Christopher D. Wagner
Chris Wagner (Florida), currently vice president of marketing for The Z™, received a bachelor's degree from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY. Prior to assuming his current role, Chris served as a consultant and as executive director of non-profit agencies in Florida. He has served on numerous boards, including the Florida Association of the Deaf, Inc. (FAD) and the Governor's Americans with Disabilities Act Working Group (ADAWG). Currently he serves on the board of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and the NTID Foundation Board. Chris is a recipient of several awards for his outstanding leadership and advocacy on both state and national levels. He is involved with the NAD because he “strongly feels that in order to achieve our goals as a community, we must contribute our skills and knowledge as a volunteer. The NAD has given me the opportunity to give back to the community." In the little free time he has, he enjoys traveling and spending quiet time with his family and close friends, and escaping to his summer retreat in North Carolina.
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Melissa S. Draganac-Hawk
Melissa Draganac-Hawk (Pennsylvania), a first-generation American of deaf immigrant Peruvian parents, received a master's degree in Linguistics and two bachelor's degrees in Theater Production & Performance and American Sign Language from Gallaudet University. Currently, she is the Principal of Early Childhood Education at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and an adjunct professor of American Sign Language at the University of Pennsylvania. Involved in the deaf community, Melissa was the president of the National Council of Hispano Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and was the Executive Director of Deaf Women United. Melissa has been involved with the NAD throughout her life in various capacities: as a youth, she participated in the Junior NAD and the Youth Leadership Camp, and as an adult she directed the Miss Deaf America Finals in 2002 and 2008. She has been an NAD member since 1988, focusing on issues affecting youth and diversity. In her free time, she enjoys being with her husband, Sam, and son, Etzio.
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Joshua Beckman, a New Jersey man, grew up with deaf parents and a deaf brother. He experienced different education backgrounds -- a deaf program, a mainstreamed program, and he also attended a deaf school where he eventually graduated from, the New Jersey School for the Deaf (NJSD). Afterwards, he went to Gallaudet University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Deaf Studies in May 2011. Joshua has been very involved with the NAD since his early youth years. First as a young camper at the NAD's own Youth Leadership Camp in 2003. Inspired by YLC, he helped re-establish the NJSD Jr.NAD chapter after it was inactive for over 10 years. From there, he attended his first Jr. NAD conference in 2004 and became a Jr. NAD Vice President in 2004 then President in 2005. Joshua received the Youth Service Award in 2004. Then he became a delegate for the New Jersey Association of the Deaf for the NAD Conference in 2008, 2010, and 2012. He also enjoyed being the Business Manager and Administrative Assistant for the Youth Leadership Camp from 2007 to 2011. During his stint at YLC, Joshua recieved the Most Dedicated Award in 2009. While he was studying at Gallaudet University, he was involved in many student organizations such as Student Body Government and was a Bison Leader for new students. He is currently obtaining his Master's in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University. Joshua is very passionate about deaf history and enjoys every learning moment; there are so many different and captivating stories that have changed the course of the deaf community today.
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Regional Representatives serving on the Board are spread across four Regions- Region I, II, II and IV.
Region I Representative
As Michelle Cline grew up in California, she was exposed to different educational methodologies and ended up graduating from a mainstream program with other deaf individuals at school. She later obtained her Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Rochester Institute of Technology and Master's in Social Work from Syracuse University. After a brief stint in Florida, Michelle has made New Jersey her home for the past 17 years. Michelle has worked for ACCESS program, a statewide mental health program for the 17 years as a direct mental health clinician and recently got promoted to become a manager to establish and run a residential treatment facility on the grounds of New Jersey School for the Deaf serving deaf and hard of hearing adolescents who are 12-21 years of age who is in need of out of home placement through St. Joseph Healthcare System. Michelle has been a member of New Jersey Association for the Deaf for some time and is currently serving as NJAD president until her term ends in 2015. Since becoming involved with NJAD, Michelle has received two awards on the behalf of NJAD – State Association Excellence Award from NAD and Al B's Award from Union County College Sign Club. Michelle is also a recipient of Albert Barnabei award from NJAD for her contributions to NJAD and the community as a whole. Michelle serves on different advisory boards on local, state, and national level as her passion is to continue “making a difference”. Michelle is married to William and has three beautiful children together and is experiencing a nest that is almost empty. She enjoys spending time with her family and the little critters, Nevaeh and Sooky.
Region I Representative
Steve Lovi, a native Chicagoan, is the owner of Deaf Outreach and Training Services (DOTS), a program development and grant writing business focused on helping non-profits grow. Prior to DOTS, Steve was the Executive Director of a non-profit agency. Steve has spent the majority of his career in non-profit management with developmental disability related agencies and independent living centers. He previously served as a Governors' appointment with the New York State Independent Living Council as well as being past board president of a local arts agency, an LGBT organization and the Empire State Association of the Deaf (ESAD). Steve received a bachelor's degree from RIT/NTID and resides in Rochester, NY where he enjoys being an active community member and sharing life with his husband, Jerry and their dog, Mily.
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Region II Representative
Richard D. McCowin graduated from Nebraska School for the Deaf (now closed) and Gallaudet University with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. For over 26 years, Richard has been employed at the U.S. Postal Service in Omaha where he has been an union steward for the Omaha Local Area of American Postal Workers Union (APWU). He has been recognized by APWU's National Deaf & Hard of Hearing Task Force for his many outstanding contributions on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing postal workers. For over 17 years, Richard has been part-time Amercian Sign Language instructor at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha where he was given award recognition for Teaching Excellence. Richard has been involved with NAD for 30 years as part of his lifelong passion for advocacy and community activity, and has held various positions in different organizations. He was the Vice President of National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA) and Midwest Athletic Assocation of the Deaf (MAAD). Now, he is President Emeritus of the Nebraska Association of the Deaf (NeAD). He strongly believes that NAD is the true organization which preserves and protects the rights and welfare of deaf and hard of hearing Americans. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books on non-fiction and documentary issues. He has an adult daughter, Megan.
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Region II Representative
Jenny Buechner hails from Madison, Wisconsin. She graduated from the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in 1998 and from Gallaudet University in 2002 with a degree in Social Work. Jenny currently works with Hamilton Relay as the Product Manager and oversees its Deaf Culture Training program for relay operators. Jenny served as the President of the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf (WAD) from 2009 through 2013, tripling its membership and greatly expanded its fiscal assets. Jenny coordinated two successful statewide conferences for the association. After completing two terms as the President, she continues to be an active member of the WAD in providing support through various committees including fundraising and legislative. As President, Jenny created several Public Service Announcement videos discussing domestic violence for the only domestic violence agency that serves deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Wisconsin. Since 2010, she has chaired the NAD State Association and Affiliates Committee, which represents the state associations in the country, helping the NAD understand the needs of the state associations as well as providing support to state associations. The local deaf community is very important to Jenny and she finds time to help out with the Madison Association of the Deaf by volunteering her time with various activities and events hosted by the club. Jenny enjoys spending what remains of her free time with her 11 year old deaf Jack Russell Terrier, Jaxon.
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Region III Representative
Larry D. Evans is a graduate of New Mexico School for the Deaf and received his Bachelor's degree in Biology from Gallaudet University. He taught high school Biology at the Texas School for the Deaf and Sam Houston High School in San Antonio for over 15 years. He received his Masters degree in educational management/supervision from Trinity University. While Executive Director of the Texas Commission for the Deaf, Larry completed his certificate in Executive Management in State Government from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Before he retired, his other professional career was being a charter member of the team to establish Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf(SWCID) in Big Spring, Texas and was Director of West Texas Regional Programs for the Deaf for the Texas Education Agency. During the course of his career, he served as officers on regional, state, and local organizations. Larry was appointed by Texas Governors five times to be on various state commissions and boards. He was President of the Texas School for the Deaf Governing board. He also served as President of the Texas Association of the Deaf three times in thee decades. He attended the NAD and regional conferences a number of times as delegates. He resides in Austin,Texas with his wife Betty and two family dogs Mike and Hope. During their retirement, they travel in their RV and visit adult children and grand children and places to walk and sightsee. Larry hunts and fish and Betty reads.
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Gerald "Jerry" Nelson
Region III Representative
Long active in community leadership and legislative advocacy efforts in his native Minnesota, the greater Washington DC area and in Florida, Jerry Nelson is currently national accounts director-corporate for Purple Communications. Jerry's professional career began in the mechanical engineering field. His love for advocacy led to several positions as executive director of nonprofit organizations serving the deaf and hard of hearing communities in MN and VA. Having accomplished his mission, he went on to teach undergraduate business/management courses at Gallaudet University. In 1992, the corporate sector beckoned – Jerry took on executive positions with MCI, Verizon and other companies focused provision of telecommunications relay and accessibility services. All the while, he has remained involved in state association advocacy efforts. He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology where he served as president of the first NTID Student Congress, and his master's degree in education administration and supervision from the California State University at Northridge. Currently, Jerry and his wife, Nancy Bloch, reside in Jacksonville, FL where they continue to enjoy pursuit of boating and related activities.
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David O. Reynolds
Region IV Representative
David and his sons represent the 4th and 5th generation of Deaf people in his family. He was born and raised in Illinois where he attended and graduated from the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD). He later graduated from Gallaudet University (GU) and Western Maryland College (WMC) then worked at GU for seven years before working at the Indiana School for the Deaf for 20+ years. He loves sports, athletics, competitive, and is quite energetic! David is the co-founder and pioneer since the early 1990's of Bilingual/Bicultural Deaf Education Philosophy/Movement at ISD and across America. He is married to Alyce S. Reynolds, with whom he has 3 sons and 3 stepsons. David is a longtime activist for American Sign Language (ASL), deaf schools, and ASL/English Bilingual Education. He is passionate about deaf culture, linguistics, ASL, and Deaf History. He values hard work, good character, commitment, equality, respect, and integrity. David now works mostly as an actor, producer, and director in TV, films, and on the stage.
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Region IV Representative
Howard A. Rosenblum
Ex Officio Member
Chief Executive Officer
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.
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