GCDHH Members


Kelly Jenkins


Kelly Jenkins currently serves as the Chairperson of the Commission. She is the parent of a child with hearing loss, has hearing loss herself and is the co-founder of Let Georgia Hear, a parent-led organization which advocates for better hearing health for deaf and hard of hearing children in Georgia. She also serves on the board of directors for the Atlanta Speech School. She lives in Buckhead with her husband and her three children. Mrs. Jenkins received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Davidson College and her Master of Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Email: [email protected]


Vice Chairperson:


Dr. Jiovanne Hughart, AuD

Dr. Jiovanne Hughart is a private practice audiologist in the Atlanta area. She is an adjunct professor at Auburn University and adjunct instructor at Salus University, teaching private practice audiology and cerumen management. She travels nationally and internationally conducting cerumen management workshops, specifically the lab portion of the workshop. She currently serves as chairperson for the Academy Doctors of Audiology mentoring committee and as webmaster for the Georgia Academy of Audiology.





DHH Adult-ASL: 
Jimmy Peterson

Jimmy Peterson has been the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2014. He has received several awards, including the National Association of the Deaf Golden Hand and the Hamilton Relay Deaf Community Leader Award. Mr. Peterson graduated from Jacksonville (AL) State University with a bachelor's degree in Business Management and Political Science. He comes from an all-Deaf family spanning more than three generations. He lives in Gwinnett County with his wife. They have two Deaf daughters and two granddaughters.




DHH Adult-English: 
Jennifer Clark

Jennifer Clark, a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Itinerant teacher in Cobb County School District obtained both her bachelor’s and Master’s in Deaf Education, Elementary Education and Early Intervention in Deaf Education at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, MO.  For the past 20 years, she has worked with deaf and hard of hearing children ranging from 3 weeks to high school age in private and public schools, as well as GA PINES.  Jennifer was involved with Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children’s curriculum team which developed The Language Adventure Curriculum (LAC), now used in educational settings nationwide. She obtained additional certification as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS).  Jennifer was also a participant on Georgia’s statewide legislative team charged with developing HB844 Language to Literacy, now Act 462.  She resides in Atlanta with her husband and 9-year-old daughter.




DHH Adult-English and ASL: 
Ellen Rolader

Ellen currently works as an Early Intervention Specialist and is the Lead Deaf Mentor for Georgia Parent Infant Network of Educational Services (PINES). She serves on the Board of Georgia Hands & Voices. She is an active member of various organizations related to the deaf and hard of hearing. Ellen also is trained as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) instructor for Georgia Deaf/Hard of Hearing people. She received her master’s degree from Gallaudet University in Deaf Education and a bachelor’s degree from University of Georgia in Early Childhood Education. She and her husband have three children and two grandchildren.




Deaf-Blind Adult: 
Dana Tarter

Dana Tarter is an elementary and middle grades special education teacher at the Georgia School for the Deaf. Besides teaching, she serves as a board member at the National Federation of the Blind, DeafBlind Divsion, as well as serving on the Deaf Services Advisory Council and as a Member-at-Large of the Georgia Association of the DeafBlind (where she previously served as President). Dana's educational background consists of a BA in Fine Arts from Shorter University, a MA in Special Education from Jacksonville State, an Infant, Toddler and Family Program MA from Gallaudet University, as well as a Visual Impairment endorsement.




Parent of DHH Child-ASL: 
Deshonda Washington

Deshonda Washington is the executive director of Georgia Hands & Voices and program director of the Advocacy Support & Training (ASTra) Program. Washington is passionate about supporting deaf and hard of hearing families throughout Georgia. Having a child with hearing loss has prepared Mrs. Washington for a lifelong journey of advocacy. Her goal is to empower parents and ensure deaf and hard of hearing children, including those with additional exceptionalities, reach their highest potential. Mrs. Washington resides in Kennesaw with her husband and three children.


J. Comer Yates

Private Provider of Services for DHH:

J. Comer Yates

J. Comer Yates is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Speech School. Various awards include both the Distinguished Service Award and the President’s Award from the Atlanta Bar Association and the WXIA Community Service Award.  He serves on the board of directors for the following organizations: Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA, Camp Twin Lakes, Odyssey, and the Anti-Defamation League.  Mr. Yates received both his B.A. and J.D. from Emory University.




Person Involved w/Programs for DHH: 
Dr. Amy Lederberg

Amy Lederberg is a Professor Emerita at Georgia State University. She has published extensively on language, literacy and social outcomes of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and how to improve those outcomes.  As director of the federally funded Center on Literacy and Deafness, she led teams of researchers and teachers in the development of two novel interventions that improve language and literacy outcomes of DHH children. These evidence-based curricula are being widely used by teachers in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Dr. Lederberg has a progressive hearing loss that has resulted in a severe-profound loss as an adult.


Vacant Position: 
Late Deafened (after 18 years)


At Large: 
Dr. Chip Goldsmith

Dr. Manning M Goldsmith (Chip) is a recently retired neurotologist from Savannah, Georgia, where he founded the Georgia Ear Institute and the International Center for Otologic Training (ICOT), which trained 380 developing world otologists from 52 countries. Dr. Goldsmith has a lifelong passion for more affordable hearing solutions, and he remains active in the research and development of a simpler and more cost-effective cochlear implant. He is also active in national financing paradigms to make hearing aids more accessible. Dr. Goldsmith’s foundation, the AllHear Foundation, organizes missions to provide free hearing aids for deaf children in the developing world.


At Large: 
Dr. Beth Lytle


Current Commissioner Position Appointee
Jimmy Peterson DHH Adult - ASL Governor
Jennifer Clark DHH Adult - English Governor
Ellen Rolader DHH Adult - English and ASL Governor
Dana Tarter Deaf-Blind Adult Governor
Vacant Late deafened (after 18 years) Governor
Kelly Jenkins* Parent of DHH Child - English Governor
Deshonda Washington Parent of DHH Child - ASL Governor
Dr. Jiovanne Hughart Otolaryngologist or Audiologist Governor
Comer Yates Private Provider of Services for DHH Governor
Dr. Amy Lederberg Person involved w/Programs for DHH Governor
Dr. Chip Goldsmith At Large Senate Committee on Assignments
Dr. Beth Lytle At Large Speaker of the House
  *Current Chairperson GCDHH votes