Having served as Director of Administrative Services since 2005, Craig Olson stepped into his new position on June 1. He is replacing Pam Flynt Tambo, who has been Executive Director of Hillside House for the past eleven years and is now retiring. Located on Veronica Springs Road, Hillside House provides a home, therapeutic learning community and 24-hour nursing care for 59 people with developmental disabilities, making it the largest provider of these residential services in the Santa Barbara area.

About Craig Olson

Craig Olson has worked in non-profit management for the past 28 years. His broad-based experience has included leadership positions in operations management, program development and restructuring, financial management, marketing, fundraising, facilities operations, and long-range planning, most notably at Devereux Foundation, another non-profit serving people with disabilities, where he worked for 21 years.

In his work Olson says, “My goal has been to manage the delicate balance between dedication to mission, the need for entrepreneurial initiatives, and the application of solid business management practices.” When asked why he was interested in the role of Executive Director of Hillside House, Olson answered, “Hillside House is at a pivotal point in its history and has an opportunity to reach new heights. I am excited about the prospect of moving Hillside House forward while preserving the many sound aspects of its current operation and traditions.”

Next Phase

Among his many duties, Olson will be responsible for shepherding Hillside House through the next crucial phase of its Community Plan. Hillside House faces a major transition as recent state mandates require that the non-profit relocate its residents into smaller homes that are integrated into the community. In order to meet best practice models for housing and integration of people with disabilities, but still be able to provide the nursing care, therapeutic services, educational and social activities that its residents need to thrive, Hillside House has been hard at work on its Community Plan. The Community Plan aims to develop the 23-acres of land where Hillside House now sits into a 121-unit mixed-income, mixed abilities neighborhood, including twelve smaller homes for its residents and a central services building. Outgoing Executive Director Pam Flynt Tambo has been working towards this Plan for ten years. Olson will take over where she left off, guiding the Plan through the approval process with local agencies and into the creation of a new Hillside House.

Jim Wolfe, President of the Board of Hillside House, says of the appointment of Craig Olson as the new Executive Director, “Because of the breadth of his experience, particularly as it relates to the needs of Hillside House at this time, and his knowledge of our organization, Craig was the clear choice among our applicants. The Board believes he possesses the leadership abilities and knowledge, as well as vision and persistence, to lead Hillside House to become a model of therapeutic care and community-based housing for people with developmental disabilities.”

About Hillside House

Hillside House is a non-profit residential facility caring for 59 people with developmental disabilities, with levels of disability ranging from moderate to severe. Hillside House offers around-the-clock nursing care as well as physical therapy, independent living skills, recreational and learning opportunities, individualized treatment programs and much more, so that residents can reach for their highest potential and enjoy their lives to the fullest. The mission of Hillside House is “to provide a home that supports our residents’ efforts to maximize their physical, cognitive, social and emotional abilities so that they can attain their highest level of independence in an environment where people are treated with dignity and respect.”


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