Longtime Behavioral Health Leader to Retire

Feb 16, 2021 | News

Nelson Burns

KENT, Ohio. February 16, 2021 – Nelson Burns, president and CEO at Coleman Professional Services, has announced his retirement, effective Summer 2021. The exact date will be determined once his successor is hired and ready to start.  

Burns has served as Coleman’s leader for over 35 years.During his long tenure, Coleman has grown from a local, community mental health center to an organization providing not just psychiatry, counseling, and case management services, but also employment and housing services, among others.

He has always considered himself a “servant leader” and under his leadership, Coleman has grown from serving about 1000 people in one county to serving over 30,000 in 22 counties across the state of Ohio. Also during that time, Coleman’s budget has grown from $1.3 million to over $60 million. 

“Over my 35 years of employment at Coleman, with all of the growth and diversity, I continue to be an everlasting steward and servant to the clients we serve in so many Ohio Counties, Burns said. “I have given every bit of energy to my job for all of these years, and I will forever be grateful to the many people who have helped me along the way.”

Coleman’s Board has contracted with an executive search firm specializing in Behavioral Healthcare and Community Healthcare to conduct a national search to find the best candidate to continue Coleman’s mission as it moves forward. “We are so grateful for Nelson’s visionary leadership and his unwavering commitment and service to Coleman over the last 35 years,” Kristine Syrvalin, president of the Coleman Board of Trustees, said, “The board appreciates that Nelson has chosen to take his well-earned retirement at a time when Coleman is on a strong, growth oriented path. He has assembled a strong management team who will certainly provide the needed continuity during this transition time and into the future.

Coleman has a board approved succession plan where staff are trained and educated on how to succeed at Coleman. It is the Board’s intention to hire a new CEO who will bring the leadership, knowledge and innovation the position requires in order to continue to support and serve individuals in all Coleman communities.”


Coleman Professional Services was founded in Kent, Ohio in 1978. It offers comprehensive behavioral health, residential, employment, and supportive services. It earned the 2021 Gold Seal of Transparency from Guidestar, the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.

For more information, visit ColemanServices.org.

Coleman Professional Services
Steve Bossart, VP