Commissioner Deer is a graduate of Jackson State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Elementary/Special Education and the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Psychology. He later went on to earn his Ph.D. in Christian Psychology. Born and raised on Chicago’s west side, Dr. Deer remains a resident of the North Lawndale community. He has a long history of community service and has worked extensively with local community organizations on employment and training, re-entry, economic development, affordable housing, healthcare, and education. Dr. Deer is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Clinically Certified Forensic Counselor, and a Certified Corrective Thinking Therapist.
He is also an Illinois Law Enforcement Standards and Training Board Certified Instructor, as well as a Cognitive Restructuring National Trainer. With this, Dr. Deer has been able to help craft solutions to community issues using multiple lenses. His passion for the community became evident some twenty plus years ago when he returned to North Lawndale and founded Deer Rehab Services Inc., a company that has become one of the most well-regarded providers of comprehensive services for ex-offenders. Dr. Deer went on to later start the Law Enforcement Family Training Services. Both organizations are full-service training, curriculum design, and consulting firms.
Dr. Deer serves on several not-for-profit and community boards including Strategic Human Services and North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council which he co-founded. He was also appointed to the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Domestic Violence Advisory Council (DVAC); Partner Abuse Intervention Programs Subcommittee; Executive Steering Committee of Domestic Violence Accountability Council (DVAC); and is Vice President of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In addition, he is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program and Chicago Urban Leagues Nextone business accelerator. Dr. Deer’s long track record of serving the community demonstrates a sustained level of involvement over many years, and a track record for giving back.
He has not only served the community in many roles, i.e. as a community organizer and in executive leadership roles, something that he insisted upon to make himself easily available to people who most needed his help. Through his work, Dr. Deer has helped to transform the lives of individuals and families who stopped believing in themselves and/or were counted out by society. He has been and continues to be a servant-leader, a person who is unquestionably dedicated to the community and works collaboratively to impact positive change. Dr. Deer is married to his high school sweetheart, and he and his wife Barbara have three energetic children.