Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
By William Kincaid
Overman announces retirement
  CELINA - Cheryl Ann Programs Superintendent Mike Overman will retire in December after serving as head of the agency for more than 32 years.
Overman, 64, told the newspaper Tuesday he's had a wonderful run and believes it's time to move the organization forward.
"I am in good health personally, and I feel good, professionally, about the health of the Cheryl Ann Programs," he said. "There is an incredible amount of vigor and energy among the staff and management of the board's programs, and that makes me feel very comfortable in this decision."
Members of the Mercer County Board of Developmental Disabilities were notified of Overman's upcoming retirement at a recent meeting. The Ohio Association of County Boards will help the local board search for a replacement, Overman said. Board members hope to find someone by the end of July, with Overman possibly assisting in the transition.
Since 1967, as result of state legislature, Cheryl Ann Programs has provided numerous services, including early intervention, preschool and adult work training and recreation opportunities, according to Overman.
"We serve about 350 here in Mercer County of all ages, and it's just a huge variety of services provided, some just a really little bit and some 24/7. It just depends on individual needs and circumstances," he said. "We try to be there for everyone that needs us."
The board oversees a large and growing community division, training and securing employment for disabled adults at local businesses, he said.
Overman, a Maria Stein native, joined Cheryl Ann Programs in 1975 as a high school teacher. He was named superintendent in 1982.
According to Cheryl Ann officials, the program's reach and mission have grown under Overman's tenure to include helping people of all ages with disabilities and offering support to their families.
"His priority has been to respect the rights of people with disabilities to make their own life choices whenever possible and to help them pursue the same dreams and goals as any other citizen, including rewarding work and a happy home life," the press release states.
The board oversees a large and growing community division, training and securing employment of disabled adults - identified as associates - with local businesses, Overman said.
"We have staff that go out and help with that, help them learn their jobs, work with employers to make sure that they're doing the job the way the employer wants it done," he said.
Associates are provided recreation and leisure opportunities by providers who take them to high school sporting events, movies, restaurants, fairs and summer festivals.
"It's a good thing because really prior to that, most of our folks, they came to us during the day (for services) and then really didn't do much else outside of that," Overman said. "Now they have outside lives, too, and sometimes it competes with our other things, and we think that's wonderful."
Partnering with the Mercer County Educational Service Center, the DD board offers early intervention for children younger than 3 and preschool programs for those diagnosed with developmental disabilities.
"We have at least a 20 percent rate of kids that go through early intervention that when they turn 3, they don't need any services at all anymore; they've caught up fully. Obviously they had more mild disabilities or delays; early intervention has helped with that," Overman said.
He said it's been an honor and privilege to serve Cheryl Ann Programs and the DD board.
"Our program will face challenges in the future, as we have in the past," he said. "But with the individuals we serve and their families, the staff and their dedication, the board that we have, the local government officials and their cooperation and the general support of the citizenry, Cheryl Ann Programs will meet all the challenges that come in the future and grow from them."
Overman has no firm plans after retirement but said he intends to do a lot of volunteer work, adding he still has the health and commitment to give back to the community.
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