NCSHLA Board of Directors

The association is led by a group of committed audiology and speech, language professionals from across North Carolina elected by the membership. The board meets regularly throughout the year and at the association's Annual Convention and Audiology Conference. If you would like to attend one of the Board meetings, let us know by contacting

Bliss Hemric, MA, CCC-SLP

Bliss has been working in the field of Speech Pathology since 1986 and has had experience with both adults and children. She is currently a Clinical Educator in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at Appalachian State University where she provides services in the evaluation and treatment of speech-language disorders in young children. At the present time, Bliss supervises graduate students during Clinical Practicum at the ASU Communication Disorders Clinic on campus as well as various off-campus locations.

She has previously been involved with a three year preschool literacy grant at Appalachian State University and the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services, Project SIFTOUT/SCRIPT through FRANK PORTER GRAHAM. Bliss serves as a guest lecturer for CSD courses and has presented at the local, state, and regional levels in her area of expertise.

Bliss participates on the Local Interagency Coordinating Council (LICC) in Watauga County and Girls on the Run of the High Country. Bliss has been involved with the Southeastern University Clinical Educators (SEUCE) as well as the North Carolina Association of Supervisors in Speech Pathology and Audiology (NCASSPA) for the past 20 years. She has held many positions with NCASSPA and is currently the Historian.

Bliss has been a member of and involved with the North Carolina Speech, Hearing, and Language Association (NCSHLA) for over 23 years where she has held various offices. She is currently the NCSHLA President

Jackie Jacobs, MS, CCC-SLP


I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, but after several family moves we relocated to Moore County, NC. I lived in Southern Pines until I attended college. I played Division II soccer for 4 years and earned my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. After earning my undergraduate degree I moved to Boston, MA for 4 1/2 years. I moved back to North Carolina to pursue my real passion and earn my master's degree in speech pathology. I attended the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and graduated in May of 2013. I currently work for Wake County Public Schools with children at the elementary and high school level. My husband and I have 3 handsome boys; 6 year old, 3 year old, and 18 month old. Thank you for the opportunity to serve on the NCSHLA board.

Holly Hanley, PhD, CCC-SLP

Holly is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Appalachian State University. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Appalachian State University and her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Holly has worked as a speech-language pathologist for over 17 years in a variety of settings. In her spare time, Holly enjoys spending time with family including her two golden retrievers, Stella and Cooper.

Jordan Lupton, MS, CCC-SLP

VP of Public Relations and University Affairs

Jordan Lupton received undergraduate degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill in Linguistics and Spanish, and her Masters in Speech and Hearing Sciences from UNC-CH in 2006. She worked as an elementary school SLP with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for 12 years before returning to her hometown of Thomasville in the Spring of 2018. She currently works for Davidson County Schools and serves students in preschool, middle, and high schools. Her interest areas include facilitating functional communication in children with autism and cognitive disabilities, teaching and using augmentative/alternative communication, collaborative teaming with other professionals, and literacy and language development. She has served NCSHLA as 2018 Convention Chair and on various committees since 2010. When she is not wearing her SLP hat, Jordan loves hanging out with her husband, Jonathan, and their two awesome kids, Owen and Leah.

Leigh Odom, PhD, CCC-SLP

VP of Education

Leigh is an Associate Professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at Western Carolina University. She specializes in aphasia and dementia, but is most passionate about health and wellness in individuals living with an acquired communication disorder for the long-term. In here spare time, Leigh enjoys spending time with her family.

Jessica Raby, MA, CCC-SLP
Granite Falls

VP of Membership

Jessica Raby is a nationally certified and NC licensed SLP. She completed her BA in CSD from NC State University in 2002 and her MA in CSD from Appalachian State University in 2004. She worked as an SLP for Burke County Schools and Caldwell County Schools for 9 years, and 6 years as Clinical Coordinator/Instructor of the SLP-Assistant program at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute (CCC&TI). She is currently Director/Instructor of the SLP-Assistant program at CCC&TI. She served on the Quality Enhancement Leadership Team at CCC&TI beginning in 2014 which led to successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Jessica currently serves as chair of the SLP-Assistant Program Advisory Board, is a member of the North Carolina Association of Supervisor’s in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and serves on the Autism Education Foundation. While Jessica recognizes the impact she has been able to make on the lives of preschool and school-age children with communication disorders, she now finds tremendous joy in teaching and sharing her knowledge of the field with future SLP-Assistants. Jessica is married and has two children. She spends much of their spare time at Sunset Beach, NC.

Wayne Foster, PhD, CCC-SLP/A

VP of Finance

Wayne retired from the public schools of NC where he served in a variety of capacities over the years: clinician, lead therapist, special education director, Rtl director and grant/project director. He has been very active in NCSHLA and ASHA. He is an ASHA Fellow and received Honors of the Association from NCSHLA. He currently serves on the ASHA Board of Ethics. His research interests are in early childhood language and literacy development. Wayne currently works for Cheshire Center in Greensboro where he is the audiologist and research coordinator.

Ashley Hudson, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Chapel Hill

VP for Professional and Governmental Affairs

Ashley Hudson received a Masters in Education from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and her Masters in Communication Disorders from NCCU. She worked as an SLP with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for 8 years and serves students in elementary and middle school. Her interest areas include fluency, autism, and literacy and language development. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys spending time with her kids, Emma, Ava, and Tyler.

Deb Culbertson

VP of Audiology

Deb Culbertson is a Clinical Professor of Audiology at East Carolina University. Her primary practice, teaching and interest areas relate to auditory rehabilitation and include communication strategies use, assistive listening devices, auditory training and counseling. She has taught and practiced in these areas for over 25 years. Currently, she is finishing a term as Coordinator of the ASHA Special Interest Group 7 Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation. While at her previous position in Virginia, she served a term as Vice President of Audiology for the Speech and Hearing Association of Virginia.

Megan McGrath

Student Representative
Megan McGrath is a current MA graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. In Fall 2019 she was appointed a two-year position as Student Representative on the North Carolina Speech Hearing and Language Association (NCSHLA) Board of Directors. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University Spring 2019 with a BS degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She participated in two years of research at The Pennsylvania State University examining how musical performance and improvisation can be used as a novel therapy technique to promote social communication skills in both typically developing and special needs populations alongside her professor Dr. Krista Wilkinson, Ph.D. McGrath is in preparation of her first publication concerning this research and hopes to continue this work in the future.