News Releases and Media Advisories

KDADS Announces Retirement of Kansas Neurological Institute Superintendent Brent Widick; Former Superintendent Barney Hubert Named Interim

For Immediate Release

December 7, 2021

For more information, contact:
Cara Sloan-Ramos
785-296-0807

TOPEKA — Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard announced today that Kansas Neurological Institute (KNI) Superintendent Brent Widick will retire from his position December 10, 2021, after serving the people of Kansas for more than 24 years.

Widick first came to KNI in 1986 as a direct care worker. Aside from pursuing other career opportunities along the way, including five years at the former Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Widick worked most of his professional career at the hospital in various positions. As KNI’s program director from 2007 through 2013, Widick provided direction and leadership to the 300-plus KNI staff who provide residential and psychological care and services, as well as supported employment and community outreach to the people who live there.

Widick was named Interim Superintendent where he served from December 2013 until April 2014 when he was promoted to Superintendent after the previous superintendent, Barney Hubert, retired.

“Superintendent Widick leaves us with a legacy of commitment, an exceptional level of care and influential advocacy for people with severe disabilities through sometimes unprecedented challenges,” KDADS Secretary Howard said. “I am grateful for Brent’s distinguished service to the hospital where he is trusted and respected by both his staff and the people who live at KNI and their families and guardians. We are sorry to see him leave but wish him the best in his retirement. He will be missed greatly.”

Superintendent Widick, looking back at his time at KNI said, “When I leave this week, I will have many wonderful stories and made memories and relationships that will last a lifetime. Throughout the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with some truly amazing people and feel blessed to have had KNI a part of my life for so long. KNI works together to ensure the people living here receive the quality supports and services they deserve. I will always be proud of what we accomplished together.”

Howard has named Barney Hubert, former KNI Superintendent as the Interim Superintendent. Hubert started his career at KNI in 1978 as an activities director and retired as Superintendent in 2013. He also worked briefly for SRS before making KNI his permanent professional home for 35 years.

After retiring from KNI in December 2013, Hubert continued to work part-time as a Quality Enhancement Specialist for The Council on Quality and Leadership in Supports for People with Disabilities (CQL) before retiring in early 2021. In this position he participated in and led accreditation reviews and facilitated training and organizational development activities for providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other social service needs throughout the United States and occasionally in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

“We are pleased Barney Hubert has agreed to serve the state and KNI residents once again to help us ensure a smooth transition as we conduct a nationwide search for Superintendent Widick’s permanent replacement,” Howard said. “Barney is a valuable asset with the experience to take over the reins at the facility and ensure continued first-class care.”

Hubert’s first day at KNI was December 6, 2021.

Colleague Statements about Superintendent Widick:

“During my first Christmas a couple of years ago as the HR Director at KNI, the management team went around to each of the homes on the campus delivering goodies to KNI staff on each shift. As we entered each home, I noticed how Brent responded to each resident with so much love and attention, and I watched them respond to him. It is very clear that every decision Brent has made was based on the total well-being of our residents and staff. He genuinely cares about every single person on this campus. The love and compassion he has for the residents and staff at KNI is inspirational.” ~ Leslie Gish, KNI Human Resources Director

“Superintendent Widick has given KNI so much, in my 15 plus years as a KNI employee he has been steadfast and unwavering in his efforts to put the people who live at KNI first and at the center of any decision he was involved in. The torch that he leaves for the rest of us to carry will burn brighter because of his accomplishments.” ~ Audra Grigsby, KNI Unit 1 Director

“Brent is a strong advocate for the staff and residents of KNI and his leadership will truly be missed.” ~ Mike Dixon, KDADS State Hospital Commissioner and Parsons State Hospital Superintendent