PKZ's 2011 Woman of the Year: Tami Hossler

The National Organization of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority, Inc., is proud to announce Tami Hossler as their 2011 Woman of the Year. Tami is an untiring and fierce advocate for the rights of Deaf children to a bilingual education. Tami, a hearing mother, became involved in deaf education when it was discovered her daughter, Erica, was deaf. At that time they lived in Indiana, and thanks to a knowledgeable audiologist, Tami was referred to the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD) where she witnessed her daughter blossom in the school’s bilingual program where both American Sign Language and English were used in the classroom.

From there Tami became an advocate and lobbyist not only for her daughter, but for all deaf children. She has been actively involved in the rights and needs of deaf children at ISD, and has worked for deaf children all over the country—from Florida to Alaska to California to Washington DC.

Tami is on the Board of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition (DBC) and is the Outreach Coordinator for DBC; she is on the Board of the American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC), and Editor of the ASDC newsletter, The Endeavor; she is on the Education Committee for the Florida Association of the Deaf, which is now heavily involved in passing a Bill of Rights for Deaf Children; and she is a member of the coalition for the Indiana School for the Deaf.

She has presented at an unknown number of conferences, among them the National Association of the Deaf Conference, 2010; a presentation to the Indiana Governor’s Office, 2011; Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Conferences in 2011 and 2009; and at conferences in California, Florida, Montana, and Georgia.

Tami is a role model for many hearing parents with deaf children. She spends hours on the phone with parents; she has also attended IEP meetings with other parents to make sure that ASL is included as the language of instruction. Tami was one of the leaders in the Parents United for Gallaudet, Unity for Gallaudet, during the 2006 protest.

Tami lives in Florida with her husband Jeff, who is very supportive of her activities. Her daughter, Erica, is a PKZ member. Tami has another daughter and just became a grandmother.

Dr. Beth Benedict talks about Tami Hossler's outstanding contributions in ASL.