Former Mecklenburg deputy director new Rowan DSS chief

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2012

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — After a five-month search, the Rowan County Department of Social Services named its new director Tuesday.
Donna F. Fayko, a Davidson resident, is deputy director of the Mecklenburg County DSS Youth and Family Services. She has a 24-year history of line worker, supervisory and management experience within the North Carolina Social Services system.
“I’m excited that I get to join a new Department of Social Services that seems to have a very clear mission of improving quality of life for their citizens,” she said.
At a specially called meeting Tuesday morning, the Rowan County Board of Social Services appointed Fayko by a unanimous vote. She will begin May 1, replacing Sandra Wilkes as the agency’s director.
Wilkes retired in October and has been serving as interim director during the search for a new department head. She declined to comment to the Post on Monday.
Board Chair Lillian Morgan said there were many qualified candidates who applied for the director’s position, and the board agreed that Fayko was best qualified for it.
“I was very impressed with Ms. Fayko’s management and leadership style, her experience and knowledge in social services management,” Morgan said. “She has the skills that closely match the needs of the Rowan County DSS and I believe that she is very capable of moving our agency to the next level of service to the community.”
A drop-in reception for Fayko will be held May 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the DSS building located at 1813 E. Innes St.
Fayko said she has agreed to move to Rowan County within six months.
A graduate of Northwest Ashe High School, Fayko earned her bachelor’s degree from Pfeiffer University in psychology, probation and parole. She earned her master’s degree in counseling from Pennsylvania State University.
“Child welfare is my background, primarily, so that’s my love, first and foremost,” she said. “I also have some experience in economic services.”
DSS division leaders in Mecklenburg County meet regularly, Fayko said, so she’s familiar with the other program areas and is looking forward to learning more about them.
“I’m leaving a department of 1,200 and coming to a department of 200,” she said. “That will provide me the opportunity to get to know people on a personal basis and develop partnerships in the community.”
She said that it’s too early to set up goals until she has a chance to come in and assess how the programs are doing.
“I am not about fixing something that is not broken, and I understand that Rowan County’s programs are running pretty effectively and efficiently,” Fayko said. “I’ll see what the challenges are, and then see what I can join with staff to do to make any improvements that are needed.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.