First Selectman Fred Camillo announced on Thursday that after an intensive five-month search, a new Commissioner Human Services, Demetria Nelson, has been hired. She will start on August 24.
Since 2016, Ms. Nelson has been the Administrative Director for the
Addiction Treatment Services at the BronxCare Health System where she has been responsible for the administration and oversight of five addiction treatment programs (outpatient addictions, inpatient rehabilitation, inpatient detoxification, methadone maintenance, and community residence) and one supplementary grant-funded TCE-HIV
Ms. Nelson holds a LCSW and has 18 years of experience in the field of human services, 15 years of experience in addiction and mental health, and 13 years of increasing supervisory/managerial experience.
Ms. Nelson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University. She went on to earn a Master of Social Work from Columbia University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College.
“We believe Demetria will provide the strong leadership and vision the Department of Human Services needs to move into the future,” said Board Chair Alan Gunzburg.
Ms. Nelson succeeds Dr. Alan Barry who is retiring after leading the department for 10 years. Dr. Barry was set to retire in May but delayed his departure to see the department through the pandemic and assist with the transition to a new Commissioner.
First Selectman Camillo said, “I look forward to working with Demetria as the Town continues to address and serve the needs of our most vulnerable residents. I have confidence in her ability to lead the Department of Human Services and the staff in providing critical services to our residents.”
Mr. Camillo thanked Dr. Barry for his dedicated service to the Town’s residents during the past decade.
“His dedication is evidenced by his unselfish decision to delay his retirement as the global pandemic took hold months ago. Under his leadership, the department has been able to provide for the growing need for services for our residents.”
“We are indebted to Dr. Barry for his sage leadership and counsel over the years, especially in these last few months. He raised the bar and changed the face of the Greenwich Human Services Department over the last decade and we will be forever grateful,” Mr. Gunzberg said.
The Search Committee worked with The Strategy Group, LLC of Darien, CT, to conduct a “focused, regional search” over the last several months. Ms. Nelson was chosen from a field of highly qualified applicants during a rigorous interview process with the board and town and administrative leadership.
“The positive feedback from Search Committee members about Demetria was overwhelming,” Mr. Gunzburg said. “Some of the adjectives used to describe Ms. Nelson were ‘engaging, intelligent, conscientious, hardworking, genuine, and kind.’”
A former colleague said that “Demetria has many strengths, but what sets her apart from others is her excellent capacity to build relationships – people really like her.”
Ms. Nelson’s mother, Nonia Pauline Nelson, was a home health aide in the Greenwich Department of Human Services several years ago.
Ms. Nelson was a case worker for a brief time from 2002-2004.