Former First Selectman Tesei Named Executive Director Of Pathways

GREENWICH, CT — Former Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei has been appointed as the executive director for Pathways Inc., a private, nonprofit agency in Greenwich that provides services for adults who suffer from severe and prolonged mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression.

Tesei served a record six terms as Greenwich’s chief elected official from 2007 to 2019. Upon leaving office, he established his own consulting business and assisted individuals, businesses and nonprofits with public affairs, project management and fundraising.

“I am looking forward to working with the dedicated staff at Pathways on behalf of the wonderful clients they serve,” Tesei said in a news release. His role officially began Monday; he succeeds Laura Heckman.

“My respect and support for Pathways began when I met the founder Renee Bigler more than 20 years ago. Her passion, commitment and tireless advocacy are inspiring and I am excited to further the mission that she and the founding board members set forth 40 years ago,” Tesei added.

Tesei was chosen from a pool of more than a dozen candidates, according to Pathways. During his time in office in Greenwich, Tesei instituted process improvements, customer service training, citizen-lead committees supporting youth, diversity, special needs communities, veterans, economic development, and coastal resources.

He spearheaded the development of the nine-acre Cos Cob Park and was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Central Fire Station, Glenville Elementary School and the Performing Arts Center at Greenwich High School, Pathways said in a news release.

Prior to becoming first selectman, Tesei, a fifth-generation Greenwich native and product of the public school system in town, was the Vice President with BNY/Mellon.

Tesei served on the Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation for 10 years, including six as board chair He began his community service at the age of 18, as the youngest member ever elected to the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting.

Presently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra.

Over the years, Tesei has scored many accolades, including awards from:

Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol Inc., Chabad of Greenwich, Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, United Jewish Appeal, Malcolm Pray Friend of Eagles, University of Connecticut 40 under 40 and Fairfield County Business Journal 40 under 40.

“The Board of Pathways is fortunate to have found Peter, who is an experienced and distinguished leader with a depth of knowledge of our community and its institutions as well as a passion for the mission of Pathways,” said Pathways President Tom Athan in a news release. “We are excited that Peter will be at the helm of Pathways supporting our dedicated staff in their service to our clients, using his decades of experience of listening, learning and leading.”

Learn more about Pathways, Inc.

 

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GREENWICH — The old Fellowship Center for Pathways was a “dreary old building” — an aging one-story structure in Cos Cob with small rooms and little space, according to leaders of the Greenwich-based organization that supports people with serious mental illnesses.

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GREENWICH — Laura Heckman vividly recalls her cousin’s first mental health crisis. They were together in her New York City apartment in October 2017 when he told her that he believed he was God.

“It’s like a wall hits you, and it’s impossible to hide,” said Heckman, the new executive director at Pathways, a Greenwich organization that provides recreational and residential services to people living with severe mental illnesses.

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GREENWICH — Supporters of Pathways, a Greenwich nonprofit that supports people living with chronic mental illnesses, broke ground Tuesday morning on its new Fellowship Center in Cos Cob.

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Pathways makes way for new facility in Cos Cob

GREENWICH — For adults with chronic mental illnesses, a one-story doctor’s office that felt like a warren of tiny rooms was not a good fit for learning guitar, doing creative writing and practicing yoga.

But since 2010, that has been the home for Pathways, which offers programs and housing for adults with severe and prolonged mental illnesses. The situation is changing this summer, however, with demolition underway of the old building, making way for a new, 2,700-square-foot space at 8 Sinawoy Road.

“That building was awful,” said Susan Sternberg, a board member for Pathways, many of whose clients suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression. “The last thing you want for mentally ill people is a depressing space.”

The new building has been planned for a few years, Sternberg said. The project should take nine months to one year to be finished.

The new house will be two stories, with a “light, bright, open and uplifting” first floor and a second story going around the perimeter. The building will have a kitchen that will serve lunch.

“It will be a complete contrast,” she said. “It is going to be so amazing for the clients we serve.”

Pathways’ day program is located in Cos Cob. The nonprofit also operates four group homes throughout town, creating safe and affordable housing for those who need it.

Some clients have jobs at Whole Foods or the YMCA, but some do not, so they take part in the programs at the center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sternberg said.

Currently, Pathways uses an extra room at one of its group homes in town for the daytime programs. The house at 509 E. Putnam, which Pathways bought in the 1990s, has room for 16 clients, but neighbors at the time protested and the town allowed 10 people to move in, Sternberg said.

“It’s not ideal, but this way, we don’t have to pay rent,” to keep the day program going, she said….. More