Important Dates

Recent Announcements

E-News (June 11, 2021)

June 11, 2021

This week's e-news has been posted.

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MCDHH Announces New Executive Director: Cathee Wolford

April 1, 2021

Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is pleased to announce the selection of its seventh Executive Director: Cathee Wolford. The first woman to lead the MCDHH staff will officially start in her new role on May 4, 2021. Ms. Wolford brings with her 28 years of experience working with people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She most recently served as Assistant Director of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Assistive Technology with Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and was previously the District Supervisor for the Joplin VR Office and a VR counselor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in North Kansas City. Ms. Wolford earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from William Woods University and master’s in social work (MSW) from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in social work through Tulane University. Born to Deaf parents in Illinois, Ms. Wolford grew up using both American Sign Language and speech methods. She is a second generation member of a Deaf family. She moved to Missouri in 1992. Her mother, Sharlene Haney, had Usher Syndrome and set an example to never let her Deafness as an excuse. Although her mother passed away in May 2020, Ms. Wolford will be carrying on her passion for Deaf collectivism into her new role with MCDHH. Involvement with MCDHH is not new to Ms. Wolford. She has been a member of the Board for Certification of Interpreters (BCI) since 2012, and has served as the chairperson since 2018. Ms. Wolford has also assisted with planning for the Missouri Interpreters Conference and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Empowerment Symposium, and participated on the selection committee for the Hearing Aid Distribution Program (HADP) since it was established in 2019. Ms. Wolford’s other organizational involvements include: President-Elect of Missouri Rehabilitation Association—Heart of Missouri Chapter, Missouri Assistive Technology Council member, Diversity and Inclusion Committee member with Missouri VR, and former chapter member of the Missouri Association of the Deaf (MoAD). Outside of professional life, Ms. Wolford collects M&Ms memorabilia and is an 1980s arcade game enthusiast. She is a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. She lives in Jefferson City with her four cats: Mello Yello, Gizmo, Othello, and Shado.   cathee wolford headshot

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Upcoming TEP Sessions

February 3, 2021

MCDHH will resume offering the BEI Test of English Proficiency (TEP) on a limited basis beginning at the end of this month. Testing appointments are available on February 26 (MO residents only), March 18 (MO residents only), March 29, and April 23. Please note that each testing date has its own deadline for paperwork and payment to register.   All of these sessions will be held at the James C. Kirkpatrick Building in Jefferson City, MO. We will continue to follow special procedures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.   For more information about the test and how to register, please read our Spring 2021 Offsite TEP Checklist: https://mcdhh.mo.gov/assets/sites/12/TEP-Checklist-Offsite-Spring-2021.2.pdf For more information about our safety precautions, please read our COVID-19 TEP Testing Procedures: https://mcdhh.mo.gov/assets/sites/12/covid-19-testing-procedures.april2021-1.pdf

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Resignation Statement of Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa

January 13, 2021

Dear Missouri Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community: Some hours ago, I informed the MCDHH board and staff of my intention to step down from my role as MCDHH Executive Director effective March 1st, 2021. It has been the greatest honor of my life to have served Missouri for over six and a half years. I am grateful to each and every person who has served with me and am proud of the progress we have made together. I have worked tirelessly on MCDHH’s behalf, motivated by a single overriding criterion: What is in the best interest of my Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community? The past years have been deeply rewarding for me. On one hand, this was due to the opportunity for enhancing the visibility of the work of MCDHH and helping to pass over twenty pieces of legislation. These projects reaffirmed our enduring values and consequent approach to several policy initiatives, establishment of new programs, training and education, and building new partnerships including our several collaborative efforts and a deeper engagement with the community. On the other hand, the rewarding nature of the work I have been engaged in over these years is also due to the personal relationships that have been forged with many organizations and individuals with whom I have worked closely over that time. This includes MCDHH staff, MCDHH Commissioners (present and past), Board for Certification of Interpreters, State Committee on Interpreters, Missouri Commission on Human Rights, Missouri Association of the Deaf, Hearing Loss Association of America (Greater Saint Louis and Kansas City), Sight and Sound Impaired of Saint Louis, Saint Louis Metro Black Deaf Advocates, DEAF, Inc., Deaf LEAD, Beyond Interpreting, Helen Keller National Center, The Whole Person Inc., Missouri School for the Deaf, Central Institute for the Deaf, The Moog Center for Deaf Education, William Woods University, Florissant Valley Community College, Starkloff Disability Institute, Governor’s Council on Disability, 911 Service Board, MO Relay Service Advisory Committee, Deaf Advisory Council on Mental Health, Deafblind Advisory Committee, interpreters and community members. Thank you all for the great partnerships that have delivered results for Missouri. I am grateful to my boss, Dr. Stephen Barr, who from Day One took me under his wing, provided me with the roadmap to the institutional knowledge of Missouri system, and mentored me to be a better public service leader. While I will miss working with you, Missouri will always be in my heart. I am confident that MCDHH is on a solid footing to continue the important work on behalf of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Missourians. From now until my last day, I will do everything within my power to prepare a smooth transition process as well as assist the board with the process of finding my replacement. Sincerely, Opeoluwa Sotonwa

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Accepting Applications: DeafBlind Programs

July 17, 2020

MCDHH is now accepting applications for the Missouri SSP Program & DeafBlind Scholarship Programs for Independence and Education through August 14, 2020. Learn more about the opportunity using either document format below: PDF Word

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