at the OACB 35th annual convention in Columbus on November 30, 2018.

“I am humbled and grateful to be recognized in this way, but awards aren’t individual in nature,” Williams said. “I have a great team that strives to provide the best possible service to the people we support.”

In the nomination, Williams was described as “a thoughtful and passionate leader who is focused on building teams, enhancing relationships and ensuring success for the future. Through his humor, calm and focus, he brings out the best of those around him and always leads with an eye on the future and long-term success.”

Williams began his career with the Belmont County Board of DD in 1988 as a case manager, working in various leadership positions through the years until being named Superintendent of the Belmont, Harrison and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (BHN Alliance) in 2012. He is the only superintendent in Ohio who serves as superintendent of three county boards of developmental disabilities.

Noble DD Board Receives Three-Year Accreditation

The Noble County Board of Developmental Disabilities has been accredited by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities for the quality of services provided to county residents.

A six-member team from the state department completed a comprehensive review in November that included interviews with individuals and families who receive supports. A three-year accreditation was earned, the maximum possible term.

Superintendent Stephen Williams credited the successful review to the way the Board views what it does.

“Relationships are the foundation of quality supports and that is our focus in everything we do,” Williams said. “We recognize the uniqueness of every person and family served and that means we are better able to help them get what they want out of life.”

The Board coordinates supports for more than 100 eligible children and adults with developmental disabilities. Supports include early intervention (birth to age three), school-age assistance, transition from school to work (ages 14 to 22), job-related training and employment, residential, transportation, and respite.

Wellness initiative kicks off this fall

A new initiative designed to promote the physical and mental well-being of people with disabilities will kick off this fall across Belmont, Harrison and Noble counties.

The BHN Alliance Wellness Fund has been created to support community-based wellness activities designed to get people moving in the community.

The fund operates as a grant. People choose what they would like to do, sign up and pay for the activity and then submit receipts/paid invoices to the County Board for reimbursement. It’s that simple.

The Wellness Fund provides reimbursement for activities like:

  • Fitness facilities / gyms / pools

  • Weight loss programs [Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc.]

  • Healthy Cooking Classes

  • Smoking cessation programs

  • Registration fees for healthy walks/runs

  • Fitness classes like yoga, Zumba and others

  • Community team activities like softball, Pickleball, etc.

“The people we support are interested in healthy living and the Wellness Fund will provide a means for them to get active by joining community-based health and fitness activities,” said BHN Alliance Superintendent Stephen Williams.

If you are a person served by the Belmont, Harrison or Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and would like to learn more, contact the Service and Support Department at 740-695-7433.

Trauma-Informed Care is central to way

supports are coordinated in BHN Alliance

People with disabilities experience more abuse than others, yet their needs often go undertreated or minimized. That means the trauma continues to have an impact on their lives years after the abuse occurred.

The BHN Alliance understands the role trauma plays in the lives of many of the people it supports. That is why it adopted a Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) approach in 2016. Darlene Pempek, Director of Community Supports, led the effort. In her work with families, Dar realized that the immediate crisis or distress someone was experiencing had underlying circumstances.

“As we got to know people, we learned that past traumatic experiences were still impacting them,” Pempek said. “Those lived experiences had to be taken into account for people to become well.”

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Trauma-Informed Care requires a system-wide understanding of trauma. The three county boards in the Alliance offered full support for this way of serving people with disabilities. The goal at the beginning was to make sure supports took into account how past traumas impacted children and adults.

Pempek attended trauma trainings and returned with strategies for the BHN Alliance SSAs, who began including TIC approaches to the supports they were coordinating. It made a huge difference. Once a person’s past trauma was identified, it became easier to identify the types of supports that would not only be effective, but would also make the person feel safe so they could heal and thrive.

In June 2016, the BHN Alliance was invited to join Tristate Trauma Network’s Trauma-Informed Learning Community. Pempek, Director of Transition Adam Nicholoff, SSA Corianne Sanders and Communications Coordinator Pamela McCort participated in the Learning Community where leading trauma experts provided training and support over the course of a year.

SSA Corianne Sanders said the training had an impact on her.

“I realize that everyone can be affected by trauma in some way. This knowledge allows me to be more intentional in my interactions with others, which makes me a better person and a better SSA,” Sanders said.

The core implementation team now directs activities designed to create an educated and informed workforce. Trainings by Mary Vicario and Carol Hudgins-Mitchell Finding Hope Consulting have taken place. A Belmont CommUNITY was created, comprised of partners from several agencies who regularly meet to discuss ways they can become more compassionate and understanding in the work they do. Trainings on trauma-informed care are offered by the BHN Alliance TIC Core Implementation Team and been provided to local law enforcement, the staff at a local hospital and public school.

“The effects of trauma continue long after the traumatic experience has occurred and that is why it is important for all of us in the system of support to treat people with compassion,” Pempek said.

“Healing, resiliency and hope are possible for children and adults when trauma-informed care is practiced by everyone.”

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