“I’ve been blessed to have my position for over 41 years,” said Boysen. “I’m excited to take a step back and focus on helping however I can with the capital campaign. I know the organization will be in great hands with Colleen Fuchs. Colleen has played such a pivotal role in many of our key initiatives over the past year and will make an outstanding executive director. I couldn’t think of a better individual to leave this very important, life-changing work to.”
Tireless advocate for children will step into volunteer capital campaign role
After four decades of service, Dick Boysen has announced plans to retire as executive director of Joya Child & Family Development (formerly the Spokane Guilds’ School & Neuromuscular Center), effective June 30, 2019.
Boysen has been at the helm of the non-profit organization that serves children ages birth to three with developmental delays and disabilities, since 1977. While Boysen is stepping back from the day-to-day operations, he will continue to serve the organization as a volunteer for Joya’s capital campaign in the role of executive director emeritus.
Keeping the Dream Alive
Boysen has spent his entire career advocating to make a difference in the lives of developmentally disabled children. He had a vision to make the Joya program the best in the country, and has worked diligently to ensure that dream becomes a reality. Under Boysen’s leadership, Joya has become one of the most respected, well-executed and comprehensive programs in the country for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. Over the years, Boysen has helped the center evolve not only in name but also services provided. Once volunteer-led, today Joya is an organization staffed by certified special education teachers, licensed therapists, pediatric nurses, social workers, and a medical director.
Boysen has recently overseen an exciting period of change happening within the organization, including the investment in property that will allow Joya to accommodate an increased need for services. Joya purchased the former St. Joseph Center Family Center at 1016 N. Superior in the University District in 2017, with plans underway to build a larger facility on that land to meet the growing demand for early intervention services.
A Lifetime of Service
Prior to joining Joya, Boysen was the education director for Head Start of Spokane County. He has served on many boards holding positions of president, vice-president, and/or chairperson including: Inland NW Genetics Clinic Board, WA State Neurodevelopmental Center Directors Association, Spokane County Interagency Coordinating Council, Spokane County ARC, Gonzaga University Special Education Advisory Board, SFCC Early Childhood Special Education Advisory Board, United Way of Spokane County Board, WA State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Preschool Task Force, WA State Preschool Planning Board, and Early Childhood Development Association of Washington (ECDAW).
Boysen holds a BA in Anthropology from California State University at Northridge and two Masters from Washington State University, one in Child Development and one in Adult and Continuing Education. Boysen put that education to good use over the decades not just in working with children, but in working with families.
Colleen Fuchs has a longtime connection to Joya and a strong affinity for the organization’s mission and history. She’s an alumni parent and former board member who’s seen first-hand the value of early intervention. In 2016 she was hired to serve as Joya’s program coordinator, overseeing a team of therapists and teachers and coordinating with medical and social workers on staff to deliver the best program possible for children and families. In 2019, she also served for a time as acting executive director, while Boysen was on medical leave. Fuchs has experience as a teacher and administrator in early childhood and elementary education; pediatric hospital and residential care of medically complex children; owning and operating a business; and in higher education and early learning research. She is a native of Spokane and holds a bachelor’s degree in Education with endorsements in Elementary Education, Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education from Gonzaga University.
“Working with the families and the children has been the high point of my career,” said Boysen. “Developmental delays introduce expense, complication and stress into the lives of new parents. Many families face mounting medical bills and gaps in insurance coverage. Joya never turns a family away for inability to pay. I am humbled to have been part of an amazing team of individuals who have provided so much comfort and care to families.”