Rochelle (Chelle) Hart (currently first vice president of SDAB) is a native South Dakotan. She lost her sight at the age of four due to a malignant brain tumor. She attended the SD School for the Blind in Gary and later in Aberdeen, SD and then transferred to public high school in Madison, SD. She graduated from Madison High School in 1972.
Following high school graduation, Chelle attended Northern State University and obtained a B.S. degree in elementary education and speech correction. Her first job was as a speech therapist in North Dakota for the Turtle Mountain Indian School. She returned to school and earned a M.A. degree in Communication Disorders in 1980, and she was a speech pathologist for the Brookings School District for seven years. In 1989 Chelle graduated from California State University with a Master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation. Since that time she has worked in various positions for the Division of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired under the SD Department of Human Services.
Chelle has served on local Mayors’ Committees for Persons with Disabilities, the Board of the South Dakota Association of the Blind, the Board of Prairie Freedom Center for Independent Living and has been an active, long-time member of the South Dakota Coalition of Citizens with disabilities. Chelle has also served on the Disability Awareness Commission for the City of Sioux Falls.
Chelle is a lector and a member of the Celebration Singers’ choir at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. She enjoys tandem bike riding and cross country skiing and walking her dog Jack of Harts.