A professionally dressed woman smiles at the camera. Text over the image reads: Superintendent announces intent to retire.

Lisa Guliano, Superintendent of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities, announces intent to retire in Spring of ‘24

After 11.5 years at Butler DD, Superintendent leaves legacy of leadership

Lisa Guliano, Superintendent of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Butler DD), has announced her intent to retire in the spring of 2024. A search committee of Butler DD Board Members has been formed and will select applicants to participate in the interview process.

“Lisa Guliano’s leadership is a true example not only of a committed leadership but overall of a transformative one,” said Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, President of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “We are grateful for her professional, passionate and visionary approach expanding services and implementing strategies to better serve our families – particularly at the most difficult times during COVID-19 and beyond. Even at this time,” she continued, “when she is announcing her retirement she is making sure that the upcoming Superintendent will have a strong support from the amazing team she has mentored over her time in this position. As a Board member I appreciate her diligence keeping us always well informed so we can make the best decisions possible. The positive impact of her leadership has significantly improved the lives of the people our county serves. She will be truly missed.”

Guliano has served as the Superintendent for Butler DD for 11.5 years. While the first half of her career was in nursing, she entered into the field of DD as the Nursing Coordinator for the Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities in their intermediate care facilities.

While at Richland County, she earned her master’s degree in business administration and took on several director level roles. She says her superintendent was a great mentor who gave her opportunities to learn about the role of a superintendent.

And packed with that knowledge, she accepted the position as superintendent at Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 2010 where she remained until her move to Butler DD in July of 2012.

Reflecting on her time at Butler DD, Guliano says the pandemic was certainly one of the most challenging elements to her career. Serving a population with many who have compromised immune systems, Guliano says their health and safety was the top priority.

“And then, keeping our employees healthy as well… there was the physical health, but also the mental and emotional health of what everybody was going through with so much unknown. Really trying to support them so that they could continue to focus on our mission and support the people that we serve.”

Guliano says she is proud of the way her team responded to quickly make changes that could comply with the regulations put forth by the Ohio Department of Health while still maintaining supports.

She says her leadership team took the challenge head on and worked together to make it happen.

“The most rewarding part of my role has been really watching the growth of my leadership team,” she said. “Enjoying seeing them build their teams, how responsive they are to enabling the people that work for them to do the work that they need to do.”

As a result of that ‘enabling’ mindset, many ideas proposed by staff have come to fruition.

“There’s so much trust that has been built up in letting our employees really flourish so that they can be innovative and creative.” Guliano says this is important for many reasons, but among them, it has allowed staff to find creative solutions for people’s specific needs.

With a person-centered approach, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next. When staff feel the psychological safety to offer innovative solutions, it benefits those they support.

“My hope for the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities is that we continue to travel on the very progressive path that we’re on, continue to allow people to be creative and innovative in their work to support people where they’re at with what it is that they want to do with their lives.”

While Guliano looks forward to retirement, she says she has greatly enjoyed her role at the Board and living in this community. “I just am very appreciative of all the support: of the team here; of our board members; and other community members.” 

The superintendent job listing will be posted by the Ohio Association of County Boards on Monday, January 22.