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 22 years as a lawyer, focusing his practice on disability rights and special education law. For 9 years, he was a Senior Attorney at Equip for Equality, the Protection & Advocacy entity for Illinois. The previous ten years, he worked as an associate at Monahan & Cohen, and briefly as a legal counsel at Access Living, the center for independent living in Chicago. In 1997, he founded the Midwest Center on Law and the Deaf, and served as Board Chair until 2011. In 2010 and again in 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Rosenblum to serve on the United States Access Board. 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.
The longest serving staff member, Marc Charmatz started work at the NAD in 1977. He is renowned throughout the disability community for taking part in several landmark cases and legal actions on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Charmatz is a graduate of New York University (B.A.) and the Northwestern University School of Law. From 1977 until 2002, he served as the director of the NAD Law and Advocacy Center (LAC). In 2002, Marc stepped down to work as an NAD senior attorney on a part-time basis. He currently is an adjunct professor of Law at the University of Maryland Law School, where he teaches the Civil Rights of Individuals with Disabilities Clinic. Marc answers numerous email and telephone/TTY messages from individuals who have questions about legal issues and provides information to enable deaf and hard of hearing individuals, encouraging them to become advocates on the issues they are concerned about. He sums up his experiences this way: "I truly believe that I have had one of the most interesting public interest careers serving deaf and hard of hearing individuals.” In his free time, Marc collects sports cards - baseball, football, and basketball, and enjoys going to flea markets and yard sales.
Debra Patkin is a staff attorney with the NAD. Her job duties include litigating civil-rights cases, advocating on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing community, handling consumer inquiries regarding legal issues, and outreach/education. Prior to joining the NAD, she worked as a litigation attorney at the Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles, California. Debra received her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. She also has a M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet University and a B.S. in Psychology from R.I.T. She juggles her legal job with her another job – being a mother. In her spare time, she enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams and doing outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.
Caroline Jackson is a staff attorney with the NAD. She focuses primarily on civil rights litigation, filed on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing individuals, to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Prior to becoming an attorney, Caroline worked as an interpreter in New York City where she also taught reading and writing in the Program for Deaf Adults at LaGuardia Community College. Caroline holds a B.A. in linguistics from Harvard University, an M.A. in education policy from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, a J.D. from Stanford Law School, and the National Interpreter Certification (NIC). Following law school, Caroline clerked for the Hon. R. Guy Cole, Jr., Chief Judge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Caroline enjoys music and theater, especially opera, big-band jazz, and musicals.
Zainab Alkebsi is the Policy Counsel at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). She is responsible for providing analysis, recommendations, and counsel to the NAD on policy issues affecting people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind. Prior to joining the NAD, she served as Deputy Director at the Maryland Governor's Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing where she coordinated the office's legislative and policy efforts. Licensed to practice law in Maryland, she is also a member of the American Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association. She received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She also has a B.A. in Political Science from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Zainab is excited to come full-circle in her path as a Deaf attorney since her very first policy internship was at the NAD! Born and raised in the D.C. area, she enjoys rooting for D.C. sports teams. She also enjoys reading historical non-fiction in her spare time.
Anna Bitencourt is a staff attorney with the NAD. As litigator and intake specialist, her duties include handling inquiries from consumers seeking legal or advocacy assistance and engaging in litigation and administrative advocacy on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Prior to joining the NAD, she was an associate attorney for Dansie & Dansie, LLP representing clients in a variety of civil and criminal matters before administrative agencies, and state and federal judges and juries. Anna is a graduate of University of Maryland College Park (B.S.) and the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (J.D.). While in law school, Anna served as Senior Note and Comment Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy. Her Note, "Tripping over TRIPS and the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Legislation and Political Decisions in Brazil and the United States", was published in the same Journal. Anna also served as judicial intern to Special Master Golkiewicz of the United States Court of Federal Claims. Anna was born in Brazil to an Italian family and is a polyglot and self-professed linguaphile. In her spare time, she dances and practices yoga and enjoys outdoor sports such as hiking, running, and climbing. She loves theatre and performed with National Theatre of the Deaf in a national tour. Anna also loves to read and travel, especially to Brazil and Italy to visit her family.
Tawny Holmes, Esq. is a rare (if not the only) deaf attorney with a Masters’ Degree in Deaf Education and experience in teaching students of all grade levels. Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, she attended mainstream school there before graduating from the Alabama School for the Deaf. Tawny then obtained her degrees in Deaf Studies, Sociology, and Deaf Education from Gallaudet University along with receiving her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Tawny currently resides in Germantown, MD and works full-time as the Education Policy Counsel at the NAD. She also serves as the chair of the National Education Strategy Team and as the coordinator of the Education Advocates Program at the NAD. Tawny is the proud godmother of four deaf children: Avant, Leilani, Oriana and Talon. She loves reading fiction books and scrapbooking inbetween her travels around America for many education advocacy related presentations!
She holds an M.B.A. degree from North Park University with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management and a master's degree from New York University. With this education and over 20 years of experience in nonprofit and corporate settings, advocacy has always been a core principle of her work. Recent events have revealed the need to increase legislative advocacy skills within our community especially with respect to educating legislative officials on the needs and rights of deaf and hard of hearing adults and children. Kim is excited to fill this role of State Legislative Affairs Coordinator with the NAD and work with all states!
Before arriving at the NAD, Lizzie worked at Gallaudet University for more than five years, first as a Digital Video Specialist and then as a Video Producer. She has also served in a volunteer capacity as Communications Director for the Global Reach Out Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a sustainable community of Deaf advocates through the establishment of peer-to-peer cross-cultural programs in developing countries. Lizzie has the distinction of being the first deaf person to be elected as President of the Student Government at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has a Bachelor's degree from the School of Film and Animation at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master's Degree from the Administration and Supervision at Gallaudet University. Born and raised in California, Lizzie never misses out an opportunity to grab a bite at In-N-Out when traveling out west! She is a former deaflympian for the US Deaf Women's National Soccer team (Australia, 2005). Her pups, Nico and Pendo, keep her sane at home and she enjoys road trips when possible.
In addition to filling in on responding to calls and emails at the NAD Headquarters' front desk, she also manages all social media accounts for the NAD while working closely with the Director of Communications. Jazzy's deep-seated passion for all things social began with online storytelling. Her love for travel put her in the business of blogging. Currently residing in D.C., by way of Buffalo, NY, she earned her bachelor's degree in business and communications from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She specializes in digital communication, event planning, and project management. Jazzy enjoys bringing her dazzling skill set to the NAD!
Ryan is a byproduct of second-generation Deafhood, education in English (BA) and Administration (MPA), and work experience in researching, teaching, and administrating. Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, he studied English at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Campaign) where he was simultaneously mentored by Deaf-minded professors in research method work. He became a Junior Research Specialist at the Center of Mind and Brain (UC Davis Corina Lab). A network connecting UC Davis and Gallaudet University known as Visual Language, Visual Learning (VL2) inspired Ryan to move from Northern California to VL2 Headquarters in Washington DC where he now lives. In addition to graduate studies at Gallaudet, Ryan worked as an Administrative Assistant for both the English Department and VL2. For one term, Ryan also served as Secretary for the Graduate Student Association; and performed a major role for Gallaudet University Theatre’s production of Lysistrata. He graduated from Gallaudet with a Master of Public Administration (MPA) in 2014. Ryan is now an adjunct faculty member at Gallaudet. When not teaching, Ryan proudly facilitates VideoPhone (VP) calls for the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). When he is not working, Ryan enjoys acting, coffee conversations, dog-sitting dachshunds, and living for the moment.
Andy is responsible for the maintenance and development of websites for the NAD. Currently he works at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Prior to that he was a web developer at National Technical Institute of the Deaf. Additionally he worked for five years at the University of Vermont where he was responsible for the Continuing Education website. He received a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master's degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University. He currently resides in Indiana.
Donna Morris has been with the NAD since 1980. She is the advertising and sales specialist for the NADmag. Her other responsibilities include managing the NAD Bookstore, assisting with member and donor duties, and organizing the exhibit hall during NAD conferences. She enjoys vacations in New York, reading, and spending time with her teenage son and family.
After retiring as professor and department chair from Gallaudet University in 1996, Ron Nomeland worked full time at the NAD from 1999 through 2005 as membership coordinator. At present he works part time, usually one day a week in the membership department. A native of Minnesota, Ron graduated from Gallaudet University in 1958 and received his doctorate from Syracuse University in 1973. He is a board member of Deaf Seniors of America. He also volunteers with various organizations and just took up golf, although late in life. He and his wife enjoy national and international travel. Becoming a grandfather for the first time recently, he is fascinated by the antics of his granddaughter.
Allie Rice, a returned Peace Corps volunteer and a staunch deaf advocacy educator, is very involved with deaf youth in various countries such as Japan, India, and Kenya. She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in professional and technical communications from Rochester Institute of Technology in May 2002. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya from 2006 to 2008, she focused on improving the quality of education and resources for underprivileged deaf children, young adults, and parents. Prior to and after her volunteer service overseas, she worked with Anthropologie, a high volume clothing store, as a sales specialist and department manager. A Los Angeles, California native, she has always been fascinated by unique places, different cultures, and foreign sign languages. In addition, she is fluent in Kenyan Sign Language and enjoys reading, writing short stories, cooking, going to a local farmers’ market, and traveling.
Tom Wells has worked in the Business Office of the NAD since 1996. He started as an Accountant and worked his way up to Director of Finance. In his current position Tom is responsible for the overall financial operations of the NAD. He graduated from Gallaudet University with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and in his free time enjoys playing soccer, golf, and traveling.
Michael Michner started as a part-time Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the NAD in 2010 after being elected as a board treasurer (a two year term which was completed in 2012). Michner graduated from California State University, Northridge, in 1982 and received his Certificate Public Accountant (CPA) license in 1986. Michner has worked in numerous non-profit organizations for over 30 years as a CPA consulltant.
Jason Stark joined the NAD shortly after it won the first grant award in 1991. His experiences have included the administration of staff in as many as 58 media libraries across the United States. He has also been responsible for computer and Internet operations resulting in first-ever advancements in accessible media delivery and retrieval. One example of such is the decade-old, yet-to-be emulated Internet-based media cataloging, classifying, and scheduling system to meet the needs of persons who are sensory disabled, their families, and the professionals who work with them. His management skills resulted in the federally funded Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) being dubbed the "Netflix of education." Additional pioneering accomplishments include his planning and design of systems that delivered the first streaming of captioned classic movies as well as the first provision of a free-loan service of streamed captioned and described educational media. Two degrees from the University of South Carolina in business administration and information systems management were the foundation for the development of his innovative technology leadership that not only resulted in government savings of millions of dollars over the past twenty years, but also brought significant improvements in multimedia access and expansion of services to disabled children in the U.S. For two decades he has been immersed in Web site accessibility issues, consulting with programs across the country in a mutual quest for equal access.
Angela Ellman has been involved with the NAD since 2011. She planned conference logistics for the 51st Biennial NAD Conference in 2012 and the 2011 and 2013 NAD Leadership Training Conferences (NLTC). Previously, Angela handled the 52nd Biennial NAD Conference that took take place in Atlanta, GA. Right now, she is planning the 2015 NLTC and 2016 Conference. In addition to working with the NAD, she coordinates the annual conferences for the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) for the past several years. She has a BS in Business Administration and has a goal to obtain her MA some day. She currently resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her fiancé and two young KODAs. She spends her free time gardening, painting, reading, traveling, and snowboarding. She especially enjoys spending quality time with her family by taking her kids to the water park, museums, movies, and the zoo!