2020 Education and Advocacy Summit

This summit is for deaf education administrators and professionals and special education administrators in the areas of policy, best practices, and innovation related to educating deaf and hard of hearing students. It will be conducted in American Sign Language and spoken English.

Purpose and Benefits

Learn about the Parent Advocacy app, a new tool to assist school administrators of K-12 deaf and hard of hearing children in supporting parents as they navigate Individualized Education Program meetings, 504 meetings, and other meetings.

Participate in discussions related to the federal and policy updates that impact administrators working with deaf and hard of hearing students throughout the nation.

Interact with school administrators to optimize educational outcomes for deaf and hard of hearing students for K-12 and general education settings.

Seize the opportunity to learn aboutstate-wide deaf education transformation and collaboration with the Gallaudet University Regional Centers.

Acquire a better understanding of postsecondary outcomes and best practices for transitioning students and learn tips on how to work with school districts and local education agencies serving deaf and hard of hearing children.

Review, learn more about, and develop a better understanding of the Regional Early Acquisition of Language and other 0-5 initiatives related to early intervention. 

Organized by the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center in partnership with the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf

Presenter bios

Thangi Appanah, EdD, is an associate professor and BA program director in the Department of Education at Gallaudet University. She completed her doctorate in educational leadership at Central Connecticut State University and her master's degree in deaf education at Gallaudet University. Appanah has worked as a language arts teacher and an elementary school principal at the American School for the Deaf. During her tenure as principal, she collaborated with LEAs from over 60 school districts in Connecticut and other New England states. Her research interests include deaf student writing, teacher leadership, family collaboration, and teacher preparation. She has authored several articles and presented at national and international conferences.

Marianne Belsky, chief academic officer, joined the Clerc Center in 2014, bringing with her a wealth of experience in a variety of educational settings- public schools, residential programs for the deaf, and a program serving students with special needs. Before coming to Gallaudet University, she served for five years as K-12 principal at the Delaware School for the Deaf. Belsky is a Gallaudet alumna and has a bachelor's degree in elementary education, a master's degree in deaf education, and an educational specialist degree in change leadership. Belsky and Sutliffe have co-led the Clerc Center since May 2017.

Carrie Lou Garberoglio, PhD, is an educational researcher and evaluator. Her research examines deaf individuals' psychological processes in a variety of contexts:teaching, language learning, computer-mediated communication, and transition from secondary to postsecondary settings. Garberoglio has authored over 17 scholarly publications, two books, and numerous technical and evaluation reports. She is also theco-editor of Research in Deaf Education: Contexts, Challenges, and Considerations, published by Oxford University Press. Additionally, Garberoglio teaches research methods and statistics coursework at the University of Northern Colorado. She holds two master's degrees-one in deaf education and deaf studies from Lamar University and the other in program evaluation from the University of Texas at Austin. She received her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jennifer M. Greenfield, MS Ed, MSW, is into her second year as superintendent of the Marie Philip School at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Mass. She has previously worked at two other schools for the deaf in various positions. Greenfield is a recently elected board member of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf. She holds a master's degree in special education from the Bank Street College of Education and in social work from Columbia University, both in New York.

Mary Lightfoot, MS, CI/CT, NIC: Adv, is the online learning manager at the Clerc Center. She manages national-level projects, and integrates her years of experience as an educator, interpreter, and instructional designer to design and deliver projects, programs, and training for families of deaf and hard of hearing children and the professionals who work with them. Lightfoot also provides instructional design for online projects using e-Learning and m-Learning technologies as well as design for live face-to-face projects. In addition, she manages the Clerc Center Online Community and live online events with a focus on five key stakeholder groups. Previously, Lightfoot was project coordinator for a national-level grant focused on increasing the number of qualified interpreters in the U.S. She was also a level III interpreter at the Gallaudet Interpreting Service.

Taiyabah (Tai) Naeem, MS, is a project manager at the Clerc Center. She was involved in the planning of the 2019 Education and Advocacy Summit: Deaf Education, and she took on a pivotal role in the development of the preview film for the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. Naeem grew up in Toronto, Canada, and attended mainstreamed schools. She earned her bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Gallaudet University and her master's degree in deaf education from McDaniel College. In the past, Naeem has taught both high school chemistry and medical terminology courses at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf.

Barbara Raimondo, Esq, is a longtime advocate for the rights of deaf children and their families. She currently serves as the executive director of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf, based in metropolitan Washington, D.C. She was associated with the American Society for Deaf Children for many years, first as a board member and later as a staff member. She has also worked as a staff attorney at the National Association of the Deaf. Raimondo has been a school board member and school board president at the Maryland School for the Deaf. She received her law degree from George Mason University in Virginia.

Julie Rems-Smario is an education programs assistant in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Unit at the California Department of Education. She is also currently a doctoral student studying educational leadership for social justice at the California State University in East Bay. Her work includes directing California's Newborn Hearing Screening Project (NHSP), supervising SB 210 data, developing resources for families of deaf and hard of hearing children, and providing technical assistance to K-12 deaf education. During her free time, Rems-Smario volunteers as one of the public relations directors of a national campaign, Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K). With the LEAD-K team, she is involved in legislative work with several states to establish language acquisition milestones in American Sign Language and English for deaf and hard of hearing children (ages 0-5) for literacy success in kindergarten. In 2017, she was honored with Deaf Women United's Deaf Woman of the Year award and Deaf Person of the Year by DeafLife (2015) for her early work with LEAD-K. In 2007, she was also recognized by eWomenNetwork with the International Humanitarian Award and by CNN as one of the CNN Heroes for her work with Deaf survivors of domestic and sexual violence as the founding director of DeafHope.

Kerie Scurry-Burns, BA, is a dedicated aide at Payne Elementary School in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Gallaudet University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in international studies and government. She previously attended the Clerc Center's Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and Model Secondary School for the Deaf, where she learned the value of education, especially deaf plus education.

Nicole Sutliffe, chief administrative officer, has served in numerous capacities since joining the Clerc Center in 2003 and served as executive director from 2008-2016. Throughout her career, she has been engaged with leadership efforts across the University, including co-chairing the University Planning and Budget Committee, serving as a member of the Crisis Leadership Team, and serving as a member of the President's Executive Team since 2016. Sutliffe's background is in finance and business administration. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester and her master's degree in special education administration from Gallaudet University. Belsky and Sutliffe have co-led the Clerc Center since May 2017.

Julie Tibbitt, EdS, is the principal of the American School for the Deaf (ASD). She is also a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education at Gallaudet University, where she earned her EdS in critical studies in the education of deaf learners. Additionally, Tibbitt teaches undergraduate courses in the Special Education department at Ball State University. Part of her job duties at ASD include administering Individualized Education Program meetings and collaborating with dozens of local educational agencies (LEAs) across diverse districts (and a few out-of-state districts). Previously, Tibbitt worked as an elementary assistant principal at the Maryland School for the Deaf, where she began her teaching career with elementary and middle school students.

Debbie Trapani, Ed S, is the director of Bilingual Education and interim co-director of Training and Professional Development at the Clerc Center. She is also currently co-leading the Regional Early Acquisition of Language (REAL) project in collaboration with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. Before coming to the Clerc Center, Trapani was a parent-child educator, a teacher of students from preschool through secondary, a literacy specialist, and administrator of the Delaware School for the Deaf and statewide programs in Delaware. Growing up deaf, she was a student in several deaf education settings in California before graduating froma school for the deaf.

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