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Commissioners

Ms. Jeannie Taylor

Ms. Jacqueline Coleman

Ms. Susan Rieber

Mr. Eric Friedlander

Ms. Michelle Niehaus

Dr. Thomas Evans

Ms. Gerry Gordon-Brown

Ms. Barbie Harris

Ms. Amy Hatzel

Ms. Dodie Karr

Ms. Melissa Kelly

Ms. Joy Kiser

Ms. Nancy Perry

Mr. James Edward Runyon

Ms. Edie Ryan

Mr. George “Buzzy” Tunstall IV


Ms. Amy Hatzel

Chair
Executive Board

Ms. Amy Hatzel
Designee for Amy Schilling, President of KyRID
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. Jeannie Taylor

Vice Chair
Executive Board

Featured in:

KCDHH Spotlight Q&A

April 2021

Ms. Jeannie Taylor
Hearing Loss Association of America
Term expires June 30, 2022

In 2013, Jeannie was initially appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to represent the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) on the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf. After renewal for a further two terms, this appointment is now due to expire on June 30, 2022.

Qualified with a Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Child/Elementary Education from the University of Louisville, and a Master’s degree in Community Agency Counseling from Western Kentucky University, Jeannie also completed an Associate’s Degree with an Emphasis in American Sign Language at Nashville State Community College in Nashville, Tennessee. She was also accepted into a two-year program at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., receiving certification as a Peer Mentor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

As an educator, Jeannie worked within the Kentucky public school system for 33 years. She co-founded and was co-leader of the HLAA-Bowling Green Chapter, and continues to be an advocate for HLAA in that area. Now semi-retired, she resides in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Jeannie plans to continue her commitment to provide education, advocacy and support to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Also to follow her deep passion for sharing Jesus Christ through missionary work at home and abroad.

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Mr. Thomas Evans

Executive Board

Featured in:

KCDHH Spotlight Q&A

June 2021

Dr. Thomas "Tommy" Evans
Kentucky Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Term expires June 30, 2022

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. Michelle Niehaus

Executive Board

Featured in:

KCDHH Spotlight Q&A

August 2021

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

Michelle Niehaus, LCSW, is the Program Administrator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services for the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. 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. Jacqueline Coleman

Ms. Jacqueline Coleman
Lieutenant Governor/Secretary, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Term is based on law and does not expire

Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman is an educator, basketball coach, writer, and founder of a non-profit. She is wife to Chris and a bonus mom to Emma, Will, and Nate; she and Chris are expecting a daughter in February. Her family lives in her childhood community in Mercer County.

Public service was a way of life for Jacqueline and her family. As a fifth-generation Mercer Countian, Jacqueline was raised to offer a hand up to those in need and, as a result, she has devoted her personal and professional life to serving her community. She is a tireless advocate for public education and a strong proponent of young women stepping into leadership roles.

As a high school basketball coach, Jacqueline led her teams to five consecutive record-breaking seasons and one appearance in the Sweet 16. She earned regional Coach of the Year honors in 2015.

Jacqueline’s leadership doesn’t end in the classroom or on the court. Her experience as an alumna of Emerge Kentucky drove her to found her own nonprofit, Lead Kentucky, in 2013. Lead Kentucky ensures Kentucky’s college women are prepared, encouraged, and empowered to seek leadership positions on their campuses and later in their professional fields. Since its inception, Lead Kentucky has empowered 50 campus ambassadors with 29 different majors on more than a dozen college campuses.

Most recently, Jacqueline served as an assistant principal at Nelson County High School. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky.

As Lieutenant Governor, Jacqueline will focus on creating an excellent public education system in Kentucky that will produce the future leaders of our Commonwealth. She will also concentrate on the many challenges facing rural Kentucky.

Jacqueline is determined to give a voice to Kentuckians who feel shut out, but refuse to back down – to build a Kentucky that works for all of us.

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Ms. Susan Rieber

Ms. Susan Rieber
Designee for Secretary Jacqueline Coleman
Term is based on law and does not expire

Bio and image coming soon!

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Mr. Eric Friedlander

Mr. Eric Friedlander
Secretary, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Term is based on law and does not expire

Eric Friedlander was appointed secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services by Gov. Andy Beshear on Dec. 10, 2019. He has spent 35 years in public service, most of them with CHFS.

He served previously as CHFS deputy secretary in the administration of Gov. Steve Beshear, a position in which he helped lead and manage successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act and transformation of Kentucky’s healthcare delivery system.

He has held many other positions in Cabinet agencies from Certificate of Need to Family Resource Centers with emphasis on specialty areas from budget to policy.

Most recently, he served as chief resilience officer for the Louisville Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services. The resilience position was a part of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, a worldwide network of cities studying factors vital to help cities bounce back from the inevitable impact of acute shock or chronic stress of aging infrastructure, inequality and poverty. In the community services aspect of his role, he also led the city’s response to homelessness. This role included some poverty-fighting initiatives like LIHEAP, Meals on Wheels and Neighborhood Place as well as advocacy offices such as the Office of Women, Veterans Affairs, Aging and Disabilities and Youth Development.

Sec. Friedlander is a graduate of Antioch College and lives in Louisville with his wife, Indigo, and their cats and dogs.

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Ms. Gerry Gordon-Brown

Featured in:

KCDHH Spotlight Q&A

May 2021

Ms. Gerry Gordon-Brown
Kentucky Association of the Deaf Representative
Term expires June 30, 2021

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. Barbie Harris

Ms. Barbie Harris
Kentucky Association of the Deaf Representative
Term expires June 30, 2023

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. 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. Melissa Kelly

Featured in:

KCDHH Spotlight Q&A

September 2021

Ms. Melissa Kelly
Service Provider Representative
Term expires June 30, 2022

Melissa Kelly currently serves as an adjunct professor teaching American Sign Language for Sinclair Community College. She has previously worked for St. Rita School for the Deaf and Boone County Public Schools working with children using ASL. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Deaf Education from Eastern Kentucky University in 2003. She currently resides in Boone County with her husband and two children.

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Ms. Joy Kiser

Ms. Joy Kiser
Alexander Graham Bell Association Representative
Term expires June 30, 2021

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. Nancy Perry

Featured in:

KCDHH Spotlight Q&A

July 2021

Ms. Nancy Perry
KAD Representative
Term expires June 30, 2022

Nancy J. Perry’s hometown is Franklin, KY. She graduated from the Kentucky School for the Deaf at Danville, KY. She went to Gallaudet College for a few years and then transferred to NTID, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester, NY with a major in Applied Arts (AA). She also earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Her current occupations are Freelance Arts & Graphic Design, Deaf interpreter for more than 20 years, teaching ASL in the Bowling Green, KY community college for more than 25 years, and ASL tutoring. Nancy has been a Kentucky Association of the Deaf (KAD) representative with KCDHH since 2017.

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Mr. James Edward "Eddie" Runyon

Mr. James Edward "Eddie" Runyon
AARP Representative
Term expires June 30, 2023

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 Richmond, Ky., where he resides with his wife Yvette.

Eddie is an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Discrimination Investigator 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, 2023

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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