“I am spreading the message to the Arizona community and to society in general what life is like when you’re deaf; my goal is that every child who is hard of hearing, deaf or deafblind has full access to language and the opportunity to lead a successful life.”
Sherri Collins is the executive director of the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, a position she has held since May 1998, where she acts as the Commission’s executive director by advocating, strengthening and implementing state policies affecting deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind individuals, and their relationship to the public, industry, healthcare and educational opportunities.
She has worked with the state and federal legislations on passing multiple bills to improve the quality of life for the deaf and the hard of hearing community not only in Arizona but nationwide. She is constantly thinking ahead on what can be done to better assist those who are deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind to continue to improve technical functionality, communication access and quality of life. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Collins has dedicated herself to increasing awareness of the challenges the hearing-impaired community faces, including lack of inf ormation, communication barriers, telemedicine obstacles and feelings of isolation.
Collins also recommends strategic goals and policies to the board, develops and monitors the annual operating plan, administers day-to-day operations, develops programs to ensure constituents are informed, and acts as the spokesperson within the community and legislature. In fact, she is the first and only deaf lobbyist registered in the nation. She also is the Commission’s first deaf director and currently is the longest-tenured state director for ACDHH.
Prior to moving to Arizona, Collins was an administrator at the North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She was also the assistant director of the Gallaudet University Regional Center at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. Collins has a Bachelor of Science in child development from Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., and a Master’s in adult education, organizational development from North Carolina State University.
Collins is a mentor to countless women in the areas of health and wellness, self-advocacy and, above all, leadership development. She helped establish and served as president of Phoenix Deaf Women’s Organization, whose mission is to promote education, advocacy, empowerment and networking within the diverse community of the deaf and hard-of-hearing women in the metropolitan area of Phoenix.
Collins has been extremely active in multiple organizations and currently is the president of the National Agencies Serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing Associations and governing body board member for Sequoia School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She has also served as board chair for the Interpreter Preparation Program Advisory board, board member and past president of the Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind, board member with Arizona Center for Disability Law, council member of the Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council, and chair for Phoenix College Interpreter Preparation Program Advisory Board.
Aside from serving on several boards and committees, Collins enjoys learning about different energies in crystals and stones and making her own jewelry. When given the chance, she and her husband, Randy, love to travel (internationally). Otherwise, she enjoys slow and easy weekends spent reading, hiking, walking her dogs and making healthy meals in the kitchen.
Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing
Main Office Address:
100 N. 15th Ave., Suite 104
Phoenix, AZ 85007
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