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In the Spotlight » Employees of the Month

Employees of the Month


Jennifer Gregor EOM (holding plaque)

Jennifer Gregor

Human Resources Assistant

Administration - Smithtown


If you have ever come to DDI’s Hollywood Drive Campus and stopped at the front reception desk, you've most likely spoken to Jennifer Gregor.


In her role as Human Resources Assistant, Jennifer works at the front desk answering phones, greeting guests and parents and tending to the needs of employees, whether in person or on the phone. Jennifer manages to make working at the front desk, distractions and all, look easy!  Jennifer always maintains a positive, calm attitude and is a real team player! 


During the peak of the pandemic, Jennifer was at DDI’s Hollywood Drive building every day to assist coworkers who were working remotely and in program - relaying messages, opening mail, filling PPE orders, copying and scanning documents, etc. We were all successful because of her efforts!


Jennifer is a dedicated employee who is quick to offer to help out and assume additional tasks. Recently, during the absence of one of the HR department team members, Jennifer took on processing tuition reimbursement and ID badges and didn't miss a beat! Jennifer has a strong work ethic and likes to keep busy. She even has an almost perfect attendance record, which is a testament to her dedication to DDI.




Employee of the Month Mary Newman 

Mary Newman

Education Behavior Specialist

Early Childhood Services – Ronkonkoma


Always going above and beyond for the good of the students and staff, Mary Newman is a compassionate, skilled supervisor. She will often study the strengths and weaknesses of each student and make sure the teachers have what they need to be successful in helping each one of them.


It is important to Mary that her staff are happy, respected, valued and heard. She knows that will trickle down to happy and successful students, which results in a successful DDI. She will often treat staff to raffles or breakfast if there is a challenging week or simply stop into the classrooms to make sure everyone has what they need and treat staff to her wonderful sense of humor to make them smile.


Mary, by example, gives her staff the passion to live and work by DDI’s core values. She is truly invaluable to DDI and her team.




 Dawn Herbst Employee of the Month

Dawn Herbst

Teacher Assistant

Early Childhood Services / Medford Campus


Dawn demonstrates the utmost integrity, dignity and compassion every day with both staff and students. She uses her own personal experiences with children with autism and shares this knowledge effectively with staff. Dawn helps to foster a creative learning environment for her students and helps team members grow as individuals and as teachers. She even set up a photo booth and arranged a pizza party at her family’s pizza parlor for staff.


Dawn’s heart is always in her work, and she brings her best self to every interaction. DDI is proud to recognize her for all of her talents!





EOM Michelle Reser-Kalb

Michelle Reser-Kalb

Children’s Day Program – Huntington

Behavior Specialist


Michelle Reser-Kalb is an excellent Behavior Specialist who cares deeply for each one of her students. She makes sure that they receive the best education possible and goes the extra mile for families to ensure their needs are met to the best of her ability.


Michelle is the ultimate team player and does anything asked of her with a smile and great tenacity. She always has a kind word and can make a seemingly impossible situation manageable.


Michelle is the backbone of the Children’s Day Program in Huntington. She does so much and her unending support for students and staff cannot be overstated.


Congratulations, Michelle. We are so grateful for all that you do each and every day.



Employee of the Month Karen DeLaura


Karen DeLaura

Speech Therapist

Children’s Day Program – Smithtown


Karen is an exemplary employee and has been an amazing speech provider for many years. Not only is she a skilled professional in providing speech therapy but she also goes above and beyond her role each day. She works well with every student and works as a true team player with all members of her students’ teams. Karen serves as an outstanding role model and trainer for new speech providers and is the first person to assist in any emergency situation.


She always maintains a positive and upbeat attitude and keeps her department up to date, while building seamless transitions among other departments.


Karen’s dedication to the Children’s Day Program staff and students is unmatched, and her hard work is greatly appreciated.




EOM Kerry O'Donnell

Kerry O'Donnell
Direct Support Professional

Children's Residential Program


Kerry is an amazing Direct Support Professional, who takes great pride in her work. She provides care and instruction for not only her own residence but also the other residences when, and if, the need arises. She is friendly and professional and has recently finished her Master’s degree in clinical psychology.


Kerry is quick to help anyone in need of assistance, especially during the pandemic, and is well-respected by her colleagues and supervisors. When faced with challenges, Kerry remains calm and stays positive. She has a heart of gold and is a fierce advocate for the children she supports.


One of the children will even request her by name, saying, “I want O’Donnell as counselor.”


Congratulations, Kerry. We thank you for your outstanding commitment and wish you much continued success.




 Jack Vero Employee of the Month

Jack Vero

Maintenance Mechanic

Children’s Residential Program – Smithtown


Jack Vero is amazing and goes above and beyond for the entire Children’s Residential Program. If you ask him for something, he takes care of it immediately! He has a difficult job being on call, making repairs, shoveling snow and coming in on the weekends. His job is never-ending, but he does it with a smile on his face and never complains. He is always courteous and respectful and works diligently to keep the houses in great shape. We are so thankful for his dedication and exemplary work ethic.



Felicia Graham EOM

Felicia Graham

Adult Residential Program Manager - Adult Residential Services East 

Date of Hire: 11/2010

Felicia has been a part of the DDI family for over ten years, and every year she has been a great leader. She stands up to every one of DDI’s core principles and is the perfect example of what a leader and manager should be. Felicia never hesitates to step in and assist wherever she is needed. She has succeeded in running her own house while simultaneously covering other houses with extreme staffing challenges. She always takes the time to recognize and thank all staff, and she is amazing at her job. Thank you, Felicia, for being a person inspired by purpose!



Alexis Furbush

 Alexis Furbush

Assistant Residential Manager - Adult Residential Services

Date of Hire: 12/2019


Congratulations to Alexis, the Adult Residential West Employee of the Month. She is always able and willing to lend a helping hand. Alexis has jumped in to help houses during staffing challenges and has taken on a leadership role to make sure that everything is accomplished as needed. She has been nothing short of amazing across multiple residential programs.


Hattie McPherson EOM


Hattie McPherson – Children’s Residential Program

Assistant Residential Manager

DOH: 03/12/2018


In addition to performing her job at an exemplary level, Hattie demonstrates an extraordinary commitment within the residence to the individuals that she supports. This past holiday season, as the entire residence was on a 14-day quarantine, she worked to continuously provide comfort for the residents that could not spend time with their families. Hattie is dedicated and compassionate and she always tries to lift the spirits of those around her. She is an invaluable team member and a prime example of what an employee of the month represents.




Lauren Saxon EOM

Lauren Saxon

Children’s Day Program, Little Plains

Transition Specialist

DOH: 08/08/2016


Lauren is a very special person not only for what she brings to her students but also for what she brings to the morale of the school.  She is a strong support for some of the most challenging students.  She connects with the kids on a deep level, and her interactions with them are so genuine. Lauren is the brainchild behind many school-wide spirit events, making school and work so much more fun for everyone. Lauren comes to work with ideas on how to make DDI a better place, and she always puts forth all of her efforts to make ideas become reality.



 Lindsey Krevitsky Employee of the Month

Lindsey Krevitsky

Children’s Day Program, Hollywood Drive

Behavior Support Worker

DOH: 05/23/2016


Lindsey is a shining light in the Children’s Day Program, especially during the pandemic and during the transition back to onsite services.  She exceeds expectations not only for the students but for staff. She is currently helping run a classroom, she has become an integral part of the ACE team, she trains staff in various professional development areas, welcomes the most challenging students, and she even makes educational materials for some of the teachers to help support their remote students. Lindsey is the definition of a team player.





Employee of the Month Keith Desousa

Keith Desousa, Building Services - Custodian


The employees that work in the building with Keith have wonderful things to say about him. Below are just a few:


  • Keith is always pleasant and makes our entire wing smile while he cleans around us.
  • The cleaning in our classrooms has never been done so well, and our rooms have never looked so good!
  • I especially have confidence that disinfection has been done thoroughly, and I have trust and confidence in Keith’s abilities to keep the employees and students safe.
  • I can tell that he takes pride in his work because he truly makes sure my room is clean and safe.
  • Keith always comes to my room with a smile on his face and a kind greeting.  The kids in my class love to say hello to him when he visits.


Congratulations to Keith on this well-deserved honor!




EOM Nelson Abraham



Nelson Abraham, Adult Day Services - Assistant Day Program Manager


Nelson is valued most for his initiative and forethought to important details in the care and understanding of the individuals he works with.   He has gained the respect of all staff he works with, and he encourages them to perform at their best.  He is a strong mentor for new staff, and he has been a part of the mentor program for many years.  Nelson also works on self-advocacy projects, an individual spot award program, and other countless initiatives and projects. Nelson is diligent, fair, efficient, and thorough. 




Webster Morris, Transportation Department - Transportation Manager


"Web" has been a DDI employee for over 26 years! He is always dependable and can be counted on to jump in and help with any issue or concern.  He is willing to make anything work. During the current pandemic, he has been instrumental in getting the needed supplies and important paperwork to all of the group homes and even to some employees’ personal residences when needed and stepping in to help with the new hire orientation and training process. 


Web is seen as a role model for all of DDI’s core values of integrity, dignity, compassion, and teamwork.  He has been a skilled trainer, especially for new employees, always stressing the importance of safety and attentiveness.  He is consistently responsive to emergencies of any sort across the agency and always has the “whatever it takes” attitude in all that he does for DDI.  Web epitomizes what it means to work together, he takes pride in his work, and always has a positive upbeat attitude.


Congratulations, Web. We thank you for being a person inspired by purpose!



Cheryl B. Employee of the month


Cheryl Bolduc, Adult Residential Services - Assistant Residential Manager


Cheryl is a key person in maintaining a warm and loving atmosphere in her residence.  She truly cares about all of the individuals, their families and the employees.  Cheryl is a self-starter and has a takes-initiative personality. She is compassionate and creative and has done an amazing job with the gentlemen of the house in helping them adjust to their new normal routines due to COVID-19.  She has done a great job maintaining the structure needed to remain both physically and mentally active without adding any unnecessary stress to an already difficult adjustment period.




Joephine R. EOM


Josephine Rodriguez, Adult Residential Services - Cook/Housekeeper 


Josephine is an integral part of her residential team.  She truly puts in 100% percent at all times and is passionate about her job at DDI, the wellbeing of the ladies that live in the house and her teammates.  Josephine’s role in keeping the individuals motivated and positive during the Covid-19 crisis has been a tremendous support to everyone. Josephine jumps into any role that needs to be fulfilled and makes the ladies' happiness her number one priority.



EOM Webster Morris



Webster has been a DDI employee for over 25 years! He is always dependable and can be counted on to jump in and help with any issue or concern.  He is willing to make anything work. During the current pandemic, he has been instrumental in getting the needed supplies and important paperwork to all of the group homes and even to some employees' personal residences when needed and stepping in to help with the new hire orientation and training process.  Webster epitomizes what it means to work together, he takes pride in his work and always has a positive upbeat attitude. Webster is most deserving of being our Transportation Employee of the Month!




EOM Heather Kuhn



Heather is the go-to person in the Human Resources Department for EVERYTHING!  She plays a critical role in almost every project and continuously updates her wide range of knowledge and skills. Heather has been instrumental during the pandemic managing the absences and benefits for all of the employees who were out for COVID-related reasons.  Heather is never hesitant to take on new projects or to help out any co-worker in need.  Most importantly, Heather does all of her work with the employees and individuals that DDI serves always at the front of her mind.  This truly makes her a person inspired by purpose and a very deserving recipient of the Administration Employee of the Month Award.



Congratulations! We applaud your commitment to the people supported by DDI and your fellow team members.