Supporter Spotlight – Nancy Creaghead

For almost fifty years, Nancy Creaghead has dedicated her life to helping children who are deaf and hard of hearing. In the process, she has become a leading figure in the field of speech-language pathology.

Born and raised in Northern Kentucky, Nancy studied English as an undergraduate at Denison University before earning her master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Purdue University and her PhD from the University of Cincinnati. Upon finishing school, she worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist in a preschool program for children who were deaf or hard of hearing due to the rubella epidemic of the early 1960s. Around this time, she also had a private practice that primarily served children from low-income families enrolled in the Head Start program.

In 1972, Nancy became a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati’s Speech Pathology and Audiology program within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. There, she has taught and conducted research centered on children language and literacy development and disorders with a focus on diverse children living in poverty. Her research has been widely published in academic journals, and she has lectured at numerous conferences and workshops.

Alongside her impressive academic work, Nancy has selflessly volunteered her time at various local and national organizations, including serving a term as president of The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). In one of many career highlights, she testified to a congressional committee in support of the Newborn Infant Hearing Screening Bill, which passed in 2002.

Nancy first met OVV Executive Director Maria Sentelik when Maria was studying to get her PhD in Audiology at UC, and she continued to follow her even after Maria left the PhD program to found Ohio Valley Voices. “Maria left to follow her passion to develop a school for children who are deaf and hard of hearing,” Nancy explains. “Many children and families are so fortunate that she made that decision. The academy lost a talented teacher and researcher, but the gains for children are well worth it.”

“I was impressed by Ohio Valley Voices from the beginning,” Nancy continues. “The quality of the services at OVV is amazing. Children with hearing loss who have the opportunity to attend OVV are so fortunate. There is no place like it in the region—and I might say anywhere! These superb services are being delivered in a setting designed to meet the needs of the children and their families.”

When Nancy’s national volunteer work slowed down, she jumped at the chance to get more involved with OVV. She joined the board of trustees in 2014 and became board president in 2017.

Nancy Creaghead

During her tenure as OVV board president, Nancy has contributed her expertise in audiology and speech-language pathology to help make OVV more responsive to the needs of its community. In keeping with her research efforts, she has worked especially hard to expand OVV’s services to include children who are geographically isolated and economically disadvantaged.

Outside of her work at UC and OVV, Nancy enjoys cooking, entertaining at her home, and traveling internationally. A lover of the arts, particularly 1930s and 40s jazz, she is a frequent patron of jazz clubs, as well as the Ensemble Theater, Playhouse in the Park, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She considers the many current and former students whom she mentors to be her “professional children.”

Starting next month, Nancy will step down as OVV board president and assume the role of vice president. Though her responsibilities will shift, she looks forward to continuing to work with her fellow board members and experiencing the joy that comes from being part of such an important organization.

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