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ACC Names Bernie Kerrigan as New President and CEO

The Board of Directors of the Achievement Centers for Children (ACC) has selected Bernadette (Bernie) Kerrigan, MSSA, LISW, SPHR, the current Executive Director of First Year Cleveland, as its next president and CEO. Kerrigan will succeed Sally Farwell, who is retiring from the position this summer.

Kerrigan joined First Year Cleveland — a nonprofit focused on reducing infant mortality, addressing equity and working to change structural racism impacting maternal and child health outcomes in Cuyahoga County — in 2016 as its executive director.  Prior to that, she was at The Centers for Families and Children in Cleveland for nine-and-a-half years as their chief operating officer and, later, their chief talent officer.


Kerrigan has also held the titles of vice-president, community investment and community vision council; executive director of Geauga and Wickliffe United Way and prenatal social worker with University Hospitals.  She holds a master of social science administration from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor of social work from The Ohio State University and maintains her licensure as an independent social worker and a senior professional in human resources, along with numerous certificates and professional affiliations.


“Bernie is a positive and energetic leader. Her warmth and passion for helping children impressed the Achievement Centers’ board and we are thrilled to welcome her,” said ACC board president, James Kacic. “We were especially pleased to find a non-profit leader who has established herself in the Greater Cleveland area for more than 30 years.  We recognize and value the strategic guidance and positive impact Sally has provided to ACC and we are grateful for her 26 years of service.”


“Bernie and I have known each other for many years, since we both have focused our careers on helping children throughout Greater Cleveland.  I know her to be an intelligent, strategic and kind individual – a perfect fit for the Achievement Centers for Children,” said Sally Farwell.


As president and CEO, Kerrigan will work closely with staff and the Achievement Centers’ board to ensure the organization can continue to adapt and serve children and adults with disabilities through the ongoing pandemic and beyond.


Farwell, ACC’s current president and CEO, announced her retirement in January of this year.  She has served the Achievement Centers for Children since 1995, when she joined the organization as its Vice President of Programs.  She is looking forward to spending time with her family and travelling.

Media contact: Susan Christopher,, (216) 292-9700

About the Achievement Centers for Children

The Achievement Centers for Children is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower children and adults with disabilities, and their families, to achieve their greatest potential. The agency provides comprehensive, high-quality, cost-effective services and programs in the areas of therapy, education, recreation and sports, and family support services to meet the needs of the entire family.

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