Connections - 03.31.22

Comings & Goings: March 2022

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by Jerri McCandless, ANCOR

Comings & Goings is an ongoing feature of Connections in which we highlight exciting changes happening at ANCOR member agencies and state associations.

Exceptional Persons, Inc. (Waterloo, IA)

Photo of Chris Sparks

Chris Sparks, long-time Executive Director at Exceptional Persons, Inc. (EPI) for 24 years, is resigning on April 8 to begin another phase of his career as a full-time clinician at a veteran’s hospital. Chris has been working on a part-time basis as a mental health counselor at a local mental health center in addition to his full-time position at EPI.  

Chris first came to EPI from a small organization serving people with developmental disabilities in northwest Missouri, he had started out as a houseparent there. He moved onto EPI as Assistant Director in 1991 and transitioned to the role of Executive Director in 1998. Chris is leaving EPI in a very strong position and fully ready for a smooth leadership transition.

Photo of Katie Slade

Chris has been a tireless volunteer, both with the Iowa Association of Community Providers and on a national level with ANCOR. Chris served on the ANCOR Board of Directors for many years, including having served as President. He completed his service to the Board in September 2018. In addition, he was very active with ANCOR’s Government Relations Committee and held multiple leadership positions on various committees and campaigns, including Co-Chair of the National Advocacy Campaign and the Save our Services Campaign. He also chaired the Leadership Development Committee, co-chaired the Government Relations Advisory Committee, and was inducted into the ANCOR Foundation’s Legacy Leaders Circle.

ANCOR staff have had the privilege of working closely with Chris on so many initiatives and we will certainly miss him and his good counsel. We wish him all the best in this next chapter of his career.

Starting April 9, Katie Slade will serve as Interim CEO until a permanent CEO has been selected by the EPI Board of Directors. Katie has worked in various positions at EPI, including Communications & Development Director and Organizational Development Director since 2008.


Services for the Underserved (New York, NY)

Photo of Donna ColonnaDonna Colonna, long time President & CEO of Services for the Underserved (S:US), retired effective January 31 after 25 years of dedicated service to the organization. Beyond her retirement date, Donna will serve as an advisor to the Board of Directors and new CEO for one year to help ensure as smooth and seamless a transition as possible.

Donna has spent the past 48 years as a vocal advocate for the rights of, and services for individuals and families with developmental disabilities, people with behavioral health challenges, and people impacted by poverty. She now believes its time to move onto the next phase of her life. In her own words, “Serving the people we support has been a labor of love, and I will be eternally grateful for having had this opportunity.”

Photo of Dr. Jorge PetiteDr. Jorge Petite was appointed CEO of S:US effective February 14. He is a Board- certified psychiatrist with over 25 years of public health care experience. For the last four years, he served as the CEO and President of Coordinated Behavioral Care, a health care organization dedicated to improving the quality of care for Medicaid beneficiaries with serious mental illness, chronic health conditions and/or substance use disorders. Before that he was Regional Senior Vice President for New York State for Beacon Health Options and President of Quality Healthcare Solutions, a consulting firm. He also previously served as Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Mental Hygiene in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Health. 


Have news about retirements, appointments, celebrations, mergers, acquisitions and more? Email items for Comings & Goings to Jerri McCandless at [email protected].