GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Board of Developmental Disabilities superintendent Rosalie Durbin will be stepping back at the end of August and handing the reigns over to prospective superintendent Pamela Combs.
According to Durbin, she is a Gallia County native and has served as the Gallia Board of Developmental Disabilities superintendent for 21 years.
“I started out as a special education teacher in the Gallipolis City Schools,” Durbin said. “I have been area supervisor of special education programs in four local districts and special education supervisor in both Gallia County Schools and Gallipolis City Schools, and even served as junior high principal for (Gallipolis City Schools) for a period of two years.”
Durbin has attended Ohio State University, Ohio University and Marshall University. She has a bachelor degree in special education, a masters in special education and additional coursework to receive certifications in educational administration.
“I’ve always been interested in special education,” Durbin said. “I love working with people with disabilities, children with disabilities and it’s so rewarding to me to see the progress they are capable of making. I truly find joy in this field as far as working not only with the great staff we have here (at Guiding Hand School and Gallco workshops), but also providing for the needs of the individuals we serve and seeing them grow and progress to their potential.”
Durbin oversees programs with early children all the way through school age as well as adults in the Gallco workshops.
Durbin shared with the Tribune that she plans to enjoy her retirement with her husband and visit her sons in Columbus. The superintendent said it would be hard to leave her students and colleagues behind after dedicating her life to the education of individuals with developmental disabilities, but she was ready for some quiet time before deciding her next major choices in life.
Durbin has overseen the education of hundreds of students as well as collaborated with dozens of local and state organizations to bring services to Gallia County that may have otherwise not existed. She helped take part in seeing the Guiding Hand School come to fruition after moving from the previous school’s location in Cheshire, which now houses the Gallia County Work Release Center.
“I really hope that everyone is more aware in the community of individuals with disabilities and sees more into their abilities and what they can contribute; that they are more accepted as members of the community,” said Durbin.
Durbin said she was grateful for the chance to work with the Gallia Board of Developmental Disabilities and county commissioners as well as other agencies responsible for helping gather grant funds for the Guiding Hand School facility. The building was constructed in the mid-2000s. She said she has been blessed to have her colleagues and board members’ support.
With that, Durbin will not leave the new superintendent alone. She plans to stay on for a temporary period of time to help acclimate the new Gallia superintendent and provide guidance before finally bidding farewell to students and colleagues.
Gallia County’s Board of Developmental Disabilities’ new superintendent will be Pamela Combs, previously the provider relations director with the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities. According to information provided by the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, Combs started her work in Licking County in 2012 and served as the board’s first provider relations director. She previously served as a deputy director with the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services and oversaw Help Me Grow contracts, Medicaid services and developmental disability waivers.
Combs has a master’s degree in organizational communication from the University of North Texas and certificates in developmental disability studies and community inclusion from Kent State University.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.