Dr. Erica L. Payne is the CEO and Founder of Deafinite Pathways Incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a veteran educator with more than twenty years of combined career experience as a school psychologist, administrator, college instructor, and educational consultant. She has held positions in various educational organizations such as the Louisiana School for the Deaf, Kennedy Krieger Institute, and school districts in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Georgia. She specializes in designing and implementing initiatives that link multiple intelligence theory to intervention to assist clients in reaching their potential. Her experience includes bridging the gap between deaf individuals and the pursuit of their dreams through education and advocacy.
Dr. Payne was first exposed to American Sign Language (ASL) in high school and instantly became fascinated with the language and culture of the deaf community. Her aspirations to learn more led to her enrollment in additional ASL courses and immersion in deaf culture on residential school and college campuses. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hampton University and completed an independent study at the Virginia School for the Deaf - Hampton. She then went on to earn three post-baccalaureate degrees from Gallaudet University including a Master of Arts in Developmental Psychology, a Specialist in School Psychology, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Special Education Administration. Dr. Payne completed one of several internships at the Louisiana School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge. She additionally holds a Certificate in Management from Gallaudet University.
Some of Dr. Payne's most distinguished career accomplishments include serving as Secretary for the Board of Directors at a public charter school in Washington, D.C.; serving on the Maryland State Department of Education's Sign Language Task Force; and serving as a panelist at Gallaudet University's sesquicentennial anniversary. She is regarded by many as a pioneer who uses innovative techniques to motivate and educate deaf youth and young adults.
Dr. Payne's passion for sign language and deaf culture appeals to countless individuals, both young and old, and has inspired her to positively change the quality of educational services in the deaf community. In this regard, she has dedicated her career to creating Deafinite Pathways for deaf individuals to attend college, become entrepreneurs, and position themselves in Corporate America.
Dr. Payne was instrumental in diffusing my anxiety. My son received a Cochlear Implant as a result of meningitis. He was born hearing and three years later he was deaf. I was at a loss as to where to begin. Dr. Payne provided great resources and support that helped me comprehend my son's new world as a Deaf and Hard of Hearing child.
- Dr. Trellis N. Jones, Parent
Dr. Payne is an amazing motivator! Being hard-of-hearing discourages me from participating in certain activities. But, with Dr. Payne's advice, I now feel that I can achieve anything I set my mind to!"
- Latasha Whitlock, Hard-of-Hearing Adult
Dr. Payne always interacted with deaf kids and teenagers. She always found time to be a mentor and a supporter when a deaf child needed it. This company would help deaf students and young deaf adults to value their education, work ethic, and morals.
- Reginald Bess, Deaf Educator
Dr. Payne Encouragement, support, guidance, and faith are some of the gifts that Dr. Payne provided to me as my mentor. Her enthusiasm and passion for mentoring others helped me develop and pursue my personal and career goals. Today, I am proud to call Dr. Payne my lifelong mentor as I live out my dream as a School Psychologist. - Brittany Pinkney, School Psychologist
I have known Dr. Payne for over 20 years and can attest to her commitment to serving deaf youth and young adults. While matriculating through Hampton University, Dr. Payne provided free tutoring and mentoring services to deaf children at the Virginia School for the Deaf-Hampton Campus. Dr. Payne's passion was so inspiring that I followed in her footsteps choosing a career in deafness and attending Gallaudet University. Deafinite Pathways, Inc. is a culmination of Dr. Payne's hard work, focus, and dedication to be of service to the deaf community. I fully endorse Dr. Payne's organization. - Dionne Hall, Mental Health Counselor
Over the last few years, I've seen the devastating lack of mentors and role models for deaf children and young adults in America. Dr. Payne and Deafinite Pathways, Inc. aims to fill that void. I've found her passion to make a difference for the deaf to be unparalleled, but she also possesses the smarts to pull it off. I fully expect her work to impact the area around Atlanta in a big way and soon even have a positive effect on the region at large. Dr. Payne has dedicated her life to helping the deaf and has an authenticity about her that is not only refreshing but needed in our changing world. - Stephen Fell Filmmaker, Los Angeles
Dr. Erica Payne is extremely knowledgeable in the needs of deaf students and an extremely passionate advocate for the deaf community. But what makes Dr. Payne and her work with Deafinite Pathways, Inc. stand out as an essential educational tool for deaf youth is her passion for her students. Any parent or child who has worked with Dr. Payne knows that she will work tirelessly to make sure every young person who comes under her guidance will be given every opportunity to shine. I have no doubt she will have a major impact on the deaf community in Georgia and beyond. - Amanda Salem Journalist/Filmmaker, Los Angeles