Meet Earnest Covington III, New ODHH Director

Meet Earnest Covington III, New ODHH Director for Washington State

We’re pleased to say “howdy” to Earnest Covington III, new director at the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Get to know this outstanding leader via his welcome video. Note that the video is auto-captioned and interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL), and a transcript is below.

Good afternoon Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, Deaf Plus, and Latened Deafened Washingtonians.

I want to do the brief introduction myself.  I am Black, Deaf, and Male with navy blue jacket and blue tie with violet shirt.  My name is Earnest Covington III and I am honored to be appointed as Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Director (ODHH).  I was appointed on July 5th by Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA) Assistant Secretary Bea Rector.  I want to express my gratitude for the HLAA-Washington to be part of the ODHH Director interview panel. 

I would like to share with you about my brief biography.  American Sign Language is my primary language.  I have Deaf parents and I born and raised in Flint, Michigan.  I graduated at Michigan School for the Deaf (MSD) in Flint, MI.  I went Gallaudet University from 1997 to 2001 before I transferred to Michigan State University and graduated there with BA degree in History.  I obtained Master of Public Administration from University of Michigan and Post-Masters Graduate Certification from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. 

I would like to share with you about my work experience.  I worked for Michigan School for the Deaf for 17 years and I was included with various roles such as the teacher aide, coach, athletic director, disciplinarian, teacher, and other roles.  My last role was Director of MSD Staffing before I accepted the job in West Virginia as an Executive Director for West Virginia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WVCDHH), and I worked there for 5 years.  I accepted the same role for Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (RICDHH) after I left WVCDHH and I was employed RICDHH from October 2019 to June 30th, 2022 before I got appointed as an ODHH Director on July 5th, 2022. 

My major goal as a ODHH Director is to adhere ALTSA’s mission statement is to transform lives by promoting choice, independence and safety through innovative services.  Also, we will follow ALTSA’s vision statement that would focus on Seniors and people with disabilities with good health, independence, dignity, and control over the decisions that affect their lives.  ODHH would share ALTSA’s values to focus on collaboration, respect, accountability, compassion, honesty and integrity, pursuit of excellence, open communication, diversity, and inclusion.

I want to share some fun facts about myself.  I am an avid swimmer and enjoying sightseeing at the museums and downtowns in Washington!   I am starting to pick up golfing as new hobby.  Also, I used to play college football at Gallaudet and University, and I was a first Black lifeguard ever there too. 

Thank you for reading the blog and watching the vlog.  I am looking forward to connecting with all of you and it is important for myself to be represented all of you to focus on improve the better services for all of you.  Feel free to contact me if you want to meet me and my door will be always open for all of you! 

Thank you,
Earnest Covington III, MPA