Education Advocates

NAD has an Education Advocate program which was established in May 2012 to address current concerns regarding quality education and appropriate language acquisition for deaf and hard of hearing children. The Education Advocate program is a network of representatives that the NAD has developed with its affiliates including dedicated advocates from state associations and national organizations as well as parents from the American Society for Deaf Children. This program involves comprehensive training on federal and state education laws and regulations, as well as various advocacy strategies and techniques. The NAD provides these trainings at its national conferences and at other events as well on request. For more information or questions, contact Sarah Honigfeld, our Education Policy Specialist.

Education Advocates Program Description
The NAD created a network of Education Advocates who are representatives from various national organizations and state associations. These representatives have agreed to take on the role of education advocacy for their respective state associations or national organizations. Each such Education Advocate reports to both the NAD and their state association/national organization on any emerging issues, news,  or concerns that appear in their state or focus area. Such a network of knowledgeable Education Advocates results in a continuous collaboration of information and support between the NAD and all national organizations and state associations. The NAD provides these Education Advocates with trainings to enhance their skills and knowledge, usually at national/regional conferences, as well as through webinars and local opportunities where feasible.

Goals for Education Advocates
The NAD has created a program that will train individuals to become Education Advocates for their state association or national organization with the following goals:

  • To become familiar with legislative advocacy techniques and tips;
  • To increase working knowledge of education and early intervention systems;
  • To share and disseminate alerts and updates on legislative activity and government actions on local, state, and national levels;
  • To  serve as a resource for education advocacy and legislative activity for State Associations and/or organizational affiliates of the NAD;
  • To train local and state-wide deaf and hard of hearing communities about what they can do to improve deaf education and how to do it;
  • To meet with legislators regularly regarding deaf education on the behalf of the association or organization represented;
  • To work with NAD and other education advocates on long-term planning efforts to address and prepare for early intervention and education challenges; and
  • To provide direct support to parents of deaf or hard of hearing children in their state.

Recommended criteria for Education Advocates
The NAD recommends the following background, skills, and commitment from individuals planning to serve as Education Advocates for their state association or national organization:

  1. The advocate preferably has a background or degree in education;
  2. The advocate agrees to represent their State Association of the Deaf or the organizational affiliate as an education advocate for a period of no less than two years;
  3. The advocate agrees to attend trainings including in-person training at the NAD conference and/or at the National Leadership Training Conference;
  4. The advocate agrees to train other members of the State Association of the Deaf or organizational affiliate upon returning back to the state after each training;
  5. The advocate demonstrates an ability to acquire legislative and policy skills; and
  6. The advocate demonstrates excellent diplomacy and interpersonal skills.

List of current Education Advocates
If you are interested in being an education advocate, please contact your state association or national organization (for parents, contact American Society for the Deaf Children) to discuss whether you can become one of their Education Advocates. If you are experiencing an immediate need for education advocacy services, you can contact the Education Advocate for your state association or national organization. If the matter is a legal dispute, you can contact the NAD Law & Advocacy Center.

State Education Advocate Website
Alabama Susan Lambert  
Alaska Jennifer Gates
Arizona Mel Westlake and Michael Oliver
Arkansas Sheri Medlock
California Shelley Stout and Erika Thompson
Colorado  Paul Simmons
Connecticut Sandy Inzinga
Delaware Kathy O’Donnell  
District of Columbia Stacy Nowak
Florida June McMahon and Lissette Molina Wood
Georgia Jimmy Peterson
Hawaii Darlene Ewan  
Idaho Alan Wilding
Illinois Jason Altmann
Indiana Gracie Wildman
Iowa David Legg and Carol Manning
Kansas Chriz Dally
Kentucky C.J. Prater
Louisiana Michelli LeFors
Maine Pamela Doig
Maryland Jacqueline Santana
Massachusetts Ashley Thompson
Michigan Freida Morrison
Minnesota Mike Cashman and
David Nathanson
Mississippi  Robert Chain
Missouri Clark Corogenes
Montana  Cam Tulloch  
Nebraska Peter Seiler
Nevada Gary Olsen
New Hampshire Dee Clanton
New Jersey Chris Sullivan
New Mexico Nathan Gomme
New York Sean Gerlis
North Carolina Jaime Marshall
North Dakota  Michele Rolowitz
Ohio  Irene Tunanadis
Oklahoma Manda Chebultz and Anna Harman
Oregon MaryEllen Graham  
Pennsylvania Liz Hill
Rhode Island Michelle Florio
South Carolina  Earl Wright
South Dakota Theresa Nold
Tennessee Bobby Jackson
Texas Bobbie Beth Scoggins
Utah Meme Kerr
Vermont Nick LaLanne
Virginia Alice Frick
Washington  Karen Philo
West Virginia April Hottle
Wisconsin  Karla Gunn
Wyoming Jared W. Dixon  
National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) Tim Albert/Lindsay Dunn
American Society of Deaf Children Beth Benedict/Rachel Benedict
Deaf Youth USA (DYUSA) Leala Holcomb  
Council de Manos Milly Morales