Welcome to new DCA Chair Dr Kerry Ferguson

Thank you Paul Richardson and welcome to new DCA Chair Dr Kerry Ferguson

After four years on Deaf Children Australia’s Board, Dr Kerry Ferguson has been appointed our new Chair following our AGM earlier this month. Karen Cleave was appointed Deputy Chair.

 “I am inspired by the idea that children and young people can be co-creators of change.”

We are fortunate to have Kerry’s insightful perspectives as we consider the way forward for Deaf Children Australia. Kerry has over thirty years of experience in Tertiary Education. She is currently a Higher Education Consultant; and is an experienced mediator in conflict resolution. She has practiced as a family therapist.

Kerry shared her motivations on why she joined Deaf Children Australia’s Board:

Photo of Kerry Ferguson“Working with young people, children and their families has been a constant in my career.  I am passionate about the transformative nature of education and believe every child and every individual should have the opportunity to have the full educational experience. I am very committed to equal opportunity and redressing disadvantage in the community.

I started my career as an occupational therapist working in Mental Health and became a family therapist and then an academic, teaching those subjects at university. Following my academic career in Health Sciences, I took on a leadership portfolio that included services for university students who were disadvantaged. Those services were about creating level playing fields for all students. Education should not have barriers to participation.

At Latrobe University, my portfolio included responsibility for support services for deaf students.  I was very involved making sure services to students were high quality, as invisible as possible and tailored to fit the needs of the students as directed by them. At the forefront was the principle that the students are in charge of their experiences and their needs.  The relationship was a partnership to facilitate the best possible outcomes for the student.

In my role in mental health and education, it has always been about working in partnership with the individual or family. It is their journey and they need to be determining their future and the support they need. DCA was a natural fit for me.

I am always in awe of what challenges people face with courage and resilience. The students I have had the great fortune to be involved with – some profoundly deaf – inspired me with their strength, dignity and determination.

I hope I have something to offer as Chair for Deaf Children Australia with my knowledge that people have choices but they may face barriers in exercising that choice. I am inspired by the idea that children and young people can be co-creators of change.”

Kerry is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and from 1999 – 2013, she held a Pro Vice-Chancellor position with a major focus on Equity and Student Services. Prior to this, she held a variety of academic leadership positions in Health Sciences.

Her Pro Vice-Chancellor portfolio of responsibilities included membership of the University Crisis Intervention team, complaint management and resolution, diversity and equal opportunity for staff and students, student services, social inclusion, Indigenous education, student enrichment and engagement, counselling services and Mental Health services.

Kerry’s formal qualifications include a BApSc (OT), a Masters of Education in the field of Counselling and a Professional Doctorate in Education. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 Thank you Paul Richardson

We would like to pay special thanks to our outgoing Chair Paul Richardson who has worked tirelessly on the DCA Board for the past nine years.

Paul is the father of a profoundly deaf daughter and was appointed the Chair of DCA in 2012 after joining the Board in 2009. Paul always had a particular interest in pursuing better educational/training arrangements to assist deaf and hard of hearing young people to enter the workforce.

During his nine years on the Board, Paul has worked tirelessly to assist DCA to work towards long term economic sustainability. An important goal is to ensure that DCA can continue to support deaf and hard of hearing children youth and their families to navigate the ever changing environment as the NDIS rolls out across the country.

We would like to thank Paul for his incredible commitment and dedication to DCA.

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