Jeremy Ratcliff has accepted the position of Highland County Job & Family Services director. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Jeremy Ratcliff has accepted the position of Highland County Job & Family Services director. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Highland County commissioners voted unanimously Friday, May 7 to hire Jeremy Ratcliff as director of Highland County Job & Family Services.

After an executive session that lasted approximately 12 minutes, commissioners entered open session Friday at 8:20 a.m., where they voted 3-0 to hire Ratcliff.

As previously reported, former JFS director Katie Smith announced March 17 that she would be leaving her position. During the commissioners’ April 7 meeting, commissioner Terry Britton said that Smith would be leaving the director position “probably at the end of May.” She later resigned April 28 due to her family relocating to South Carolina, according to commissioner Jeff Duncan.

Smith’s replacement, Ratcliff, is currently serving as Director of Court Treatment at Talbert House in Hamilton County, a position he’s held since 2018. He formerly served as director of the Highland County Probation Department.

“Jeremy’s not new to Highland County,” Duncan said. “He’s been here before, so we’re glad he’s agreed to come back. We’re looking forward to working with him and him being part of the county again.”

According to commissioner Terry Britton, Ratcliff will officially assume the role of JFS director June 14.

“I’m excited to come back and serve Highland County,” Ratcliff told The Highland County Press Friday morning. “I know that sounds like a cliché, but I really am. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to come back and work in the community that I know and that I love. I have a lot of connections here.”

As mentioned, Ratcliff accepted the position of Director of Court Treatment under the Addictions service line at Talbert House in 2018, “overseeing substance use disorder treatment for men and women involved with the justice system,” according to Talbert House. Talbert House is a community-wide nonprofit network of services focusing on prevention, assessment, treatment and re-integration. Services are provided at multiple sites throughout southwest Ohio for children, adults and families.

“Talbert House has been a wonderful place to work,” Ratcliff said. “They’ve provided lots of opportunities for growth and been very supportive.”

In addition, Ratcliff was an employee of the Highland County Probation Department for 17 years, 15 of which he served as director. In 2016, under his leadership, the Highland County Probation Department was recognized for their outstanding work in the community by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, being presented with the Cliff Skeen Award. The department was chosen as the best among the 121 programs throughout Ohio.

Ratcliff holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and political studies from Wilmington College. He has served on the board for the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections and as a member of the Ohio Chief Probation Officers Association and Highland County Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. Ratcliff also was the varsity girls soccer coach at Hillsboro High School for four years, along with holding some assistant coaching positions.

Although Ratcliff said he does not have any experience working with JFS specifically, he looks to bring his knowledge from “approximately 20 years of running social service and public programs” to the position. He added that he also looks forward to learning from the Highland County JFS staff.

“I know I’ve got a lot to learn, but there’s a lot of good people out there, a lot of dedicated, committed people,” Ratcliff said. “I’m excited to get to know them and learn from them. I’m just looking forward to meeting the team at JFS, learning from them and seeing how we can continue to improve upon our services to our clients and to our county.

“I’m excited about the new opportunity. I’m excited to come back, serve the citizens and help the agency grow and move forward.”