Executive Director

Peri L. Nearon, MPA

Peri L. Nearon was appointed Executive Director of the Division of Disability Services (DDS) in February, 2019. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Nearon was the Director of External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives for Community Health & Wellness at the NJ Department of Health, building collaborative relationships to improve health outcomes for individuals and communities at highest risk. Under her leadership, the Department coordinated ShapingNJ, a public-private partnership of more than 230 organizations working together to promote healthy eating and active living in early care and education centers, schools, worksites, faith-based organizations and communities through policy, systems and environmental change.

Ms. Nearon’s state service began in the Department of Human Services in 1986 and has included policy, planning and program implementation for children, adolescents, older adults and individuals with disabilities. 

In 1996 she joined the Department of Health as an administrator in Aging Services and then, in 2003, was appointed as the first Director of the Office on Women’s Health where she served for five years leading and coordinating women’s health services for the State of New Jersey.

In 2008 Ms. Nearon was appointed as the first Director of the Office of Nutrition & Fitness, building a new area to address the growing obesity epidemic. 

Ms. Nearon has an undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in women’s studies, a graduate degree in public administration and 30+ years of experience in state government.