Staff Stories

We are a vibrant, community-based non-profit with more than 900 employees in 35 locations across Connecticut. Our culture celebrates quality, innovation, diversity and professionalism. We foster learning and professional development, and we respect and reward meaningful contributions. Our workforce is as broad and diverse as the array of clients we serve and the programs and services we offer, and we’re bound by a passionate commitment to a common goal: to foster positive change in the lives of individuals, families and communities.

Alison Friar, LMFT, associate director, Health & Wellness Behavioral Health


Jessica Fay, LCSW, associate director, Children's Community-based Services


Douglas Kerr, payroll manager, Human Resources


Victor Gonzalez, program supervisor, Care Coordination


Victoria Prestileo, LCSW, program manager, Multidimensional Family Therapy


A Supportive Culture and Professional Growth and Development

Dieudonnee “Deedee” Kokoszka’s role within Wheeler has been a work in progress over the span of several years. She credits the organization’s supportive culture and leadership to her professional growth and development.

A clinical trainer in Wheeler’s Human Resources Department, Deedee teaches clinicians how to document services in the organization’s electronic health record system and navigate other aspects of required documentation. She also manages the agency’s internship program.

Deedee started her career in Wheeler’s Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS) as an EMPS clinician. She also worked as a clinician in the agency’s Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) program before transitioning into her current role.

“I’ve always felt supported by Wheeler, and I truly believe there’s always an opportunity to grow and learn and to acquire the skills I need to succeed,” said Deedee. “There are invaluable technological resources available to us, and we are consistently nurtured through training and other professional opportunities so that we can truly achieve our full potential.”



Staff News from Wheeler


Expanded Statewide Support for Youth in Recovery

Wheeler has launched a new statewide program to provide additional support to youth in recovery. The Connecticut Recovery-Oriented Support System for Youth (CROSS) initiative is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2017 State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant (STR) through the Connecticut Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and Children and Families (DCF).

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Wheeler Expands School-based Health Services in Bristol and Plainville

Wheeler and the Bristol and Plainville Public Schools have partnered to provide expanded access to health services for students. School-based health centers are open in Bristol at South Side School, Green Hills and West Bristol K-8 schools, as well as Chippens Hill Middle School. A new clinic will soon open at Linden Street School in Plainville.

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Wheeler's Special Education Spotlight: Understanding Anxiety in Students

In a bylined article from Wheeler’s October 2017 Education Spotlight newsletter, Dr. Mike Russo, vice president of Education and Early Childhood Services, highlights the effects of anxiety, root causes and strategies to manage this condition so that students can succeed in school and beyond.

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Mott Corporation Volunteers and Wheeler Employees Create 200 “Sweet Cases” for Youth in Foster Care and Children in Need

Nearly 20 volunteers from Farmington-based Mott Corporation and members of Wheeler’s Foster Care team gathered on October 9 to decorate and fill hundreds of “Sweet Cases,” sturdy duffel bags that included donated plush fleece blankets, travel-size personal items, activity books, stuffed animals and more for children and youth in foster care and other settings.

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Wheeler Turns 50 in 2018

Wheeler turns 50 in 2018 and celebrates a rich history grounded in the vision and generosity of local residents and community leaders.

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