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Meet MNCDHH’s New Executive Director, Dr. Darlene Zangara

Zangara will start on Tuesday, November 12, 2019

11/4/2019 10:46:18 AM

ASL version

If you are DeafBlind or prefer to watch the video in a slow-paced, high contrast format, watch the DeafBlind friendly ASL version instead.

English version

Hello everyone. My name is Dr. Darlene Zangara. I am thrilled to have been chosen to be the new Executive Director at the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing (MNCDHH).

I’d like to thank Governor Tim Walz, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, the community members who participated in the online search process survey, the Search Committee members, the Interview Committee members, the MNCDHH board, and the staff for all of their hard work during the Executive Director Search Process.

I’d also like to thank my colleagues at the Olmstead Implementation Office and Minnesota Housing & Finance Agency for their support.

About My History

For the past five and a half years, I served as the Executive Director for the Olmstead Implementation Office (OIO). OIO’s mission is to ensure that people with disabilities live their best lives. Through OIO, I worked with a subcabinet from 13 state agencies appointed by the Governor, first Governor Dayton and then Governor Walz. By working together, we carried out a statewide plan, partnering with people and organizations from all over Minnesota to ensure that all voices are heard and included. I also provided education and resources to our legislators and developed relationships at the Capitol. Thanks to 1) my experiences at OIO, 2) my previous work and volunteer experiences with nonprofit organizations and community organizations, and 3) my relationships with state agencies, community organizations, and legislators around the state, I feel ready and excited to work at MNCDHH.

Getting to Know Each Other Better

During my first few months at MNCDHH, I plan to spend time with

  • board members,
  • Commission staff,
  • deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing community members,
  • parents of children who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing,
  • legislators and policy makers,
  • and partner agencies

to enhance our relationships and develop stronger partnerships. All of our stakeholders have an important part in MNCDHH’s mission, which is to remove systemic barriers in Minnesota. Together, we can ensure that deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing Minnesotans enjoy communication access and equal opportunity.

Please follow MNCDHH’s newsletter, website, and social media for additional updates on our work and progress. Thank you!


The Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing thanks:

  • Taylor Gjesdahl for voiceover. 
  • Keystone Interpreting Solutions for film production.
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