Pensacola Care Inc. provides quality services, life skills training and a family-style living environment in which individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can establish independent, rewarding lifestyles.
The first Pensacola Care, Inc. developmental center opened in Pensacola in 1982 when the State of Florida initiated a program which transitioned residents of huge state-run institutions (i.e. Sunland centers) into smaller group homes and intermediate care facilities (ICF). To accommodate the influx of individuals from Sunland centers, three panhandle PCI Centers were subsequently opened in Panama City, Tallahassee and Fort Walton Beach. A fourth, Hillsborough County Developmental Center (Tampa), opened in 1983.
For more than thirty years, Pensacola Care, Inc. (PCI) developmental centers have provided quality support and services for individuals with intellectual, developmental, physical and behavioral disabilities. Our philosophy then was to provide individualized care for each resident in a safe and rich environment. The philosophy remains the same today.
PCI Board of Directors
Patricia N. Varner
Patricia N. Varner joined the PCI Board of Directors in 1985 in order to be a part of the new initiative for those individuals with intellectual disabilities who were exiting Florida state-run institutions to live an active and meaningful life in the community. Ms. Varner has served in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for 46 years. Prior to her retirement, she was employed by the State of Florida, working with agencies serving individuals with disabilities. Ms. Varner, who received her BA from the University of Florida and her Master of Education degree from the University of West Florida, has also served on boards for the Pilot Club of Panama City, the Panhandle Gator Club, the American Business Women’s Association, The Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities and Girls, Inc.
A board member since 1987, PCI Board vice president Betsy Werre has 44 years of experience in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ms. Werre retired in 2018 from her position as a professor teaching introductory education and special education courses at Pensacola State College, where she received recognition for her sustained record of classroom teaching by being selected as a member of the Academy of Teaching Excellence. Prior to her 30 years with PSC, she held positions with the public-school system and as Director of the Escambia ARC Pearl Nelson Center. Ms. Werre, who earned her BS and two master’s degrees in special education from the University of North Dakota, credits her fierce desire to advocate for the rights of and improve the quality of life for those with developmental disabilities as the reason for entering the field.
Ronnie Armstrong's 23 years of experience in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities began in 1996 when he joined the Pensacola Care, Inc. Board of Directors. He is a Florida CPA who earned his BA in Accounting from the University of West Florida in 1986. Mr. Armstrong currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer at the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, a not-for-profit research institute of the Florida University System.
A retired high school principal of a special education center in the Escambia County School District, Della Merritt served her entire 37-year career in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. She first attended Florida State University, where she majored in special education and then went on to earn her BA in special education and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Teaching from University of West Florida. While she joined the PCI Board of Directors in 2012, Ms. Merritt’s association with the organization spans back to the mid-80’s, when she worked as an adult basic education teacher during the summer at the Pensacola Developmental Center, an experience she recognized as a wonderful break from her high school students.
With 48 years in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, Roseanna Phillips cites her desire for a continued opportunity to serve as the reason for joining the Pensacola Care, Inc. Board of Directors in 2012. Preceding her retirement from the State of Florida Department of Children and Families, Ms. Phillips donned many hats in the social services field, including psychologist, contract manager, budget manager and a “minor bureaucrat” in the Developmental Disabilities Program and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program. Ms. Phillips holds a BA from the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and a Master of Arts from Columbia University Teacher’s College. In addition to serving on the PCI Board, she’s also served with the Presbytery of Florida, the Presbyterian Women in the Synod of South Atlantic, and the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club.
C. Guy Farmer
Prior to his retirement as partner of Mitchell & Co., CPAs and Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer of Summit Care II, C. Guy Farmer assisted organizations in the developmental disabilities field with respect to accounting and reimbursement issues for 36 years. He is the newest member of the PCI Board of Directors, joining the board in 2017 because of his desire to help the residents and employees of PCI (a former client) to the greatest extent possible. Mr. Farmer holds a Master of Arts in Accounting from Ohio State University.