John Severtson, CEO of Opportunity Village, announced Monday that he plans to retire at the end of May 2014.
Severtson started at the Village in 1983 as development director. He later took on the role of assistant executive director for 15 years and was chosen as CEO in 2002.
He is the fourth person to head the non-profit Village since it was incorporated in 1966. The first director was Don Boyer, who was followed by Ralph Schroeder as interim director when Boyer passed away suddenly. Gary Mrosko served more than 17 years as director, and Severtson took the helm when Mrosko retired.
Severtson said the Village Board of Directors has had discussions and a “plan to plan” for the succession of leadership at the Village for many years. Now the Board will be actively carrying out their responsibilities as the governing body of the organization to search for a successor. Vickie Snyder, vice president, has been appointed to head the search committee.
“By this time next year, we will have a good start on the transitioning of services from the campus into community homes,” Severtson said. “The Village is a healthy organization with excellent, dedicated and experienced staff, starting at the direct support level thru leadership. The support of the greater community is solid. Our administrative team is highly respected throughout the state.
“Most of all, individuals that are receiving services experience privacy, dignity and purpose. We all work hard each day to demonstrate respect for their capabilities and their potential. In short, the Village is an authentic, caring community that has an amazing capacity to do what it takes.”
Severtson’s father, the Rev. Murley Severtson, was one of the founders of the Village during the 1960s. Then known as “Handicap Village,” the non-profit charitable organization began serving individuals with disabilities in 1971.
Today, Opportunity Village provides supports to nearly 600 people of all ages throughout northern Iowa. Services include job skill training and work opportunities, supports for living in the community, therapies, and other activities for a well-rounded life.
“It is such a great blessing to be part of the Village,” Severtson said. “I will give my very best right up to the last day, because I care deeply for each person we support as well as everyone who makes that possible, staff, families, volunteers and donors. I know that the Village will continue to quietly do great things to change lives.”