SIDNEY — The Boards of Developmental Disabilities in Shelby and Champaign Counties have named a successor to superintendent, Laura Zureich, who plans to retire at the end of 2018 after nearly 14 years of service.
Leigh Anne Wenning will join the county boards, Oct. 1, spending the last months of the year training with Zureich and learning more about the agencies and communities, although she is no stranger to the field or the community.
Wenning, a resident of Anna, will join the Shelby and Champaign County Boards of Developmental Disabilities after serving more than 14 years at the Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities, most recently as the human resources director. She began her career in the developmental disabilities field as a direct support professional, providing in-home care to people with developmental disabilities through service provider agency Toward Independence. From there, Wenning built her career as a service coordinator in Franklin County and a mental health case manager in South Carolina, before joining the Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 2004.
“I’m honored and excited to have been selected as the new superintendent of the Champaign and Shelby County Boards of DD,” Wenning said. “I believe wholeheartedly in the missions of both organizations and look forward to working with the committed and talented staff at both boards as we continue to support our friends, family and neighbors with developmental disabilities.”
Wenning holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wright State University and will complete her master’s degree in administration in August through Central Michigan University.
According to Zureich, Wenning makes the transition to retirement a bit easier.
“Working with people with developmental disabilities and their families in Champaign and Shelby Counties has been an honor and privilege. This work has been the absolute joy of my professional life,” Zureich said. “While leaving is bittersweet, there is comfort in transitioning our organizations to Leigh Anne Wenning. Leigh Anne will lead from the standpoint of keeping people with developmental disabilities at the forefront of decision-making. Her deeply ingrained ethics and values will keep both counties moving in a forward-thinking manner.”
When asked about the most significant contributions of Zureich’s tenure, Shelby County Board of DD president Nate Counts said it’s a long list.
“Laura has been a tremendous asset to our agencies, our communities, but more importantly to the people we serve and their families,” Counts said. “Under her watch, the Shelby County Board of DD has significantly improved opportunities for the people we serve. From increasing community engagement and employment to transitioning our early intervention entirely to an evidence-based natural environment process for children and families, the people we serve have flourished under her leadership.”
Counts and his counterpart, Jeanne Bowman, board president of the Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities, pointed to other noteworthy accomplishments under Zureich. Most notably, Zureich helped both counties save more than $600,000 each year by sharing various administrative positions without impacting services to individuals served. Zureich has served as the shared superintendent since 2011. Her leadership also led to both counties’ receiving the Project Transformation Grant, as well as their participation in several Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities pilot programs such as the Waiver Pilot and the Remote Supports Pilot, both of which have helped set the pace for county boards of developmental disabilities across the state.
For Zureich, the next chapter will bring exciting opportunities including volunteer work and travel.
Wenning and Zureich will share the superintendent role from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, after which Wenning will assume the full role. An announcement regarding a farewell/welcome celebration for the two will be made at a later date.