Archbold, OH

DD Board Veteran New Superintendent

The Fulton County Board of Developmental Disabilities has named Beth Friess as its new superintendent.

The announcement came Monday, Oct. 8, following a special meeting of the board.

Friess replaces Brenda Oyer, Archbold, who has held the post since June 1, 2005. Oyer announced her resignation in May to continue her education.

Penny Earl, president of the DD Board, said there were 13 applications for the post of DD Board superintendent. A screening committee reduced that number to four, then selected two for interviews.

“There was Beth and another woman. Both were qualified, and both were interviewed by the full board,” Earl said.

The board conducted the interviews in executive session of Tuesday, Sept. 25. Following the interviews, the board discussed the candidates, Earl said.

Then, in an executive session on Monday, the board met and selected Friess.

Friess is a 19-year veteran of the Fulton County board. Her first job with the board was as an early intervention specialist. She moved up to early childhood coordinator, and was named children’s services director in 1998.

She has attended executive development and superintendent development training programs offered by the Ohio Association of County Boards of Mental Retardation and Development Disabilities.

Friess holds a master’s degree, Earl said.


“Beth is committed to the job she has now. She gives 120%,” Earl said.

“She’s been with the board long enough to know what we want as a board, and what’s best for our clients,” she said.

“She has a good handle on what we need.”

Friess currently does not hold a DD board superintendent certificate, but now that she has the job, she qualifies for it, Earl said.

A contract for Friess has been turned over to Roger Nagel, Fulton County prosecuting attorney, for review.

“Beth is happy with the contract. She’ll wait until we get the contract back and sign it,” Earl said.

Friess will be paid $75,000 per year, which is very close to what Oyer would have been receiving following a schedule pay raise.


At the time of her resignation, Oyer said her intention is to pursue a doctorate degree.

In a statement to the board, she said, “I feel it is time for me to pursue a goal have had for a long time, and that is to obtain a Ph.D.

“It is simply not possible for me to pursue a Ph.D. and devote the time and attention needed to being an effective superintendent.”


Earl said the other finalist for the post was Melinda Slusser, children’s services director of the Wood County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

Like Friess, Earl said Slusser had spent a long time working her way up through several positions at the Wood County Board, and like Friess, she was eligible for the superintendent certificate.

In addition to a master’s degree, Earl said Slusser also holds a law degree.

“She said she’s the kind of person who’s not happy unless she’s learning something.

“She was a very good candidate, and she will make a good superintendent for someone, but she just wasn’t for us,” Earl said.


Friess is the fourth superintendent at the DD board in just over five years.

Debb Stanforth held the job for about 15 years, but resigned amidst controversy in August 2002. Dan Pfahl took over the position in May 2003, but resigned, again amidst controversy, in December 2004.

Oyer took over the post in 2005, and announced resignation just shy of two years later.

Earl was quick to point out the circumstances of Oyer’s resignation were not the same as Stanforth’s and Pfahl’s.

“Brenda was a very good superintendent. There were no problems with Brenda. We were pleased with her work.

“She was very compassionate. Her integrity, her honesty- she was very good at what she did.

“We’re sad to see her go, but we don’t want to stop someone from following their dreams. We want our clients to follow their dreams. We should do the same for our employees,” Earl said.- David Pugh

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