Gallaudet University and Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) announced today that Candi Harbison has been named Director of the Gallaudet University Regional Center (GURC) South at AIDB North Campus in Decatur, Alabama. In this newly created position, Harbison is

responsible for supporting the recent formation of a partnership between GURC South and AIDB to increase language access and support services to deaf children, their families, and the professionals who serve them throughout the southeastern United States.

GURC South provides K-12 support programs, critical services, training, and outreach throughout the Southern region of the U.S., including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

“We are very pleased to welcome Candi as our new director,” said John Mascia, AIDB President. “AIDB North Campus is becoming a center of growth as AIDB expands the number of programs on the campus that will serve the people of North Alabama and beyond. The addition of Ms. Harbison to the Gallaudet University Regional Center South will begin a new era of education and rehabilitation services.” 

Previously, Harbison served as educational supervisor at St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf in New York City. She earned a B.A. in elementary education from Gallaudet University and an M.A. in educational leadership from the American College of Education. Originally from Jacksonville, Illinois, Candi started her new position on November 16, 2021, and will be based at GURC South in Decatur.

“It is an honor to be joining GURC South and the AIDB team,” said Harbison. “My broad range of experiences in the deaf education field, both as a teacher and administrator, have given me an understanding of the varied needs of schools and support structures that support the development and education of deaf children. I look forward to the work advancing the mission and goals that AIDB and GURC South have for the region.”

Gallaudet University and AIDB recently announced an expansion of services for deaf and hard of hearing children from birth through high school, their families, and professionals that serve them. Services offered include early intervention support, early language acquisition, professional development, high school to post-secondary transition, and career readiness. This array of services also includes the Regional Early Acquisition of Language (REAL) project, a partnership begun in 2019 between the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University (Clerc Center) and AIDB, which has worked to provide support to deaf children in the Southeastern U.S. through the age of three. Harbison’s leadership at GURC South will allow the continuation and expansion of services and training to professionals and families in the region for students aged 4 through high school, supporting Clerc Center’s national mission to serve as a one- stop resource hub for deaf


“Through REAL and early intervention supports at GURC South, we want to ensure full access to languages for deaf and hard of hearing infants and toddlers, including American Sign Language (ASL) and English, so that by the time they reach school age they will already have had a strong language foundation as they begin receiving a formal education,” said Nicole Sutliffe, Chief Administrative Officer at the Clerc Center. “Candi’s work at GURC South will increase the reach and impact of our services at the K- 12 level throughout the region, and at the national level in coordination with our other GURC Directors.”

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