Staff Spotlight-James Whitfield
James Whitfield is a native of the Texas Panhandle, living in Amarillo since the age of two. Currently living in Lubbock Texas since 2007 with wife Jennifer Whitfield who is a Registered Nurse, daughter Olivia who is three and in pre-school, and son John Henry who is one.
James works for Texas Tech University in Student Disability Services as an Assistant Director. His core responsibilities include working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing student population as an academic counselor, acting as interpreter coordinator and sign language interpreter. James has been an interpreter for eighteen years and has been using sign language since he was born.
The reason James began using sign language was because his father, mother and sister are all profoundly Deaf. Literally, James was using sign language before he could speak. James’s father, James, was born hearing but by the age of two lost all hearing because of a severe illness. James’s mother, Yolanda was born Deaf. She was the oldest of five sisters with every other sister being Deaf; basically it worked out like this….Deaf, hearing, Deaf, hearing, and Deaf. This was a hereditary trait in his mother’s side of the family but on his father’s side it was non-hereditary. James’s sister, Lori was born hearing but became profoundly Deaf after a severe illness at the age of one and a half. Lori is now finishing an Associate’s degree at Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf and wants to attend Texas Tech in the fall of 2010. Basically feeling that he was blessed to be the son in a Deaf family, James knows that it was his family who helped him get to where he is at today.
James has spent his career in education, K-12 and post secondary, as a sign language interpreter. Currently, James is certified as a Master Interpreter in the State of Texas through the office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and the Board for the Evaluation of Interpreters. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration from West Texas A&M University. James plans on working towards a Master’s degree in the near future, but not until he gets to spend more time with his growing family.
He enjoys spending his time with his family here in Lubbock but also in Amarillo, Dallas, Austin, Big Spring and Corpus Christi. Other things that James has an interest in include cars, motorcycles, outdoor activities, hunting and really just about everything that includes family, friends and camaraderie. James is a Panhandle native and would not rather be anywhere else than here in the great plains of Texas.