Ella Irby received her Associate of Arts Degree (Liberal Arts) from UALR in 1999. She was born in Sherrill, Arkansas and attended Wabbaseka Public Schools (AR) for four years. She became deaf at the age of 9, at which time she transferred to the Madison School for the Black Deaf in Little Rock, Arkansas. She worked for Timex Corporation for ten years. She later worked for the Arkansas Office for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired-Deaf Access as a Peer Partner and specialist dormitory house parent for 15 years.
Ms. Irby is President of the Little Rock Black Deaf Advocates (LRBDA), a position she also filled from 1991-1996. She served as Arkansas Chapter Representative to the National Black Deaf Advocates for two years and serves as a role model and mentor for upcoming leaders in Little Rock’s Black Deaf community. She attended the National Black Deaf Advocates midterm meeting at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, in March 1999. Ms. Irby is actively involved in tutoring and assisting students of American Sign Language and attended the Arkansas Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Biennial Conference in June 2003. Ms. Irby has three grown children, all of whom use American Sign Language. She is an active member of Heritage Baptist Temple in Little Rock.