2016 Distinguished Alumni
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Dr. Diane (Cordry) Golden, Class of 1974
Dr. Diane (Cordry) Golden is the 2016 recipient of the Sedalia School District Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award. The Sedalia School District Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony will take place on Friday, September 16, 10:30 a.m. in the Heckart Center for the Performing Arts at Smith-Cotton High School, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd, Sedalia, Missouri. The public is invited to attend.
For over 30 years, Dr. Golden has been a leader, advocate, and policy writer in the field of special education. She was described by one of her nominators as “a truly unique individual and consummate special educator. She is a dynamic and holistic thinker whose contributions to the field of special education have been both significant and far-reaching. Her combination of bright intelligence, comprehensive knowledge, and force of character has resulted in many changes in Missouri and national policies and practices in the field of special education.”
The daughter of Sedalia School District educators, Ken and Charlotte Cordry, Dr. Golden is a graduate and the valedictorian of Smith-Cotton High School class of 1974. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a Master of Science in Audiology from the University of Central Missouri, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
She began her professional career as a clinical instructor in audiology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Golden is currently the project/policy coordinator for the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs. Her leadership in the field of assistive technology includes serving as director of Missouri Assistive Technology, a state program that provides assistive technology devices and services to Missourians with all types of disabilities. She used an initial federal grant as seed money and secured supplemental state funding to expand the program to one that annually serves close to 20,000 Missourians with disabilities.
She is also the policy coordinator for the Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education (MO-CASE), a state membership organization of special education administrators. Her responsibilities include monitoring state and national legislative and policy issues and leading efforts to inform policymakers of the opportunities and challenges that may result from proposed policies. In her career, Dr. Golden drafted bill language and was instrumental in passing legislation that benefits Missourians with disabilities. The legislation included the Missouri statutes that requires all newborn infants to have their hearing screened along with requirements for initial hearing aids to be covered by insurance so children with hearing loss are identified and treated as early as possible; that eliminated Missouri sales tax on hearing aids, communication devices, and electronic enlarging systems, and almost all other types of assistive technology; and that created a new program that provides adaptive telephones and adaptive computer equipment to Missourians with disabilities.
Dr. Golden is nationally recognized as an authority on making voting technology accessible. She was invited to provide testimony at two U.S. Congressional hearings on accessible voting equipment and how individuals with disabilities can be assured of the right to vote privately and independently. She holds a congressional appointment on the board which drafts technical guidelines for voting systems.
Dr. Golden has been recognized by her peers in special education and by state and national disability advocacy organizations with over 20 honors and appointments. She has been inducted into the Smith-Cotton High School Academic Hall of Fame.