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Official Press Release

After 35 years as Superintendent of the Ross County Board of Developmental Disabilities (DD), also known as the Pioneer Center, Rick Marriott has informed the Board of his intentions to retire as Superintendent.

In response, the Board has developed a succession plan to allow for an effective transition to a new Superintendent.

This includes the approval of an Assistant Superintendent position that will be in effect for 6-18 months to ease the transition.

The transition plan will provide maximum flexibility to ensure the next Superintendent is fully prepared to take on the responsibilities of the position. If the individual possesses management-level experience but no Superintendent experience, the transition period may be designed for a longer period of time to understand the system and all the players, plus specific hands-on Superintendent training in the day-to-day operations. If the individual hired has experience as a Superintendent in the DD system, the transition period may be brief.

Regardless of the candidate’s experience, there will be time to give that individual opportunities to get to understand local cultures, system staff, individuals, parents, and community leaders without the burden of focusing on day-to-day operations.

The current Superintendent will be able to pass along 35 years of history and programming as a direct mentor or as an indirect consultant as needed.

This plan works well for all potential candidates – local residents, those from another Ohio county, or even out of state.


Spotlighting Success: Walt King


David Brinkley, renowned American newscaster, once said, “a successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” Our lot in life is laid before us as a heap of bricks; some of us get neatly stacked pallets of freshly baked clay, while others have a tougher road to hoe.

Walt King is a man who has made his own mortar, so to speak, and built an admirable life for himself. Recently, Walt was named the Spotlight Employee by the management at his place of employment, Kentucky Fried Chicken. KFC’s HQ recently enacted the Spotlight Employee initiative as a way to recognize employees who go above and beyond at work. Things that the management consider in choosing a Spotlight Employee are punctuality, reliability, work ethic, positive attitude, showing initiative, and being a good team player. It is worth noting that all of the spotlight employees, aside from Walt, have been employed at KFC for 6 months or less. Walt has been working there for 9 years! Typically, after someone has been working  at a place for so long they become complacent, they lose a little motivation after finding their groove and perfecting the tasks they are assigned.  Talking with Walt’s manager, Tina Irvin, she was quick to make it known that Walt is not one to coast. She sang his praises, noting  his strong work ethic and dependability.

Walt was one of the few that stuck around when the old KFC was demolished nearly a decade ago and a new building was put in its place. As a result, Walt is tied for longest-employed non-managerial staff member, and unofficially, as one of the most beloved.

While it’s important to note, as Tina did, that Walt “is a good worker who likes to stay busy and knows what his tasks are.” It may be even more important to recognize the characteristics that make Walt a great person, not just a great employee.

Walt’s coworkers remarked on his playful attitude and positive spirit that make him a pleasure to work around. Their feelings are certainly evident around the holidays, when they buy him a gift, share a meal with him and take time simply to enjoy his company.  “Everyone thinks the world of him,” noted his direct manager.

As we know, employment is a two-way street, and Walt receives in return for all that he gives. When asked about the favorite parts of his job, Walt  explained that he has made a lot of friends working there, that he enjoys greeting people, opening the door for people with disabilities, and of course, money.

That money enables  greater independence and when it comes from a job in our community, there are myriad additional benefits.  Walt’s journey to success has not been an easy one, but he has not had to go it alone. The Pioneer Center’s social service administration, local social service agencies, and especially his case manager Heather Chaney, have helped Walt gain his independence.  These people have helped improve the quality of Walt’s life, equipping him with the tools necessary for him to develop into the man he is today, a prideful advocate, a beloved employee, and a valuable member of our community.


Staying Safe in Summer



Paints, Pioneer students interact at camp



Chillicothe Paints infielder Dan Zuchowski was happy to answer questions and sign autographs with students participating in a camp program at the Pioneer Center Tuesday morning, but the experience also proved to be fun as well…Check out the full story and more photos here!