By LESLEY TOTH
Mille Lacs County Times
The retirement of the longtime director of the Mille Lacs County Developmental Achievement Center in Milaca has opened up new opportunities for its new leader.
“I was fortunate that I was able to work with the previous director, Fred Hoffman, for three months,” new DAC Director Rod Peltoma said. “He was a terrific mentor.”
Peltoma brings decades of experience working in residential group homes throughout central Minnesota to the table.
“I have worked in residential care for 30 years. And residential care is a lot of weekends, nights and on-call,” Peltoma said. “I saw the ad for the position and thought this would be a nice opportunity for change.”
With traditional hours, Peltoma said he will have more time to spend hunting, fishing, and attending his son’s college hockey games at Bowling Green University in Ohio.
“This has been a joy. I can honestly say that I haven’t received any calls late into the evenings,” he said smiling.
Peltoma earned his degrees in physical and special education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He started his work in special needs care at Pinewood Learning Center in Cloquet and went on to develop intermediate care facilities across the central area of the state for Oak Ridge Homes.
Throughout his career in residential care, Peltoma worked with five different developmental achievement centers.
“So I did get to see how various DACs operated,” he said. “I saw what worked and what didn’t.”
And from what he heard from other centers and those in the field, Mille Lacs’ center was doing something right.
“I asked around. It’s a well respected organization,” he said. “We have excellent, well-qualified staff here and that’s the strength of the organization.”
For the full story, see the Thursday, Feb. 2 print edition of the Times.