New Vance County DSS director acclimating in first week

Oct. 16, 2013 @ 07:50 PM

Antonia Pedroza is halfway through her first week as the new director of the Vance County Department of Social Services.

After a five-month search, the county has instated a new leader in the Department of Social Services during a critical time. As a result of the federal government shutdown, transportation services were suspended for Work First Program recipients and funding for non-Smart Start childcare is dwindling.

But Pedroza’s experience as the assistant director for Durham County DSS has made the transition much easier.

“In my role in Durham, my last day there looked almost like my first day here,” she said. “It doesn’t make it any easier for the people we are serving, but I can’t imagine coming in this situation not having that background.”

Jerry Ayscue, the county manager, is confident she’s prepared for the challenges.

“She is very up to date and current with the latest information on the shutdown and the impact of it,” Ayscue said. “She hit the ground running, which has been very helpful.”

Vance County Commissioner Terry Garrison said the Social Services Board hired Pedroza about 30 days ago.

“She has a wealth of experience with social services administration and program operations,” he said. “She came highly recommended.”

Former director Linda Fry resigned at the beginning of June after serving just seven months. Fry said she had met with the DSS board two weeks before she resigned, and was told that her management style did not meet the needs of the county’s department.

Garrison said the board unanimously voted for Pedroza to fill the vacant position.

Pedroza has worked in childcare services as well as disability and rehabilitation programs for adults. She holds a master’s degree in business and health administration from Pfeiffer University.

She was born and raised in Ohio with her 17 brothers and sisters, but she has lived in North Carolina for about 30 years.

“I love his area, Vance County, and I love Kerr Lake,” she said. “When this position opened, I was very interested.”

Pedroza said she believes in building connections.

“I really believe that relationships are important in every county and especially important in smaller counties,” she said. “I like people a lot, and I can honestly say that building relationships has come naturally for me.”

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.