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September 18, 2011
Weirton Daily Times

NEW?LEADERS: Melissa Ross-Merkel has been named Administrator of The Laurels of Steubenville. She began working in August at the 100-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, which provides short term rehab and long term care services.

A native of Cadiz, Ross-Merkel began her career in the long-term care industry in 1989 when she became a nurse's aide during high school. She transitioned several years later to the position of Marketing Director for two years at her uncle's skilled nursing facility while finishing her college degree. In 2001, she became a licensed nursing home administrator and has worked as Assistant Administrator and Administrator for several facilities in the area prior to joining The Laurels.

Ross-Merkel graduated cum laude from Ohio University in Athens with a bachelor's degree in specialized studies. "I am so pleased to be a part of The Laurels of Steubenville," said Ross-Merkel. "Our mission here is to exceed the needs and expectations of those we serve and I look forward to working with the staff to achieve our mission," she added.

Also joining the leadership team at The Laurels of Steubenville is Jacquie Gorza, RN, who is the new director of nursing. Gorza joined the staff of The Laurels in 2009 and worked as a Unit Manager, Staff Development Director, and Assistant Director of Nursing. She has over 24 years of experience with long term care facilities in the area.

A graduate of Martins Ferry High School, Gorza attended Ohio University Eastern campus, where she studied psychology and sociology. She is a graduate of the Ohio Valley General Hospital School of Nursing. "We have an excellent facility here and we are building a great team of professionals that I am proud to be a part of, "said Gorza.

For information or to schedule a tour of The Laurels, contact Margaret Zapor, Director of Marketing at (740) 264-5042.

NAMED: John W. Cucarese has been named a member of the 2011 President's Council of New York Life Insurance Co. Members of the president's council are among the top 8 percent of New York Life's sales force of 11,900 licensed agents.

Cucarese has been a New York Life agent since 2005, and serves clients throughout the Tri-State Area. A native of Wintersville and graduate of Ohio State University, he is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Cucarese serves on the board of directors for the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross Jefferson County Chapter and the American Cancer Society.

HIRED: Stephanie M. Donofe, daughter of Steve and Louise Donofe of Steubenville, has been hired by the Westerville City Schools as curriculum coordinator. She will handle K-12 instructional technology, K-12 library media, 9-12 English and 9-12 business education.

Donofe's career has included positions with Olentangy Local Schools, Columbus City Schools, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Germany and Korea, Edison Local Schools and the Diocese of Columbus.

A graduate of Catholic Central High School, she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in education at Kent State University, and post-graduate degrees in school library at Kent and school administration at Ashland. She recently completed her degree in school superintendency. She holds adjunct status for Ashland University, Kenyon College and Columbus State University.

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