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Zeffiro-Krenisky to retire from Christie Lane

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Jul 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Dee Zeffiro-Krenisky, who for nearly two decades has been an advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities as the superintendent of the Huron County Board of Developmental Disabilities, will retire at the end of 2014.

Zeffiro-Krenisky, who is better known around Huron County as "Dr. Dee," called her departure from Christie Lane, "bittersweet."

"I'm looking forward to having more control of my days and the opportunity to spend time with my husband," Zeffiro-Krenisky said. "At the same time, I'm walking away from a place that I have grown to love. Christie Lane will always have a special place in my heart. It will be very difficult to say good-bye to so many wonderful people and that includes the individuals we serve -- the board and my staff. But, it's time for someone else to take the reins and guide the future of this wonderful organization."

Greg Higgins, president of the Huron County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said a search would begin immediately for Zeffiro-Krenisky's replacement. Finding a replacement for Zeffiro-Krenisky, he said, will be no easy task.

"It goes without saying that the next superintendent will have some big shoes to fill," Higgins said. "Not only has Dr. Dee been an outstanding superintendent, but she is recognized around the state for her leadership and advocacy for self determination for individuals with developmental disabilities. Christie Lane recently received a five-year accreditation from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. In other counties, these are rare occurrences. But under Dr. Dee's leadership, they have been regular occurrences in Huron County. We have been fortunate to have her leading Christie Lane for nearly 20 years."

A native of Connecticut, Zeffiro-Krenisky earned a bachelor's degree in special education and child study from Saint Joseph College in 1979. She holds a master's degree in management from the Hartford Graduate Center through Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a doctorate in leadership and administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

While completing her education, Zeffiro-Krenisky held a number of posts in Connecticut with agencies involved with serving individuals with developmental disabilities. She moved to Ohio in 1990 and became director of clinical services with Lucas County Children Services. She served three years with the Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities as the director of residential services before being named superintendent of Christie Lane in July 1995.

During her tenure as superintendent of Huron DD, Zeffiro-Krenisky spearheaded many initiatives, including:

n Oversight of back-to-back, five-year accreditations from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities;

n The introduction of self advocacy/self determination programs in Huron County, including Project STIR and The Good Life;

n The expansion of residential supports;

n Introduction of fiscal initiatives that resulted in cost reductions and cost sharing activities;

n Oversaw Medicaid expansion for individuals with developmental disabilities;

n Ran numerous successful levy campaigns; and

n Further developed programs and pushed community integration efforts for individuals with developmental disabilities.

On the state level, Zeffiro-Krenisky served two terms as the president of the Ohio Superintendents of County Boards Association and was a board member of a number of other organizations, including the Ohio Self Determination Association and the Ohio Association of County Boards serving People with Developmental Disabilities (OACBDD). She also has been active in strategic planning and system transformation with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.

The OACBDD (www.oacbdd.org) will conduct the superintendent search this summer.

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