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Commissioners

Ms. Jeannie Taylor Ms. Gerry Gordon-Brown Dr. Thomas Evans Ms. Barbie Harris
Ms. Amy Hatzel Ms. Dodie Karr Ms. Joy Kiser Ms. Michelle Niehaus
Ms. Holly O'Mary Mr. Don Parkinson Ms. Nancy Perry Mr. James Edward Runyon
Ms. Edie Ryan Mr. George “Buzzy” Tunstall IV    

Ms. Jeannie Taylor

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

Ms. Taylor was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear in 2013 to represent Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) on the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Governor Matt Bevin renewed her appointment for a second term which expires June 30, 2019.

Jeannie is a graduate from the University of Louisville where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Child/Elementary Education. She earned a Master’s degree in Community Agency Counseling from Western Kentucky University. After spending 33 years employed as an educator in Kentucky’s public-school system, she is now semi-retired and resides in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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 two-year program at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. which upon completion, certified her as a Peer Mentor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

For five years, she served as co-founder and co-leader of the HLAA-Bowling Green Chapter and continues to be an advocate for HLAA in that area.

Jeannie considers herself a lifelong learner and plans to continue her commitment to providing education, advocacy and support to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. She has a deep passion for sharing Christ through missionary work at home and abroad.

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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 an active member 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. Becky Cabe

Ms. Becky Cabe
Designee for Secretary Hal Heiner
Term is based on law and does not expire

Bio coming soon!

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Mr. Thomas Evans

Dr. Thomas "Tommy" Evans
Kentucky Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Term expires June 30, 2019

Tommy Evans is a Pediatric Audiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center (CCHMC). He provides various clinical services at the Northern Kentucky outpatient location which includes behavioral diagnostics, auditory brainstem response evaluations, and amplification services. Tommy has been employed at CCHMC 2004 and currently serves as the Hearing Aid Program Coordinator. His primary interests and specialties include pediatric amplification, telehealth, student development, functional outcomes, and process-improvement methodologies. He received his Master’s Degree in 2003 and Clinical Doctorate in 2005 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Tommy is a member of the American Speech Language Association (ASHA) and Kentucky Speech Hearing Association (KSHA). He maintains a Kentucky license in both Audiology and Hearing Instruments Specialist. He currently serves on KSHA board in lieu of his position on the ASHA Advisory Council for Audiologists.

Tommy currently resides in Union, KY, with his wife Tiffany, and their three children, Davey, Addy, and Austin. In his spare time he loves the outdoors, playing basketball, enjoying family time, and watching college sports.

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Ms. Barbie Harris

Ms. Barbie Harris
Kentucky Association of the Deaf Representative
Term expires June 30, 2020

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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Ms. Amy Hatzel

Ms. Amy Hatzel
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 career, she has served the deaf and hard of hearing community in a variety of settings. Experience includes an internship with KCDHH, an appointment to the Kentucky Licensure Board for Interpreters, KYRID Representative to the Kentucky Board of Interpreters Policy Committee and staff interpreter for the Central Intelligence Agency. 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 and teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 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. Dodie Kerr

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

Dodie Karr is from London, Kentucky and is the current President of the Kentucky Association of the Deaf. She graduated from the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) and received her Bachelor of Science degree in social work from Eastern Kentucky University. She has served as vice president of the KAD and is a delegate in the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). She currently is a representative in the Deaf Grassroots Movement of Kentucky and is president and event organizer for the Kentucky Mountain Deaf Community (KMDC). Ms. Karr was awarded Berea College’s 2006 Outstanding Mentor of the Year and KAD’s 2007 Golden Glove. Ms. Karr is married to her husband, James.

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Ms. Joy Kiser

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

Joy Kiser, originally from Lexington, was appointed to the KCDHH Board by the Governor as our representative for the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell). She currently lives in Frankfort and is the Assistant Director for Business Operations within the Executive Director’s Office of the Legislative Research Commission (LRC). Her job duties include supervision of the facility administration, inventory and maintenance, carriers, bill processing and telecommunications of the business operations, and personnel activities for the LRC staff in service to the state’s legislators. Joy previously worked as the Human Resources Manager for the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts and also served three years on the Kentucky Board of Interpreters for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and currently serves on the Board of the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center. Both of Joy’s parents, Phillip and Patricia Huddleston, served as Commissioners for KCDHH so she comes by the charge to serve naturally.

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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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Mr. Don Parkinson

Don Parkinson
Interim Cabinet Secretary, Education and Workforce Development
Term is based on law and does not expire

Don Parkinson’s experience in marketing and advertising and his philanthropic work serves the Commonwealth of Kentucky well in his role as Interim Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Prior to being named by Governor Matt Bevin to the interim post, Parkinson served as Secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

Under his leadership, Secretary Parkinson increased the efficiency of state government by realigning several agencies within the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and optimizing employee responsibilities.

Kentucky State Parks experienced a renaissance. In 2016, Governor Bevin partnered with the General Assembly to concentrate $18 million on guest safety and park amenities. As a result of the “Refreshing the Finest” campaign, Kentucky State Parks continue to yield substantial increases in room sales and revenue.

Parkinson came to public service after a successful business career at two Fortune 500 companies. Parkinson provided leadership to KFC franchisees all over the United States in his role as Senior Vice President of KFC and YUM! Brands. Before joining KFC, Parkinson was the Advertising Manager of the General Motors’ Pontiac brand.

The Secretary’s philanthropic work includes twice serving as the Interim President of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, an agency contained inside the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

Parkinson holds a Master of Science degree from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science degree from West Virginia University.

He lives in Louisville with his wife, Libby.​

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Ms. Nancy Perry

Nancy Perry
KAD Representative
Term expires June 30, 2019

Nancy Jane Perry was appointed by Governor Matt Bevin to represent the Kentucky Association of the Deaf (KAD). She lives in Franklin, Kentucky and currently teaches American Sign Language (ASL) at Bowling Green-Warren County Community Education and is a ASL tutor at the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD). She is also a member of the KAD Board and has been a delegate to the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) since 2014. She also serves on the board for the Regional Resource Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (RRCDHH), the Kentucky Baptist Conference of the Deaf and the Southern Baptist Conference of the Deaf. Nancy is a graduate of the KSD and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in arts and design from Western Kentucky University. She has also served on the Statewide Independence Living Council (SILC) as a member-at-large working with individuals with disabilities and a member-at-large with the Disabilities Resource Initiative at Bowling Green. Over the past 20years, Nancy has been highly active in the deaf community in Bowling Green and working with diverse disabilities populations.

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Mr. James Edward "Eddie" Runyon

Mr. James Edward "Eddie" Runyon
AARP Representative
Term expires June 30, 2020

James Edward “Eddie” Runyon was appointed by Governor Matt Bevin in 2018 to serve on the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a representative of AARP.

Eddie is a resident of Pikeville, Ky., where he resides with his wife Yvette and two children, Triniti and Brock.

Eddie is a Loss Prevention and Safety Manager with Lowe’s Home Improvement and a 1993 and 1994 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, holding degrees in Loss Prevention Management and Business and Industrial Security, as well as the LPC (Loss Prevention Certified) designation. Eddie also attended Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, arriving just after the DPN (Deaf President Now) movement. It was here that he was first exposed to the power of advocacy for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and he has continued advocating since, serving as a past member of the TRS (Telephone Relay Service) Advisory Board, Captioned Movies Study Group, and State Outreach Coordinator and State Account Manager for Hamilton Relay Services. Eddie was also instrumental in bringing the first captioned movies to the theater in Pikeville.

In his spare time, Eddie enjoys spending time with his family, attending sporting events, and conducting genealogy research.

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Ms. Edie Ryan

Ms. Edie Ryan
Member At-Large
Term expires June 30, 2021

Chicago native Edie Ryan is a licensed interpreter certified by the National Association of the Deaf and National Interpreter Certification. She has worked as an educational interpreter for the past 31 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. She is a past president of the Kentucky Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and currently serves as director.

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Mr. George “Buzzy” Tunstall IV

Mr. George “Buzzy” Tunstall IV
Parent Representative
Term expires June 30, 2020

George “Buzzy” Tunstall IV is from Louisville, Kentucky. He graduated from the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) and does inventory control for United Parcel Service (UPS). Prior to the UPS position, Buzzy was a processing specialist for Republic Bank. Selected by the KCDHH Board of Commissioners, Buzzy currently serves on the Louisville Association of the Deaf Board. He has three children, one of which is an eight-year-old son who is currently enrolled at KSD and hopes to develop a “parent’s forum” for parents of deaf students to discuss concerns they may have on a daily basis. Buzzy enjoys running, swimming, reading and bowling.

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