Advisory Council

Welcome to the USDB Advisory Council. The purpose of the Council is to advise the USDB Superintendent and Associate Superintendents regarding the needs of Utah children who are deaf, blind, and deaf-blind. Advisory Council meetings are held at least ten times per year and are open to the public.

New Advisory Council Meeting Schedule 2022-2023

Advisory Council Leadership

Chair Jared Allebest

Jared allebestJared Allebest was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Laguna Hills, California. He went to an oral school at Kaiser Elementary in Costa Mesa. He later attended University High School in Irvine, California which was a magnet school for Deaf and Hard of Hearing high school students. Jared learned ASL at University High and later went on a Sign Language mission for the LDS Church in Rochester, New York. After his mission, he went to Brigham Young University he graduated from BYU with a BA in English. A year later, he attended law school at Thomas Jefferson of School of Law in San Diego, California. He graduated in 2009 with a J.D. and moved to Utah to practice law. Jared opened up his own law practice, Allebest Law Group, and began representing both hearing and deaf clients on a wide variety of legal matters. He specialized in the following areas of law: family law, estate planning, business law, discrimination law, and Deaf Rights. He is currently working for Goldman Sachs and is the Co-Chair for Loop Utah, an ongoing advocacy campaign dedicated to educating Utah venues about the many benefits of hearing loop technology, which delivers sound directly to an individual’s telecoil-equipped hearing aid or cochlear implant and gives the Hard of Hearing (HoH) community the enriched experience they deserve in venues across the state of Utah. He has visited 27 countries around the world. Jared’s news story. 

Jared Allebest represents the Council as a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Adult.

Vice-Chair, Ray Wright

Ray Wright pix for USDBRay Wright is originally from Southern California where he grew up with his two sisters that were both born profoundly deaf.  At the age of 22, he was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa and found out he was legally blind. He continued his work in the Motion Picture Exhibition field as a Theatre Manager, Promotions Coordinator, Company Photographer, and Graphic Designer. In 2001, Ray became totally blind and received blindness training in Northern California at the Orientation Center for the Blind. It was there he was introduced to woodworking as a blind individual.  After his training, he was elected to the Board of Directors at the Vista Center for the Blind in Palo Alto, California where he remained until
he moved to Utah in 2007. Ray became a student at DSBVI in 2008 where he focused on honing his blindness skills including advancing his woodworking knowledge. After graduating, he started his own woodworking business and continued to study, practice, and demonstrate alternative approaches to non-visual woodworking techniques on a state and national level. Ray has entered his wooden creations in juried art exhibits in several states. He has won many blue ribbons for his designs.  In the Utah State Fair, he won Best of Show awards two consecutive years in a row.  Ray continues to own and operate his woodworking business and is currently the woodshop instructor at the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Salt Lake City where he is able to ”pay-it-forward” and teach and share his passion for woodworking.

Ray Wright represents the Council as someone with Interest or Knowledge of Deaf, Blind, and/or Deaf-Blind.

Advisory Council Members

Philippe Montalette

Philippe MontalettePhilippe Montalette of Utah is a data analyst for Sorenson Communications and has been with the company for over 12 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix. He is currently treasurer of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) as 3rd term. He is a former president of the Utah Association of the Deaf (UAD). Montalette’s passion is working with and raising funds for various local non-profit organizations like UAD and Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf. He strongly believes in partnerships with different organizations. He has enjoyed hosting ASL Films movies in Salt Lake City and St. George for a few years. Montalette, who was born in Paris, France, and spent his childhood in New York City and London, England, enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with his family. Montalette is married to Yvonne.

Philippe Montalette represents the council as a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Adult.

Kari Harbath

Kari poses for a picture. She wears a pretty scarf with blue and pink color blocks. She has long brown wavy hair. She wears a big smile and she is standing outdoors. Kari grew up in Ogden, UT- benefiting from a rich childhood and all Ogden has to offer. Kari graduated from Weber State University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and PR and currently works at a Utah-based tech company, Pluralsight. During her tenure at Pluralsight, Kari has worked with international authors and helped in managing social media coverage of Pluralsight LIVE: including covering keynote speeches from Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai. Kari has also authored her own Pluralsight course: Understanding Ableism in the Workplace. Kari is mom to an awesome USDB student, Sloan, who is diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome and profoundly DeafBlind. Through an extremely challenging few years of change and loss for her family, Kari believes there truly is healing through advocacy and community engagement. Kari aims to advocate for disability rights and resources, while learning from the disability community along the way. Kari writes and connects with others through her website Sloan Strength, presented on DeafBlindness and Sloan’s journey to medical professionals at Intermountain Healthcare, has been featured on several webinars and podcasts, and was the recipient of the 2020 Upworthy Lead with Love award. Kari looks forward to serving as a member on the USDB Advisory council with a student actively in the school system, learning from so many of the awesome educators and resources USDB has to offer!

Kari Harbath represents the Council as a Parent of a Deaf-blind Child.

Sundie Goulding

Sundie Goulding Sundie Goulding received her BS in Psychology at Westminster College, her Master’s in Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, and her Early Childhood Credential and Deaf-blind Endorsement at the University of Utah. She has a lifelong passion for transforming the lives of children with sensory problems, particularly those children with Deaf-blindness.  For over 12 years, she has had the privilege of serving in multiple children with Deaf-blindness and their families for The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. When not with other families, she enjoys spending time with her own family of three girls! All of which keep her busy running from soccer games to dance performances.

Sundie Goulding represents the Council as a USDB Teacher of the Blind. This is a non-voting position.

John Clements

John kleinJohn Clements lost a significant portion of his vision as a young adult.  He began what would become a full working career with the Federal Government.  He completed his service as a Supervisory Management Program Analyst.  He earned a BA in English with a minor in Asian Studies from Weber State University.  He is an avid reader, taking full advantage of the opportunity provided by the NLB. He enjoys his family, reading, bike riding, and helping his granddaughter with her Chinese homework.  John has embraced technology, integrating it into his life to enhance and enable.

John Clements represents the Council as a Blind or Visually Impaired Adult.

Jill Weiss

Jill weissJill Weiss resides in Ogden with her husband and two young children.  She grew up in New Jersey and received her B.S in Education from the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.  She received her master’s degree from Utah State University in Deaf Education with an endorsement in Listening and Spoken Language.  Currently, she works for the Utah School for the Deaf and the Blind as a Listening and Spoken Language Kindergarten Teacher. She is also pursuing her Ph.D. in literacy from St. John’s University. In her free time, Jill enjoys snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, trail running, and camping with her family.  She serves as a non-voting member of the Advisory Council.

Jill Weiss represents the Council as a USDB Teacher of the Deaf (non-voting position.)

 David Allred

David allred smiles for a picture.

David D. Allred resides in West Jordan with his wife and two young children. He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, until moving to Utah at the age of 20. His wife is a Nurse at the Salt Lake City Campus where his youngest attends school. He received his bachelor’s degree from Utah State University in family, consumer, & Human Development, his master’s degree from Seattle Pacific University in Marriage & Family Therapy, and his doctorate from Loma Linda University in Marriage & Family Therapy. He has a passion for providing services to individuals and families suffering from Mental Health and substance abuse issues for over a decade with his private practice in Taylorsville and his position as clinical director of Warrior Spirit in Tooele.

David Allred represents the Council as having Interest or Knowledge of Deaf, Blind and/or Deaf-blind.

Jen Hayes

Jen Hayes smiles for a pictureJennifer (Jen) Hayes received her BS in Social Work from Idaho State University and her Master’s of Education in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education from Utah State University with an emphasis in Deafblindness. She was part of the first cohort of Helen Keller Fellows and a contributor in creating the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Intervener Training Modules. As a mother of two deafblind children (one deceased, one living) and two typically developing children, the study of deafblindness has become part of her daily world and reality. Jen enjoys spending time with her family, reading, running, crocheting, knitting, crafting, and blogging. She is a mother, advocate, caregiver, student, and artist with a life-long passion to grow and learn while helping those around her achieve their best self regardless of their perceived limitations.

Jen Hayes represents the Council as a Parent of a Deaf-blind Child.

Hilary Fisher

Hilary FisherHilary Fisher and her family moved to Utah in 2019. She and her husband lived in San Francisco for approximately 5 years pursuing their education and careers. When their son was born in 2018 and they discovered that he was deaf, they went in search of ASL support for hearing parents. They found their home at USDB’s deaf mentor and PIP program. With PIP’s support and encouragement, they were able to slowly and confidently learn ASL. Hilary is excited to give back and support USDB. She currently works as a Nurse Practitioner in the community. When not working, Hilary enjoys DIY renovating her home, doing crossword puzzles, watching sports, and listening to true crime podcasts. She currently lives in Millcreek with her husband and two young children.”

Hillary Fisher represents the Council as a Parent of a Deaf Child.

Katie Groves

head shot of katie wearing a winter cap and coat in a snowy backgroundKatie Groves is pleased to be on the USDBI advisory council as a parent of a blind child. Though Katie grew up in Utah, for the past 20 years she has lived in Iowa and North Carolina with her husband and 6 children.  In 2020 she and her family moved to South Jordan. Her 14 year old daughter has been blind since birth and has thrived in many ways do to strong family support and the wonderful support of the blind and visually impaired community.  Katie hopes to share her experience and support as well as learn from those in similar circumstances as she sits on the advisory council. She hopes to help improve lives and services for the visually impaired in Utah. Katie enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, as well as reading books and trying new food. One day she hopes to travel and experience new people and places around the world. 

Katie Groves represents the Council as the parent of a Blind Child.

 Auile Hathaway

head and shoulders picture of Aunile Hathaway.Aunilie is blind. She feels that the most important thing she has learned is the ability to advocate for herself in school, work and social situations. She feels it is very important to give students the skills they need to transition from K-12 education to higher education, trade schools or careers in order to prepare them for adulthood and to become active contributors to their communities. She received her National Certification in Unified English Braille in 2018. Aunilie is currently the Life Skills/Fiber Arts and backup Braille Instructor at the Utah State Services for the Blind and visually Impaired.  Aunilie is currently a student at Western Governor’s University in their Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resource Management program.  As a lifelong member of the blind community, Aunilie has gained many skills, heard many perspective’s, and has had many opportunities to observe others in the community. She hopes that her experiences will assist in helping USDB offer the deaf, blind and deaf-blind children of Utah the best possible education and opportunities as they grow up to be productive contributing citizens to society. 

She represents an individual who is blind or visually impaired for the council.


Ryan Hemming

Ryan Hemming head shot photoRyan Hemming is originally from Highland Utah where he grew up most of his life.  He has 3 siblings.  He is married to Leslie Hemming and has 4 kids of his own.  They currently live in Saratoga Springs Utah.  Ryan went to college at Utah Valley University, the University of Utah, and Grand Canyon University. He has an Associates Degree from UVU, a Bachelor Degree and Master Degree from the University of Utah in Occupational Therapy, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.  Ryan has worked at Alpine school district for 20 years in multiple different responsibilities.  He started as a para educator and was then hired as an occupational therapist. He worked for 8 years as an OT prior to working in the special education office as an special services coordinator and Secondary Director of Special Education.  He now works as the principal of Dan Peterson school and loves every minute.  Ryan worked as the District liaison between USDB and Alpine School District for 7 years.  Ryan is excited to work with USDB and be a part of the Advisory Council.

Ryan serves as an Individual with interest or knowledge of Deaf, Blind or Deafblind.

The Advisory Council Currently has no openings at this time.

For more information about the USDB Advisory Council, contact Executive Assistant Tamara Flint

Link to Advisory Council Application