— Governor Wes Moore today announced the appointment of Usherla DeBerry as acting director of the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The governor also announced the members appointed to the newly-created State Board of Sign Language Interpreters.
“It is vital that we provide all resources and access to opportunities for Maryland’s Deaf and hard of hearing community. I am confident that we have the right team in place to accomplish that goal,” said Gov. Moore.
“I am grateful that Ms. DeBerry and the new board members answered the call to serve. I thank Acting Director Breen for her tremendous work and leadership in the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing during this search process and I look forward to all that the office, the board, and our administration will do together in partnership.” The Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
promotes equal and full access for all Marylanders by providing expertise that enhances the general welfare of Maryland’s Deaf and hard of hearing residents. The office addresses policy gaps, provides expertise related to Deaf and hard of hearing issues, and facilitates the ability to access resources and services.Usherla DeBerry
is a seasoned professional in program administration and advocacy within the Deaf community. Prior to this role, she was a Regional Manager for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Housing Operations Manager at Gallaudet University. She also has been adjunct faculty at Gallaudet University, Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Delaware Technical Community College.
DeBerry holds a Bachelor of Science from Gallaudet University and a Master of Education from Wilmington University. Her appointment will be submitted to the Senate for confirmation during the 2024 legislative session.
Governor Moore also announced the members of the newly-created State Board of Sign Language Interpreters. In May, Governor Moore signed the Maryland Sign Language Interpreters Act
into law, which established a licensing and regulatory system for sign language interpreters under the State Board of Sign Language Interpreters. Governor Moore’s appointees to the State Board of Sign Language Interpreters include:Susan Beaver
is a nationally certified American Sign Language Interpreter who primarily works in K-12 educational settings and is a Child of a Deaf Adult. Her previous interpreting experience was staff interpreter and interpreter coordinator for the Deaf Independent Living Association. Beaver maintains memberships with the Registry of the Interpreters for the Deaf as well as the Potomac Chapter of Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Beaver holds a degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pamela Collins
is an assistant professor for the Department of Interpretation and Translation at Gallaudet University. Her extensive professional expertise includes various faculty roles. Her research interests lie in the institution of access, services providers as an institution, the regulation, practice, and impact of scheduling practices in American Sign Language-English interpreting, the social organization of interpreters regarding race, culture, equality, inclusion, and diversity; and the educational experiences of minoritized students in interpreter education programs, and Deaf/Hearing teams. Dr. Collins was the president and board member of the National Alliance of Black Interpreters, D.C. chapter. Dr. Collins earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Interpretation at Gallaudet University. Shane Feldman
founded and led Innivee Strategies, Inc., an organizational and leadership development company that rapidly grew from a start-up to a nationally recognized consulting firm. Previous professional experience includes positions as executive director of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and as chief operating officer for the National Association of the Deaf. Volunteer experiences include several years as president, vice president and board member of various organizations including the Maryland Association of the Deaf. Feldman was the former chair of the Maryland Advisory Council on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and was a member of committees and task forces to review medical video interpreting and interpreter standards. He earned his Master of Science in Management from the University of Maryland University College.Jacob Leffler
is a legislative and public affairs analyst at the United States Agency for International Development. His extensive volunteer experience includes serving as the vice president of the Maryland Association of the Deaf; as founder and president of the Baltimore City Association of the Deaf; and as Region 1 board member at the National Association of the Deaf. Leffler earned a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Gallaudet University. Trudy Suggs
is a Certified Deaf Interpreter with an extensive background in writing and publishing. Suggs has strong expertise in nonprofit management, budgeting, business communications, grant writing, publishing, and curriculum and workshop development and implementation. Suggs is the business owner of T.S. Writing Services, L.L.C., a writing and editing service. Through Savory Words Publishing, she has published works of Deaf authors in various genres. Suggs is the vice president of the Maryland School of the Deaf Foundation and holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Illinois.Kaylee Teixeira
is a nationally certified and freelance American Sign Language interpreter. Her experiences include leadership and membership in the Potomac Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the National Alliance of Black Interpreters, D.C. chapter, and the National Black Deaf Advocates. Teixeira holds a dual bachelors in American Sign Language-English Interpreting and International Global Studies from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Applications are being reviewed for the seventh member of the board. The board will elect the chair.