Community members from DDI Walk

Career Climbers

Staff Member Promotions
Every DDI employee touches the lives of the individuals and families we support. While our 1,900 employees have diverse roles, we are all inspired by our collective purpose to help children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities experience personal growth and fulfillment.
Please join us in congratulating these talented staff members for excelling in their roles and being promoted within the agency. They are a shining example of the potential you can achieve when you are people inspired by purpose.

Sheila Thurman


Sheila Thurman, BSN, has been appointed Director of OPWDD Nursing Services at Developmental Disabilities Institute.


Sheila began her nursing career as a Licensed Practical Nurse at Developmental Disabilities Institute in 2001. This gave her a unique experience and perspective on the important work nursing has on the ID/DD population, which motivated her to obtain her Associates in Nursing at Suffolk County Community College and her Baccalaureate in Nursing at Chamberlain University.


She spent the early part of her RN career as an Infection Preventionist and Assistant Director of Nursing at St. Catherine’s of Siena Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center before transitioning back to Developmental Disabilities Institute as the Nursing Supervisor of Adult Services in 2017.  She is currently attending Chamberlain University for her Masters in Nursing, Executive Track.


With a background in OPWDD, she is passionate about the individuals she serves as well as being a nurse, advocate, and educator. She is inspired by the services provided at Developmental Disabilities Institute that promote health, wellness and independence.


Sheila has been married to her husband for 17 years and has 4 children.



Dr. Rich Timo


Dr. Richard Timo has been appointed Director of OPWDD Behavioral Health Services at Developmental Disabilities Institute. 


Dr. Timo began his career as a Direct Support Professional in a group home in Brooklyn, NY. 


He completed his Master’s degree in General / Experimental Psychology at St. John’s University and worked as a Behavior Intervention Specialist while completing his Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, also at St. John’s University.


Dr. Timo has provided psychological/behavioral services supporting individuals with special needs in various clinical, educational, and administrative roles for over 37 years.  Additionally, he has managed a private therapy practice and worked as a consultant for NYS Department of Civil Service.  He is also currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Suffolk County Community College and a Lecturer at St. Joseph’s College. 


He joined DDI in October 2016 as the Supervising Licensed Psychologist for Adult Services.  In addition to supporting the mental health and behavioral needs of men, women and children with developmental disabilities, Dr. Timo is also Chair of the Human Rights Committee.


He has been married to Dr. Deena Williams-Timo for 36 years, and they have one son.

Phil Capuano


Mr. Capuano came to DDI as an Employment Specialist for the Supported Employment Program in January 2018 with an extensive managerial background and a bachelor’s degree. Mr. Capuano held various managerial roles at Staples from 2004-2017. As acting manager of Staples, he implemented a more efficient packing system for the trucks that is still in use today.


Since coming to DDI, Mr. Capuano has shown tremendous growth and reliability. He has become the senior staff who is always willing to assist and step in as needed. During the pandemic, Mr. Capuano was deployed to Adult Residential Services (ARS), where he demonstrated flexibility and quickly adapted to the change in environment and responsibilities. Since his return to Adult Day Services (ADS), Mr. Capuano has taken great initiative in creating daily schedules and developing internship sites. He also continues to assist DDI by working for ARS several weekend shifts. Mr. Capuano is a committed member of the DDI family and an exemplary staff member. We are happy to announce Mr. Capuano’s promotion to Assistant Manager.