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Commissioners

Ms. Amy Hatzel Ms. Gerry Gordon-Brown Ms. Nina Coyer Mr. Thomas Evans
Ms. Barbie Harris Mr. Hal Heiner Ms. Joy Kiser Ms. Michelle Niehaus
Ms. Holly O'Mary Ms. Nancy Perry Ms. Edie Ryan Ms. Jeannie Taylor
Mr. George “Buzzy” Tunstall IV      

Ms. Amy Hatzel

Ms. Amy Hatzel, Chair
Kentucky Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Representative
Term is based on law and does not expire

Amy Hatzel has been an interpreter since 1991. During her 19-year career, she has served the deaf and hard of hearing community at the local, state and national levels. Experience includes an internship with KCDHH, an appointment to one of the first boards of the Kentucky Licensure Board for Interpreters, and most recently, participating as the KYRID Representative to the Kentucky Board of Interpreters Policy Committee. She served two terms as KYRID vice president before being elected president in spring 2010. She holds NAD-V certification, a Bachelor's degree in Interpreting from Eastern Kentucky University and a Master's degree in Special Education from Georgetown College. She is currently employed as a special education teacher in Carter County, but also maintains an independent sign language practice. She resides near Ashland with her husband, Gerry and their three daughters.

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Ms. Gerry Gordon-Brown

Ms. Gerry Gordon-Brown
Kentucky Association of the Deaf Representative
Term expires June 30, 2018

The Office of Governor Beshear recently appointed Ms. Gordon-Brown to the board at the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Since graduating from Kentucky State University and receiving a Master’s Degree from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, she has worked in three different states (Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky) with Vocational Rehabilitation agencies. Prior to her retirement on July 31, 2015 as director of the Kentucky Client Assistance Program she was very active in many organizations on the local, state and national levels. Being an advocate has always been a part of her participation in the activities of various organizations. In 2014 she completed the two-year on line program at Gallaudet University to become a certified Peer Mentor for persons who are deaf and hard of hearing. She was a former member of the Kentucky Licensing Board for Specialists in Hearing Instruments representing consumer interests. Presently, she is serving as the secretary of the Kentuckiana Chapter for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and she is also a member of the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky. On a personal note, Gerry lives in Louisville and she has one daughter Carla who is married to Kevin Cooper. She has 3 grandsons, one granddaughter and one great-grandson. Her hobbies are spending time with family and friends, reading, writing and traveling. She has traveled to Europe and West Africa.

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Ms. Nina Coyer

Ms. Nina Coyer
President of Kentucky Association of the Deaf
Term is based on law and does not expire

Nina is a native of San Diego, California. She attended Gallaudet University before she graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with both Bachelors and Masters in Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She taught at Kentucky School for the Deaf for 12 years before joining full time as Tenured Assistant Professor at her alma mater for 18 years. She taught all levels of American Sign Language, First Year Students, Deaf Culture and Interpreting classes. She also taught workshops in variety of subjects. She has been involved with several boards at the state level in the past. She is now the President of Kentucky Association of the Deaf.

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Mr. Thomas Evans

Mr. Thomas Evans
Kentucky Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Term expires June 30, 2019

Bio coming soon!

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Ms. Barbie Harris

Ms. Barbie Harris
Kentucky Association of the Deaf Representative
Term expires June 30, 2017

Barbie Harris was appointed by the Governor to be a representative on the KCDHH board for the Kentucky Association of the Deaf (KAD). Barbie was born in Amarillo, Texas and was a “foreign student” traveling around USA as her father was in the Navy during war times. Barbie graduated from Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, Ohio and she was the only deaf student in public school with no interpreting services at that time. After graduation she attended Gallaudet University where she first learned American Sign Language and about the Deaf Culture. She transferred to James Madison College in Harrodsburg, Virginia while her husband worked as a teacher at the Virginia School for the Deaf. She obtained a B.S. degree from James Madison College in Virginia and an M.S. in Arts Education from the University of Kentucky. Barbie, a 38 year veteran teacher at Kentucky School for the Deaf, loved teaching deaf and hard of hearing children of all ages in Art Education and ASL/Deaf Studies. She holds a Sign Language Proficiency Interview certification. Barbie is an avid artist who enjoys being involved with the KCDHH’s DeaFestival artist showcases. Not only was Barbie a teacher, but she also served as a Ky Chapter-Jr NAD Advisor, an SBG Advisor and the Miss Deaf Kentucky Ambassador Director. Barbie is also currently a member of the Kentucky Association of the Deaf, the National Association of the Deaf, KSDAA, GUAA, JMUAA and the Mini Deaf Olympics Board. Barbie is also a “history buff” who conducts genealogy research for KSD’s Jacobs Hall Museum. She is married to Archie P. Harris, co-founder of KCDHH, and they have 4 children (1 CODA and 3 Deaf) , 6 grandchildren with a 7th on the way. Her hobbies are traveling, camping, arts/crafts, and stained glass art.

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Mr. Hal Heiner

Mr. Hal Heiner
Cabinet Secretary, Education and Workforce Development
Term is based on law and does not expire

Secretary Hal Heiner has firsthand experience in bringing jobs to the Commonwealth and keeping jobs in the Commonwealth. As a successful businessman with a passion for education and public service, Heiner has long been focused on shaping civic policy and improving education and career opportunities for all Kentuckians.

He now brings that focus to his new role as Secretary of Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, where he oversees the work of educating, preparing and training Kentucky’s current and future workforce.

Heiner is a longtime Kentucky resident and has been an active community leader. He has served as a vice chair of Greater Louisville, Inc., and in 2002, he was elected to the Louisville Metro Council where he spent eight years focusing on finding efficiencies in services, government transparency and innovative ways for the community to grow and prosper.

Heiner’s greatest civic passion has been involvement in numerous educational organizations. These have included serving as founding chairman of Kentuckians Advocating for Reform in Education and Kentucky Charter Schools Association and as chairman of the Christian Academy of Louisville School System.

He also served on the Asbury University Board of Trustees, University of Louisville Board of Overseers and Summit Academy Board of Trustees. Currently Heiner serves on the Metro Leadership Foundation Board, an organization focused on after-school instruction for elementary school children.

Heiner’s private sector career began after receiving a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Louisville. He then became a partner in a civil engineering firm that worked across Kentucky.

His interest in real estate led him to the position of president of the commercial division of a multi-state development company. In 1997, Heiner founded Capstone Realty which has developed more than five million square feet of new office and industrial buildings and helped to attract and keep more than 5,000 jobs in the region.

He and his wife, Sheila, reside on a corn and soybean farm in Jefferson County. They have four grown children.

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Ms. Joy Kiser

Ms. Joy Kiser
Alexander Graham Bell Association Representative
Term expires June 30, 2018

Bio coming soon.

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Ms. Michelle Niehaus

Ms. Michelle Niehaus
Division of Mental Health Coordinator
Term is based on law and does not expire

Michelle Niehaus, LCSW, is the Statewide Coordinator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at the Division for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services. Through collaboration, training, advocacy, and outreach, she strives to create a linguistically and culturally affirmative system of mental health care in the state. Michelle previously worked as a therapist with Seven Counties Services, Inc. coordinating their mental health program and with Deaf Network in Indiana as a clinician. She is currently the chair of the Mental Health Special Interest Section of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association (ADARA).

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Ms. Holly O'Mary

Ms. Holly O'Mary
Service Provider Representative
Term expires June 30, 2019

Holly O’Mary was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to represent Kentucky Association of the Deaf. She is a Louisville native and currently serves as a board member for KAD. Holly served as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf in both Lexington and Louisville for 7 years.. She is currently a Career Counselor with Eastern Kentucky University with her office housed in Louisville. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University in Special Education with an emphasis on Deaf Education and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Kentucky. She is also a Certified Rehab Counselor. In addition, she was the Miss Deaf Kentucky Pageant Director from 2011 to 2013. Holly is also the mother of an almost one year old son who keeps her busy on her toes. When she does have spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors (pool, sun, boating, etc), walking in parks, and reading.

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Ms. Nancy Perry

Nancy Perry
KAD Representative
Term expires June 30, 2019

Bio coming soon!

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Ms. Edie Ryan

Ms. Edie Ryan
Member At-Large
Term expires June 30, 2018

Chicago native Edie Ryan is a licensed interpreter certified by the National Association of the Deaf and has worked as an educational interpreter for the past 22 years. She also does private practice interpreting in Western Kentucky and is active in the deaf community. Ms. Ryan, who lives in Paducah, has served on the West Kentucky Deaf Alumni Board and mentors several interpreters in Kentucky. She is currently president of the Kentucky Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

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Ms. Jeannie Taylor

Ms. Jeannie Taylor
Hearing Loss Association of America
Term expires June 30, 2019

Jeannie M. Taylor was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to represent Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) for her first term and then by Governor Matt Bevin for her second term.

Ms. Taylor received her Bachelor of Science degree in Exceptional Child Education and Elementary Education from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky and her Master’s degree in Community Agency Counseling from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Currently she is employed as a Special Education Teacher for the Allen County School District in Scottsville, Kentucky. Ms. Taylor is now in her 31st year of teaching. In addition to her work in the field of education, she completed an Associate’s Degree with an Emphasis in American Sign Language at Nashville State Community College in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the highlights of her education and training occurred when she was accepted into a 2 year program at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. which upon completion in June 2013, certified her as a Peer Mentor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Currently she serves as co-founder and co-leader of the HLAA-Bowling Green Chapter in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

She is thrilled to have the opportunity to extend her passion for Kentuckians who make up the deaf and hard of hearing community by serving as a commissioner for KCDHH. When Ms. Taylor isn’t teaching, she enjoys reading, taking long walks, and being in the company of good friends.

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Mr. George “Buzzy” Tunstall IV

Mr. George “Buzzy” Tunstall IV
Parent Representative
Term expires June 30, 2017

Bio coming soon!

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Vacant

Vacant
AARP Representative

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