Howard A. Rosenblum started as the Chief Executive Officer of the NAD in April 2011 and also serves as an ex officio member of the NAD Board of Directors. He comes to the NAD after 19 years as a lawyer, focusing his practice on disability rights and special education law. For the past nine years, he was a Senior Attorney at Equip for Equality, the designated Protection & Advocacy entity for the State of Illinois. Previously, he worked ten years as an associate at Monahan & Cohen, a private law firm, and briefly as a legal counsel at Access Living, the center for independent living for the Chicago area. In 1997, he founded the Midwest Center on Law and the Deaf, to address the lack of access to the legal profession for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and oversaw its operation as the Board Chair until 2011. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Rosenblum to serve on the United States Access Board, which is responsible for setting accessible design and technical criteria used to promote compliance with federal disability rights laws. Mr. Rosenblum has a bachelor of science degree in computer engineering from the University of Arizona and a juris doctor degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law. Born and raised in Chicago, Rosenblum is a diehard fan of Chicago sports teams. He also enjoys traveling the world to meet deaf people in other countries and learning their sign languages.
The longest serving staff member, Marc Charmatz started work at the NAD in 1977. He is renowned throughout the disability community for taking part in several landmark cases and legal actions on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Charmatz is a graduate of New York University (B.A.) and the Northwestern University School of Law. From 1977 until 2002, he served as the director of the NAD Law and Advocacy Center (LAC). In 2002, Marc stepped down to work as an NAD senior attorney on a part-time basis. He currently is an adjunct professor of Law at the University of Maryland Law School, where he teaches the Civil Rights of Individuals with Disabilities Clinic. Marc answers numerous email and telephone/TTY messages from individuals who have questions about legal issues and provides information to enable deaf and hard of hearing individuals, encouraging them to become advocates on the issues they are concerned about. He sums up his experiences this way: "I truly believe that I have had one of the most interesting public interest careers serving deaf and hard of hearing individuals.” In his free time, Marc collects sports cards - baseball, football, and basketball, and enjoys going to flea markets and yard sales.
Debra Patkin is a staff attorney with the NAD. Her job duties include litigating civil-rights cases, advocating on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing community, handling consumer inquiries regarding legal issues, and outreach/education. Prior to joining the NAD, she worked as a litigation attorney at the Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles, California. Debra received her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. She also has a M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet University and a B.S. in Psychology from R.I.T. She juggles her legal job with her another job – being a mother. In her spare time, she enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams and doing outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.
Andrew Phillips is the Policy Counsel at the National Association of the Deaf. He is responsible for providing analysis, recommendations, and counsel to the NAD on policy issues affecting deaf and hard of hearing people across the United States. Phillips is heavily involved with the NAD’s work on federal legislation and the rulemaking processes within various federal agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice. After graduating from the California School for the Deaf (Fremont) and Gallaudet University, Andrew Phillips earned a J.D. at U.C. Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco where he was a member of the Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal, and was recognized as “Best Oral Advocate” in his Moot Court class, arguing on behalf of the District of Columbia in D.C v. Heller. Phillips is a former Congressional Intern of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and worked in her Capitol Hill office. Between college and law school he did an internship with the Director of Policy / General Counsel at the National Council on Disability. In his spare time Phillips enjoys playing soccer, hiking, rock climbing, surfing, scuba diving, and traveling. He has traveled on six different continents.
Caroline Jackson is a Skadden Fellow. For the fellowship, she will spend two years as a staff attorney at the NAD, focusing on litigation and policy regarding special education services for deaf and hard of hearing students. Prior to becoming an attorney, Caroline worked as an interpreter in New York City where she also taught reading and writing in the Program for Deaf Adults at LaGuardia Community College. Caroline holds a B.A. in linguistics from Harvard University, an M.A. in education policy from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and the National Interpreter Certification (NIC). Following law school, Caroline clerked for the Hon. R. Guy Cole, Jr. of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Caroline enjoys music and theater, especially opera, big-band jazz, and musicals.
Tawny Holmes is an Equal Justice Work Fellow sponsored by Bingham McCutcheon, LLP. For the fellowship, she will spend two years as a staff attorney at the NAD, focusing on the legal rights of deaf children to an equal education including training and education for parents. She is the chair of the Education Strategy Team and coordinator of the Educational Advocates program for the NAD. Tawny recently graduated from the University of Baltimore Law school and during law school, she was a family educator at the Maryland School for the Deaf-Columbia. Before that, she earned her M.A. in Deaf Education and bachelors' degrees in Deaf Studies/Sociology from Gallaudet University and gained experience in teaching all grade levels at the National Laurent Clerc Center. Tawny grew up in the South with a third-generation Deaf family in south Florida and graduated from the Alabama School for the Deaf. Tawny is passionate about volunteering, and has done so for NAD for over 15 years, starting with her days as a Jr. NAD leader and includes her time as the Youth Strategy Team Chair from 2008-2012. She is also the proud godmother of Avant (10), and Leilani (7), who currently attend the Illinois School for the Deaf.
Before arriving at the NAD, Lizzie worked at Gallaudet University for more than five years, first as a Digital Video Specialist and then as a Video Producer. She has also served in a volunteer capacity as Communications Director for the Global Reach Out Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a sustainable community of Deaf advocates through the establishment of peer-to-peer cross-cultural programs in developing countries. Lizzie has the distinction of being the first deaf person to be elected as President of the Student Government at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has a Bachelor's degree from the School of Film and Animation at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master's Degree from the Administration and Supervision at Gallaudet University. Born and raised in California, Lizzie never misses out an opportunity to grab a bite at In-N-Out when traveling out west! As a former deaflympian for the US Deaf Women's National Soccer team (Australia, 2005), she still plays soccer with an indoor league. Her pups, Nico and Pendo, keep her sane at home and enjoys road trips when possible.
Donna Morris has been with the NAD since 1980. She is the advertising and sales specialist for the NADmag. Her other responsibilities include managing the NAD Bookstore, assisting with member and donor duties, and organizing the exhibit hall during NAD conferences. She enjoys vacations in New York, reading, and spending time with her teenage son and family.
After retiring as professor and department chair from Gallaudet University in 1996, Ron Nomeland worked full time at the NAD from 1999 through 2005 as membership coordinator. At present he works part time, usually one day a week in the membership department. A native of Minnesota, Ron graduated from Gallaudet University in 1958 and received his doctorate from Syracuse University in 1973. He is a board member of Deaf Seniors of America. He also volunteers with various organizations and just took up golf, although late in life. He and his wife enjoy national and international travel. Becoming a grandfather for the first time recently, he is fascinated by the antics of his granddaughter.
Andy is responsible for the maintenance and development of websites for the NAD. In addition to working with the NAD, he works at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Previously, he worked for five years at the University of Vermont where he was responsible for the Continuing Education website. He received a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University. He lives in Macedon with his wife and daughter. When he is not working, he is busy playing poker or participating in local running events.
Claudia Sussman is not new to the NAD. She served on the NAD Board of Directors for eight years as a Region II Representative (1996-2004), and joined the NAD Headquarters staff in October 2008. In her position she is responsible for greeting and directing all visitors, and handling e-mail inquiries and correspondence. She also assists with administrative projects and Internet research tasks. Claudia retired from the State of Ohio in 2006 with 35 plus years of combined employment with Columbus State Community College, Civil Rights, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and her master’s degree from the Ohio State University. During her years in Ohio, Claudia served on many local, state and national boards and task forces. She is the recipient of numerous awards in the areas of advocacy, leadership, and education transitional services. Claudia resides in Silver Spring, MD, with her husband, Allen. Together, they enjoy international travel and socializing with friends and family.
Allie Rice, a returned Peace Corps volunteer and a staunch deaf advocacy educator, is very involved with deaf youth in various countries such as Japan, India, and Kenya. She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in professional and technical communications from Rochester Institute of Technology in May 2002. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya from 2006 to 2008, she focused on improving the quality of education and resources for underprivileged deaf children, young adults, and parents. Prior to and after her volunteer service overseas, she worked with Anthropologie, a high volume clothing store, as a sales specialist and department manager. A Los Angeles, California native, she has always been fascinated by unique places, different cultures, and foreign sign languages. In addition, she is fluent in Kenyan Sign Language and enjoys reading, writing short stories, cooking, going to a local farmers’ market, and traveling.
Tom Wells has worked in the Business Office of the NAD since 1996. He started as an Accountant and worked his way up to Director of Finance. In his current position Tom is responsible for the overall financial operations of the NAD. He graduated from Gallaudet University with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and in his free time enjoys playing soccer, golf, and traveling.
Jason Stark joined the NAD shortly after it won the first grant award in 1991. His experiences have included the administration of staff in as many as 58 media libraries across the United States. He has also been responsible for computer and Internet operations resulting in first-ever advancements in accessible media delivery and retrieval. One example of such is the decade-old, yet-to-be emulated Internet-based media cataloging, classifying, and scheduling system to meet the needs of persons who are sensory disabled, their families, and the professionals who work with them. His management skills resulted in the federally funded Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) being dubbed the "Netflix of education." Additional pioneering accomplishments include his planning and design of systems that delivered the first streaming of captioned classic movies as well as the first provision of a free-loan service of streamed captioned and described educational media. Two degrees from the University of South Carolina in business administration and information systems management were the foundation for the development of his innovative technology leadership that not only resulted in government savings of millions of dollars over the past twenty years, but also brought significant improvements in multimedia access and expansion of services to disabled children in the U.S. For two decades he has been immersed in Web site accessibility issues, consulting with programs across the country in a mutual quest for equal access.