SSA Archive


Welcoming New SSA’s


The Pioneer Center is excited to welcome 3 new Service & Support Administrators (SSAs) to our offices at 167 W. Main St. in Chillicothe, Ohio. The new SSAs have been making their rounds, meeting people in the community who will play an integral part in helping them to improve the lives of the individuals we serve. They have also been undergoing extensive training to ensure they understand our system well and are fully prepared to take on all the tasks that lay before them.

The 3 news SSAs – Tana Fisher, Amber Tripp, and Jeffrey Burns – supplied some information to help us get to know them:


Tana attended college at Shawnee State and American Public University where she received a bachelor’s in Sociology.

She is interested in helping individuals obtain services to grow at a personal level and to be as independent as possible. In her new role as SSA, Tana hopes to help families feel connected to The Pioneer Center, and to reassure them they are not alone.

Background (from Tana):

“I am 26 years old with two children. I have Sawyer who is 5 and is a walking jukebox, and Hensley – a 1 year old that will break out a smile at any time. My daughter has Cerebral Palsy and we are currently working very closely with Early Intervention and Help Me Grow to provide her services. I have been married for almost six years to my high school sweetheart. While he was in the Marine Corps, I lived in North Carolina at Camp Lejeune with him for 4 years.

I’ve worked at the Pioneer Center for 4 years, 2 as a one-on-one aide. I fell in love with the kids and the staff, and it has honestly helped me for my future with my daughter. We live out in the country in Bainbridge and we absolutely love being outside.

Some other tidbits about me:

  • Huge book reader.
  • The Outdoors – fishing, kayaking, hiking, etc.
  • Love spending time with my family.
  • Crafter and refurbish decorator at heart (when I find the time).”



Amber attended Ohio University where she studied Deaf Studies and Interpreting, earning her bachelor’s in Hearing Speech and Language Science. She is currently working on her master’s degree – Special Education Intervention Specialist.


Amber is interested in working with communication issues. She loves getting to know the kids and I look forward to getting to know the adult as well and seeing what all we do with the adult community.

Amber has always lived in Chillicothe and has served as an Education Interpreter for 7 years, 4 of which have been working at the Pioneer School and 3 at the Educational Service Center. Amber lives in Chillicothe with her husband, a teacher at the Pioneer School, and their “Fur Child”, Ollivander.



Jeff studied Recreation Leadership and Management Services with a focus on Outdoor Adventure Education at Ferris State University.

Background (from Jeff):

“I volunteered with the Special Olympics near Ferris State University. I also helped get a grant for an organization that worked with Developmental Disabilities, helping them with their Horticultural Therapy Program. I am also very involved in trying to create new ways to make recreation and outdoor activities more inclusive.

I was born and raised in Julian, CA, to a mother who was a Social Worker and a father that taught 3rd grade for 32 and a half years. I spent most of my life in Julian serving the community in various activities – volunteering at the local food pantry, helping my mom through her resource program that involved finding people that are getting rid of appliances, and connecting them with people that need them. I am very involved in Camp Ministry and being outdoors – it has always been a place for me to relax. I am married and have a couple weeks old baby boy. I have only been in Chillicothe for about a month now and am enjoying the small-town atmosphere.

I enjoy disc golfing, gardening, hiking, kayaking, cooking, backpacking, camping, Ultimate Frisbee, watching high school and college sports, volunteering and many other activities. I am always trying to find new things to try and learn about.”


Amber Tripp, Jeffrey Burns, and Tana Fisher pose in the lobby of their new office building.


Adaptive Dance Program



Yogamotion Starts Soon – No Registration Required!

yogamotion summer 2015


Future Superintendent Learning on the Job

leia snyder

When it comes to getting acclimated to a new job, Pioneer Center assistant superintendent Leia Snyder feels her situation couldn’t be any better.

Snyder, who came on board in March, will benefit from the experience of longtime Superintendent Rick Marriott as she prepares to take over his position in January.

“I am very fortunate, because a lot of places when you take over a leadership position, day one it’s ‘here you go, hit the ground running,’” Snyder said. “I have had the opportunity to go out and meet with staff one on one and my goal is to meet with everybody face to face and just get to know a little bit more about them and how they became a part of our agency and let them get to know me a little better. That’s really a luxury a lot of people don’t get.”

Click here to read the rest of this story. 


Employment First changing attitudes


A change is underway in how special needs students are encouraged to see their future and in how Pioneer Center teachers and administrators help them prepare for it.

Launched in 2012 through an executive order issued by Gov. John Kasich, Ohio’s Employment First initiative is designed to expose students with developmental disabilities to work possibilities at a younger age and help them choose a career path in the local business community rather than in a sheltered work environment.

The approach is more “person-centered,” said Pioneer Center Superintendent Rick Marriott, meaning that it focuses less on matching opportunities to the limitations an individual has and more on what that person wants to do.

“They are the center of the plan and we’re prioritizing that – what their wants, wishes and desires are – and we cater around that process in a little different way,” Mariott said.

Click here to read more!