Presenters and Conference Facilitators

Ed Bosso, MA, is the dean of the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University. He previously served as the assistant superintendent of Human Resources in the Christina School District where he was the director of Delaware Programs for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deafblind Children and the principal of the Delaware School for the Deaf. Additionally, he has worked at other schools and programs for deaf and hard of hearing students as well as served as adjunct faculty at McDaniel College in Maryland. Bosso is currently the president of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf. He earned his master's degree in educational administration at California State University, Northridge as part of the National Leadership Training Program and is currently completing his doctoral work in educational leadership at the University of Delaware.

John Christiansen, PhD, has been a professor of sociology at Gallaudet University since 1977. He has been involved in numerous professional articles, books, and presentations, both individually and collaboratively, including articles in the Encyclopedia of American Disability History, the selected proceedings of Deaf Way I and Deaf Way II,the Gallaudet Encyclopedia of Deaf People and Deafness, and the World Book Encyclopedia. He was the recipient of the Distinguished University Faculty Member Award at Gallaudet in 1998.

Susan Jacoby, PhD, is director of Planning and Organizational Development at the Clerc Center. In this role she is responsible for Clerc Center planning, including the design and oversight of the Clerc Center's strategic plan. Prior to this role, she led the Clerc Center's efforts to provide programs and services that support the successful transition of deaf and hard of hearing students through school and beyond into postsecondary education and employment. Jacoby received her bachelor's degree in audiology/speech-language science from the University of Florida and both her master's degree in audiology and her doctorate in special education administration from Gallaudet University.

Mary Koch, MA, is an independent auditory education consultant working with schools for the deaf, cochlear implant manufacturers, and public and private school programs across the United States. With more than 30 years of experience in schools, clinics, and hospitals, Koch brings a diverse perspective to working with children who are deaf and their families. She is co-developer of the ACRN project, a national model of training and support for professionals serving students who are deaf or hard of hearing, at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Koch is the author of Bringing Sound to Life: Principles and Practices of Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation, Word Associations for Syllable Perception (WASP), and Making the Connection: A Handbook for Adolescents and Adults with Cochlear Implants and Their Families.

Irene W. Leigh, PhD, is a professor in the Gallaudet University Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program and chair of the Department of Psychology. Her initiatives include numerous presentations, research, and publications with a focus on deaf people and identity, multiculturalism, parenting, attachment, depression, and cochlear implants. She is an American Psychological Association fellow and associate editor of the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

Carol Nelson, MA, is the early childhood coordinator at The Learning Center for the Deaf, which has campuses in both Framingham and Randolph, Massachusetts. Programs under her supervision include the parent-infant program, preschool, and kindergarten, with 60 students currently participating, including deaf students with cochlear implants who are users of American Sign Language.

Debra Nussbaum, MA, CCC-A, is coordinator of the Cochlear Implant Education Center(CIEC) at the Clerc Center. She earned her master's degree in audiology from George Washington University and has worked at the Clerc Center since 1977, first as a pediatric audiologist and since 2000 in her current role. Nussbaum has spearheaded national efforts to look at the combined roles of spoken language and signed language in the education of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. She has developed numerous resource materials and professional training workshops, and she speaks nationally and internationally on this topic.

Susan Schatz, MA, is an ASL coordinator at the Clerc Center's Kendall Demonstration Elementary School. She has 15 years of experience working in the education field as a teacher, mentor, and administrator. She was a mentor for ASL/English bilingual professional development and has in-depth knowledge of ASL/English bilingual education. In addition, she teaches education courses to both undergraduate and graduate students in Gallaudet University's Department of Education. Currently Schatzis enrolled in a doctoral program in education at Gallaudet.

Susanne Scott, MS, CCC-A, is currently a cochlear implant/bilingual specialist in the CIEC at the Clerc Center. She provides content expertise in cochlear implants and ASL/English bilingual programming specific to working with professionals, students, and families at the Clerc Center and throughout the nation. Scott has worked at Gallaudet University since 1980. She has extensive experience in working with deaf and hard of hearing children and their families. She has done numerous presentations at national conventions/conferences and written articles and books related to habilitation with deaf and hard of hearing individuals from birth through adult. Scott joined the CIEC in fall 2003.

Patricia Spencer, PhD, is an educational research consultant. She has been a teacher;an administrator of a diagnostic clinic; a researcher of early social, cognitive, and language development; and a professor in the Department of Social Work at Gallaudet University. Most recently Spencer taught in the Education doctoral program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. She has co-edited or co-authored six books (including recent volumes on spoken language and sign language development in the Oxford University Press series Perspectives on Deafness). She has been a Fulbright Scholar to Australia and India where she learned more about early cochlear implantation and diversity of life experiences. Spencer currently consults on education and social service research/evaluation projects and works with at-risk children in an after-school program in South Texas.

Stephanie E. Sweeton, MS, CCC-SLP, has worked as a speech-language pathologist at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Randolph, Massachusetts, since 1998. She has been actively involved in the establishment of services and programming for deaf children with cochlear implants who use American Sign Language through participation in local, regional, and national committees and conferences.

Moderators and Panel Members

Deaf Community Panel


Beth Benedict, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Gallaudet University. Her work has focused on family involvement in schools with deaf and hard of hearing children, early childhood education, advocacy, early communication, and partnerships between deaf and hearing professionals. Benedict is involved in numerous committees related to children who are deaf and hard of hearing. She has made numerous presentations at national and international conferences, at schools, and for family organizations. Her published work includes articles and chapters in numerous books related to early communication development. Benedict received both her bachelor's degree in psychology and her doctorate in education with an emphasis on communication from Gallaudet University. She received her master's degree in counseling from New York University.

Panel Members:

Ben Bahan, PhD, is a professor in and department chair of the Department of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from Gallaudet University and both his master's degree in deaf education and his doctorate in applied linguistics from Boston University. Bahan is a renowned storyteller, author, researcher, professor, and presenter on issues related to deaf studies.

Summer Crider, BA, is a master's degree candidate in the deaf studies program (specializing in culture studies) at Gallaudet University. She comes from a hearing family and has experienced both public and residential schools. She created a documentary film about her experience with a cochlear implant. Crider received her bachelor's degree in psychology and the expressive arts from Gallaudet and then worked as a college recruiter for a year before going back to school full time. She will receive her master's degree in May 2009.

Nancy Hlibok Amann, PhD, is principal of the Arizona School for the Deaf and interim principal of the Arizona School for the Blind. She received her doctorate in biliteracy and reading from the University of Arizona in 2005. She has been in the field of education for deaf and hard of hearing children for 14 years. Prior to her current position, she worked as an ASL specialist, a middle school writing teacher, and a literacy specialist.

Julie Mitchiner, MA, is an associate professor in Department of Education at Gallaudet University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Early Childhood Education and Family-Centered Early Education. Mitchiner is also a doctoral student at George Mason University (GMU) in education with a specialization in early childhood education and multicultural/multilingual education. She is a fellow in a federally funded leadership program called New Leaders Now at GMU. Mitchiner previously taught deaf and hard of hearing children in the nursery program at the Clerc Center's Kendall Demonstration Elementary School for six years. She received both her bachelor's degree in early childhood education and her master's degree in deaf education (family-centered early education) from Gallaudet University.

Raylene Paludneviciene, PhD, is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Gallaudet University. Her research projects include the development of American Sign Language assessment tools and studying the relationship between cochlear implants and the Deaf community. Paludneviciene received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Gallaudet University.

Family Panel


Tara Downing, MA, is a family educator at the Clerc Center, serving as a liaison between the home and the school and working closely with students and their families as well as teachers and staff. She is a national trainer for Clerc Center programs, including the Shared Reading Project: Keys to Success Training for Site Coordinators, Reading to Deaf Children: Learning from Deaf Adults, Emotional Intelligence: Going Beyond the Magic, and Sexual Education for Educators. She is also an adjunct professor at Gallaudet University. Downing received both her bachelor's degree in early childhood education (with a minor in dance) and her master's degree in family-centered early education from Gallaudet University. She is a dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher, teaching all genres of dance to children.

Panel Members:

Michael Burke is the father of Elijah and Christian Burke. Elijah and Christian,age 5, each received a cochlear implant around age 2 ½.

Hendi Crosby Kowal is the mother of Grace Kowal. Grace, age 6 ½, received a cochlear implant at age 11 months.

Kristen Meier is the mother of Maggie and Audrey Gray. Maggie, age 8,received her cochlear implant when she was age 4 ½. Audrey, age 6, received her cochlear implant when she was age 2 ½. Audrey's internal device failed and she received a replacement cochlear implant at age 5.

Stefanie Scott is the mother of Wesley, Willem, and Wyatt Scott. Wesley, age 6 ½, received his first cochlear implant at age 11 months, CI-1 re-implantation at age 24 months, and CI-2 at age 5 ½. Willem and Wyatt, age 24 months, have bilateral cochlear implants. They each received their first implant at age 12 months and their second implant at age 14 months.

Tammy Stevenson-Gavins is the mother of Destinee Gavins. Destinee, age 9, received a cochlear implant at age 18 months.

Stephanie Summers is the mother of Jonathan Summers. Jonathan, age 8, along with his parents (Stephanie and Mark), received a cochlear implant in October 2002 when Jonathan was age 2.

Bill Wainscott is a father of 5 children: three biological children (Noah, age 12; Grace, age 10; and Caleb, age 6) who are hearing and two adopted children (John, age 11, and Maggie, age 4) who are deaf. John (adopted at age 3 ½) has bilateral cochlear implants. He received his first implant at age 2 ½ and his second implant at age 11. Maggie (adopted at age 3 ½) received a cochlear implant at age 3 ½.

Mainstream Panel


Mary Koch (see bio above)

Panel Members:

Candi Mascia-Reed, EdD, is the supervisor of Total Communication Programs for the Deaf in Hackensack, New Jersey, for Bergen County Special Services in Paramus, New Jersey. She has been in the field of deaf education for 30 years as teacher, supervisor, and university professor. Mascia-Reed has written several articles on teaching writing to deaf students, portfolio assessments,editing strategies, and leadership in the field. She has also presented at numerous conferences around the country.

Gina A. Oliva, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation at Gallaudet University. She is author of Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School (2004, Gallaudet University Press) and she initiated Gallaudet University Press's Deaf Lives Series. Oliva is currently researching the phenomenon of d/Deaf camps. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Washington College, her master's degree in counseling from Gallaudet College, and her doctorate in recreation and leisure studies from the University of Maryland.

Susan Russell, MA, is the supervisor of Programs for Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. In her more than 25 years of experience working in the deaf and hard of hearing program in a large public school system, she has worked with students who use Cued Speech, Total Communication, and oral/aural approaches. Russell has contributed to several books on deafness as well as collaborated on research projects related to technology, instruction, and auditory perception. She received her master's degree in deaf education from Gallaudet University, Administration and Supervision certification from Johns Hopkins University, and is currently completing a doctoral program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Tina Tingler, MA, is vice principal of Mantua Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia. She grew up in northern Ohio with deaf parents and a large deaf extended family. Tingler has had varied experiences teaching deaf and hard of hearing children as well as teaching graduate students in deaf education. Currently, Tingler directly supports more than 130 special education students and 45 staff members at Mantua Elementary School, and she shares responsibilities with other principals for the entire school population consisting of 890 students and 130 staff members. In her 18 years in deaf education, Tingler has had many different positions including sign language interpreter, educational aide, teacher, and assistant principal. She has served on the National Mission Advisory Panel for the Clerc Center for the past five years. Tingler received her bachelor's degree in deaf education from Kent State University in Ohio and her master's degree in educational administration from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College).

Sarah Dawson Wainscott, MEd, CCC-A, is an aural habilitation specialist and director of Research and Outreach at Chattering Children in McLean, Virginia. Her professional roles have included clinical and educational audiologist,preschool teacher and interventionist, program director, parent educator, and university instructor. Wainscott's research interests include the decision-making processes of families and early language acquisition by deaf children.

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