A Special Note from Richard Klarberg, COA President & CEO
For the past 17 years, I have had the honor to be the CEO & President of the Council on Accreditation. Coming to COA was the realization of a dream that I had when I joined VISTA, the domestic Peace Corps, upon graduating from college. That dream was to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and families.
The work done by my colleagues, our board, and the more than 1000 professionals who volunteer for COA has realized that dream. Together, we have transformed and continue to transform the organizations that serve the less fortunate in our society. It has been truly inspiring to witness the team’s dedication to that mission. It was my privilege and pleasure to work at the side of such a talented and driven group.
Today I pass the President & CEO baton to Jody Levison-Johnson, LCSW-C. Given all that we are preparing to do, Jody is an extremely good fit for COA. With more than 20 years of child, adolescent and family behavioral health experience in the private and public sectors, she brings a unique perspective to COA as to how we can continue to adapt and evolve to further support better outcomes for children and families. Her field work, regulator experience and accreditation experience in behavioral health will be a tremendous asset in that regard, as will her demonstrated record of leading innovation and change.
Over the next 10 months I will be working closely with Jody to ensure a smooth transition and assist with the launch this spring of COA 2020, a streamlined and transformational approach to accreditation. I am very proud of the work COA has done so far, and in many ways, the best is yet to come.
During my 17 plus years at COA I have seen many changes in the human services world. Today – perhaps more than ever before – the work that our community does is critical. I have often said that human service professionals are undervalued. What they do is literally life changing. They are just as much “first responders” as fire fighters and law enforcement: Our agencies are emotional first aid stations for their neighborhoods.
As I look to take on new challenges at COA and in life, I am overwhelmed with appreciation for the opportunity that I have had to play a small part in that world. Leaving COA will not be easy, but I am comforted by remembering the wise words of Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”