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Our organization can only succeed by the dedication and passion of our Board of Directors.  Our Board consists of individuals in recovery, friends and family members, and allies with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences from all over the state of Ohio.


If you are interested in joining the OCAAR Board of Directors please complete an OCAAR Board of Directors Application and submit it along with a current resume or Curriculum Vitae to: sthompson@oca-ohio.org

Board Member Application

Ben Ertel




Chris Ruff

Vice Chair



Greg Delaney

Board Director


Greg Klima

Board Director

Gregory Klima is a graduate of Wittenberg University (B.A. summa cum laude), with degrees in Philosophy, Business Administration and Political Science, and the Harvard Law School (J.D.).  Greg has been an Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter for persons with mental health and substance abuse challenges since 2015.  He serves as a Master Facilitator for OhioMHAS Peer Recovery Supporter trainings.  He also has been trained as a facilitator for NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer Education Program and its Family-to-Family Education Program.  Greg is the Special Projects Manager for Let’s Get Real, Inc., a recovery community organization located in Lorain, Ohio, and manages Let’s Get Real’s operations in Huron County, Ohio.  He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of NAMI Lorain County.  He is a free-lance writer and also manages the Proofpoint Technology Security training for The Garland Company in Cleveland, Ohio.

Kathy Elson

Board Director

Kathy Elson MS, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, MAC, SAP is an Associate Professor in the Mental Health and Addiction Services Department at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH. She has worked in direct care for over 25 years and in education for the past 14 years. She is the lead faculty member for the Addiction Services degree at Sinclair and is responsible for ensuring the curriculum meets the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board requirements for eligibility for licensure in Ohio. She has special interest in the development of students in recovery and how to integrate personal experiences with professionalism. Elson is the most recent past president of the International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education (INCASE), and a member of NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals.

Candice Greenwade

Board Director

Candice Greenwade is a visionary leader in the field of education who is committed to the needs of youth and families. She serves as Executive Director and Head of School for Heartland High School.


She was previously the Director of Youth and Family Services at the Columbus Urban League, where she was responsible for overseeing economic opportunities and community change for public system reform. Under her leadership, she pioneered a summer-work program for inner-city youth and developed strategies and systems to ensure economically challenged youth were provided stability and opportunities.


Candice’s previous work in behavioral health allows her to have a unique perspective when meeting with Heartland’s students and families. At Pomegranate Health Systems Acute Hospital and Center for Psychiatry, she lead the Community Psychiatric Supportive Treatment team. Prior to her tenure at Pomegranate, she served as a Treatment Manager at Pastoral Counseling Service of Summit County. Candice also served as the Educational Director at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, and as an Academic Advisor for the Strive for Excellence Program at her alma mater, the University of Akron.

Gary Gonnella

Board Director


Sarah Thompson

Executive Director

Sarah Thompson joined OCAAR as the new Executive Director in 2015.  In 2012, Sarah began her career in the nonprofit sector when she was an active member in the AmeriCorps, providing direct services to at-risk youth in Hawaii.  Following her volunteer service in Hawaii, she began her journey advocating for addiction recovery with the Ohio Physicians Health Program, where she was able to see firsthand the impact advocacy has on individuals, families, and communities throughout the State of Ohio.  Sarah stays active in the community by volunteering her time advocating for women's and girl's issues and helping build a stronger society through a professional women's network. In additional her professional experience, she had her own personal experience with recovery, a strong education of the non-profit sector and robust understanding of fundraising.  Sarah is a champion for the recovery community, and a young thoughtful leader dedicated to ensuring Ohioans have the resources and opportunities necessary to enter and sustain long-term recovery.  Sarah studied Public Affairs at The Ohio State University with a specialty in Non-Profit Management.