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thumb_chester_goadChester Goad, director of disability services for Tennessee Tech University, has been elected president of the Tennessee Association on Higher Education and Disability.

The statewide conference was held in Knoxville, Tenn., at the Howard Baker Jr. Center on Public Policy. Goad officially took the mantle for the organization on July 1 and recently presided over the annual board transition meeting in July.

Goad represented Tennessee in July at the national AHEAD conference in Seattle, where he met with presidents from other state affiliates and attended a variety of seminars and workshops related to public policy, equal access and universal design for learning and instruction.  According to Goad, the highlight of the event was the annual keynote with Marilyn Bartlett and Joann Simon of the famous Bartlett v. New York State Board of Law Examiners case.

“It really was amazing to hear Marilynn Bartlett tell her story of discrimination regarding students with learning disabilities and how her circumstance was ultimately made right by the courts,” Goad said. “America has come a long way in terms of discrimination toward individuals with physical or mobility issues, but we are only now on the cusp of enlightenment regarding students with hidden disabilities, especially those with learning disabilities.

“It is an exciting time for individuals with disabilities—issues related to diversity, the ADA and retention are bringing new light to disability concerns. I can’t wait to see where it takes our profession.”

Goad came to TTU in 2009 from Roane State Community College. He recently completed a term as vice president and public policy chairperson for the Tennessee Dyslexia Association and is the former dean of students for Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood, a college preparatory school for students with dyslexia and learning disabilities. He was also projects director for U.S. Congressman Van Hilleary, who served on the Education and Workforce Committee and the subcommittee for special education.

In addition to serving as director of disability services and as adjunct instructor for curriculum and instruction at TTU, Goad is a doctoral student studying educational leadership and learning.  His research focus is higher education and public policy as they relate to disabilities.

“I’m honored to serve as the new president for TNAHEAD,” Goad said. “It may actually work out really well as I continue my doctoral research to have this pipeline to so many professionals who are well-versed in best practices.  I plan to soak up all the information and wisdom I can from those individuals as I visit and speak to their institutions and try to grow our organization.”

The Tennessee Association for Higher Education and Disability consists of professionals from public and private postsecondary institutions in Tennessee.  Currently, 41 institutions hold membership in the TNAHEAD organization, including TTU, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Vanderbilt, Belmont and other universities, community colleges and technology centers.