Leadership Development

Leaders are essential to the success of state efforts to promote the well-being and full community participation of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and to support their families. NASDDDS Board of Directors has created an ongoing investment in the development of state leadership through a variety of means.

State Staff Forum

With the first meeting at the 2021 Mid Year NASDDDS conference, the state staff forum provides a venue for developing and emerging state leaders to experience similar peer development as directors. From sharing of best practices to honest discussions about the pressure of the position, the conference forums serve as the only personal peer to peer conference event for state I/DD leaders.

Affinity and Work Groups

NASDDDS offers a variety of topic specific groups which meet ongoing or for limited timeframes addressing highly technical areas of I/DD supports. Emerging leaders with expertise in these areas are encouraged to attend. Contact Carrie McGraw for more information at cmcgraw@nasddds.org.

The Gary Smith Scholarship for Public Managers

The Gary Smith Scholarship for Public Managers was established by the NASDDDS Board of Directors in honor of Gary Smith, an extraordinary leader in the intellectual/developmental disabilities field who was intensely committed to making state government intellectual/developmental disabilities agencies effective at delivering good services and achieving good outcomes for people. Gary served in senior management positions in the states of Illinois and Colorado. As the Director of Special Projects for NASDDDS from 1987 to 2001 and an expert in state operations and the use of Medicaid to fund services, Gary was well known for confronting state agencies with respectful criticism and the challenge to perform better and helping them do so.

Recognizing the importance of public professionals to receive leadership training and for other participants to be involved with state leaders during leadership training, the NASDDDS Board of Directors approved an annual contribution to the Gary Smith Scholarship Fund to support the participation of one participant from state government at the University of Delaware Leadership Consortium, held twice yearly. The scholarship fund in Gary Smith’s name is a legacy to support others who work for state, local, or the federal government in their pursuit to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

What is the University of Delaware Leadership Consortium?

This week-long, leadership development program is designed for both current executive-level leaders and emerging leaders. Participants may work in organizations that provide, advocate for, or fund supports for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families.

The focus of the Institute is on assessing and strengthening leadership skills, setting organizational direction, and understanding the future of the intellectual/developmental disabilities field.

For more information about the University of Delaware National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities go to www.nlcdd.org.

Who is Eligible?

Individuals working in state and local government agencies providing services and supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

What is Covered by the Scholarship?

The scholarship covers tuition and travel expenses.