Mr. Shannon brings so much to the table to enhance the lives of the individuals and Team Members here at Vanderheyden.
William A. Shannon is the Director of Residential Services, where he oversees the cottages and campus life of our many individuals at our Wynantskill location.
Shannon, from Waterbury, Connecticut, said he aspired to be a newscaster, and received a bachelor's degree in Communications/Radio and Television, with a minor in English, from Wilburforce University in Ohio.
After graduation, his first job in human services was at a halfway house in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he held the title of assistant director, before moving up to the director position.
Because of this experience, Shannon said he decided to switch gears.
"With the rate of recidivism, I thought maybe I can be a teacher," he said.
Shannon said he started a new career path as a substitute teacher, to see if he would like it.
He worked at the Kolburne School in New Marlborough, Massachusetts, a residential treatment center for youths and young adults, where he was a child care worker, and eventually became Administrator on Duty.
"I came up (from Connecticut) and never left the field. I stayed there for 11 years," Shannon said.
During his tenure at the Kolburne School, Shannon said he moved to Columbia County and opened up an antique store, while commuting to Western Massachusetts.
His antique offerings included an eclectic array of items such as oil lamps, small unique furniture items in various shapes and sizes, and so much more.
Last year for the holiday season, the second floor of Vanderheyden's Administration building was adorned with old fashioned teddy bears, which he donated to the children. And this year, thanks to Shannon, an array of beautifully decorated antique sleds graced our campus.
The antique store turned out to be the catalyst for another career change for Shannon.
One day, a customer came in to the store, and they started to talk about his career, he said.
You need to apply," Shannon said. "She was the CEO of Berkshire Farms. Please apply."
Shannon spent 14 years at Berkshire Farms as a House Manager, in the Quality Assurance department, and with the Independent Living Program as a director and assistant director.
For the last four years, Shannon has been a member of the Vanderheyden community, which he said has a family feel.
"There is a lot of trials and tribulations, but at the end of the day, the Vanderheyden staff look out for you," he said. "They really try to instill a sense of family and comradery."
Shannon said it's the successes of the children that keeps him here.
"I appreciate seeing the children every day," he said. "Hugs, high fives, handshakes, morning acknowledgements, afternoon acknowledgements."
"It's a good feeling if I miss a day, and they (the individuals) ask 'where were you?'" he said.
Shannon said he was most impressed with the ongoing Holiday Program, where last year, Vanderheyden was able to fill over 430 gift requests, and provide holiday dinners to the individuals and families we serve.
In his spare time, Shannon loves taking care of his five dogs and two cats, and loves to go antiquing for "old treasures."
One of his favorite collectibles are globes, and has many of all shapes, sizes and materials, proudly displayed in his office on campus.
"If I can't travel the world, at least I can look at it," Shannon said.
He also likes gardening, and "growing and giving away vegetables."
Shannon also likes to read book from the twists and turns of Stephen King to Harry Potter, and enjoys movies and comedies.
"We need to laugh more," he said.
Thank you, Mr. Shannon, for caring, enriching our lives, and for being such a positive role model for our individuals and Team Members.