HCN News & Notes

Berkshire Health Systems Appoints Three Community Leaders to Board of Trustees

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Health Systems announced the election of Shaun Cusson, Deborah Renzi, and Jeannette Smith to the BHS board of trustees.

“We are excited to welcome Shaun, Deb, and Jeannette to the BHS board of trustees,” BHS President and CEO Darlene Rodowicz said. “All are recognized leaders in our community, and BHS will be lucky to benefit from their perspectives as we continue working to advance health and wellness for everyone in the region.”

Cusson serves as president and CEO of Hillcrest Educational Foundation Inc. (HEF), which offers a wide range of therapeutic services for children, families, and the community. The HEF umbrella includes Hillcrest Educational Centers Inc. (HEC), Hillcrest Dental Care Inc. (HDC), and Berkshire County Kids’ Place & Violence Prevention Center Inc. Cusson is also president and CEO of HEC, which is a nonprofit providing residential treatment and special education for some of the region’s most disabled children, and HDC, a large dental practice specializing in MassHealth patients and patients with special needs.

Cusson began his career at Hillcrest nearly 30 years ago as a direct care worker and has held multiple management positions during his ascent, including director of Admissions, program director, executive vice president, and executive director. He was appointed president and CEO following the planned retirement of Jerry Burke in 2022.

In addition to his work with Hillcrest, he serves on numerous other nonprofit boards, including the Massachusetts Assoc. for Approved Chapter 766 Private Schools, the Assoc. for Children’s Residential Centers, the Coolidge Hill Foundation, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Berkshire Business Roundtable, 1Berkshire, and others. He has a master’s degree in education from Cambridge College and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Westfield State University.

Renzi is a Berkshire County native with an extensive background in patient care at Berkshire Health Systems. Starting at a young age with in-home patient care, she went on to dedicate 32 years in the field.

Her journey at BHS began in 1989 as a nursing assistant, staff nurse, community health nurse, quality and improvement specialist, clinical manager, and Pain & Spine service line manager. Throughout her 29 years at BHS, she collaborated with healthcare providers, professionals, and community sources to coordinate care; developed and implemented disease-management programs; led interdisciplinary teams; and worked with management across departments to meet quality and regulatory goals.

Renzi earned her registered nurse degree from Berkshire Community College, a bachelor of science in nursing degree from UMass Amherst, and a master of science in nursing degree with a major in healthcare administration from Elms College. She was honored with the BMC Physicians’ Award for proficiency in nursing skills and the MSN Capstone Award. She currently holds a RN license in both Massachusetts and Florida.

Renzi has continued her late husband’s business, Michael Renzi Painting Co. LLC. She also serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires.

Smith is vice president for Student Affairs at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Her research areas of interest include higher-education administration and retention and persistence of students from traditionally underrepresented communities. Her doctoral journey was informed by a curiosity about decision makers and led to a hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative study on policy. That work has infused every position she has held, with a belief that approaching policy from an equitable lens can contribute to dismantling oppressive structures in post-secondary attainment.

A first-generation college graduate, Smith is intentional in collaboratively working across the college to holistically support students through the curricular and co-curricular experience. She has worked in academic advising, residence life, financial aid, student unions and facilities, grant management, student engagement, and foundation stewardship.

Departing the BHS board of trustees are Carole Siegel, Bronly Boyd, and Erwin Stuebner, all of whom provided exceptional, lengthy service to Berkshire Health Systems, Rodowicz said. “On behalf of BHS, I offer my deepest appreciation to Carole, Bronly, and Win for their commitment to furthering our mission and their invaluable contributions in support of our community.”