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.