The Late Adam Nicholoff Honored with Brad McFadden Award
St. Clairsville, OH – The late Adam “Nick” Nicholoff received the Brad McFadden Outstanding Educator Award at the 2022 Belmont County Exceptional Student Awards event, held at the Belmont Career Center on May 12, 2022.
The award was accepted by his wife, Sandy Nicholoff, and youngest son, Nicholas.
The Brad McFadden Award recognizes a person who has made a notable contribution to special education in Belmont County. Nick was the Director of Transition for the Belmont-Harrison-Noble County Board of Developmental Disabilities at the time of his death on February 15, 2022. In the 13 years he was with the County Board, Nick worked with students, families, educators and administrators, supporting their efforts to help children with disabilities reach their full potential.
Nick is also survived by his eldest son, Sam; his mother, Julia Nicholoff; and three siblings.
The complete text of the McFadden Award presentation follows.
“Adam Nicholoff was the Director of Transition for the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, but that is just a title. He was, in truth, a teacher, counselor, confidante and friend to those who knew him.
Nick spent the majority of his life in service to people and his personal philosophy emerged as a result. Nick understood the value of connection and the tremendous impact it has personally and professionally.
Nick believed in the One Hundred/Zero principle. Simply put, it means taking full responsibility for relationships, expecting nothing in return. This isn’t natural for most of us, but it was for Nick. He understood the paradox, in that when one takes authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not others choose to take responsibility as well.
And Nick gave one hundred percent in all he did.
Eager for new experiences as a young man, he joined the Army not long after graduating from New Jersey’s Glassboro State College. After leaving the military, Nick joined the Peace Corps where he taught school in Central America.
Nick was an educator in every sense of the word and his trainings were thoughtful, engaging, and fun. When he joined the County Board team in 2009, he emerged as a leader of their Trauma-Informed Care initiative, taking it into schools and agencies across Belmont County. He could reach the heart of every person in the room – child advocates, foster parents, direct support professionals, teachers, and even prison guards.
Nick believed every child deserved the chance to discover their potential and that the systems supporting them had an obligation to help them do just that. Educators, administrators, and parents often reached out to him. He listened carefully and then offered guidance, encouraging parents and teachers to step out of their comfort zones and see the possibilities in their child or student.
Even in the face of unimaginable health challenges, Nick continued to support and encourage others despite his own pain – he was present and he was always positive.
Intelligent, strong, honest, supportive and kind are all words to describe this New Jersey native, who adopted the Ohio Valley as his home because it was where the love of his life – Sandy – was from, and where they chose to rear their two sons, Sam and Nicholas.
There is an enormous void where he once stood, but he leaves a legacy of compassion and connection in which there is a common thread: Nick loved and inspired people.”
Belmont CBDD Earns Three-Year Accreditation Award
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – A three-year accreditation award, the highest possible term, has been given to the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities for the work it does to support people with disabilities.
A team from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities completed a comprehensive review this fall that included interviews with people served and families whose supports are provided, coordinated or funded by the County Board.
Belmont Superintendent Stephen Williams credited the Board’s focus on relationships as the key to its success.
“Relationships are what matter in life and we focus on building them with the people we support and our partners who provide their services,” Williams said. “We get to know each person and put our efforts into helping people live a great life.”
All areas of the County Board were reviewed, including personnel, service and support, health and safety, incident reporting and how effective the Board is.
The Belmont County Board of DD serves over 600 people, coordinating and/or funding supports like early intervention (birth to three), school-age assistance, transition from school to work (ages 14 to 22), job-related skill development, employment, residential, respite and transportation.
Public Input Sought
The Belmont County Board of DD is seeking citizen input regarding how it uses IDEA and Special Education Part B funds for school-age children with developmental disabilities. This funding source provides for specialized services and is administered by the Ohio Department of Education. Public comment may be made by contacting Assistant Superintendent Gloria Llewellyn in writing at the Belmont County Board of DD, 68421 Hammond Road, St. Clairsville, OH 43950, or by calling 740-695-0460, ext. 315, weekdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Belmont Board Awards Partnership Grant
Jennifer Diehl, TEAM Consulting’s in-house artist, accepts a $25,000 Partnership Grant check from Belmont CBDD Superintendent Stephen Williams for Creating HOPE Arts & T Shirts, a new project that will provide additional opportunities for adults with disabilities.
The Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities is pleased to award a $25,000 Partnership Grant to TEAM Consulting for a new project that will provide opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities to develop their talents.
The grant will be used for the artistic expression, display and sale of artwork and t-shirts through Creating HOPE Arts and T Shirts (CHATS). This new project, a collaboration between TEAM and local artists, is an expansion of what it currently offers.
“We want to break down barriers to allow for everyone to be part of art and create unity in our community,” said Karen Fisher, CEO of TEAM Consulting.
The grant will fund various projects where people of all abilities can express themselves and join the arts community through the exhibit and sale of their creations. CHATS will develop kits so people can participate in virtual and community-based artistic expression.
A Tee Shirt press, purchased through a memorial contribution from the family of the late Tom Cook, will be used to print original designs. All art will be sold via the website, www.creatinghopearts.com
Jennifer Diehl, CHATS in-house artist, said she is excited for how this grant will expand the current art program.
The Belmont County Board created its Partnership Grants program as a way to support its partners as they create, locate or enhance opportunities in the community for people with disabilities.
COUNTY BOARDS OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
The Community SSA: A New Way of Supporting People
The BHN Alliance has become known for its out of the box thinking and strong belief that the least intrusive path is the most beneficial to bettering the lives of those with disabilities. One of the ways this shows is through the newly created Community SSA position.
Tracy Johnston, who serves in the role, works with people who meet eligibility requirements, but are living relatively independent lives in the community.
“We help people maintain the independence that they love and need without interfering in their lives,” Tracy said.
Tracy does this by acting as a liaison between the person and his or her respective life plans. That can mean coordinating a ride back and forth from work to finding someone a new place to live. Whether it is reaching out to other agencies or contacting community organizations, Tracy is there to support those who just need direction, a helping hand, and a bit of perspective.
Community SSA Tracy Johnston (right) is a friend that Junior can rely on to help him get the things he wants out of life.
Her work is a crucial part of the BHN Alliance vision and is the next step in the evolution of a more integrated and cutting-edge service delivery system across Belmont, Harrison, and Noble counties.
“This Community Support model emerged after we realized that many people just need a little assistance in getting what they want out of life,” said BHN Alliance Superintendent Stephen Williams. “We connect them with community resources without enrolling them in specific services they don’t want or need.”
Tracy sees herself as more than just another support to those eligible for services.
“My favorite part of the job is helping people understand that I am their friend and will help whenever they need. Whether it be just to talk or to help them connect to resources, I am there without being overly intrusive.”
And that’s what Tracy does each and every day.