President’s Corner

Happy Mid-Summer everyone! Time is flying by fast! Time is precious! Time never stops!

So onward we go. The last three months (April, May, June) was eventful with Linsay Darnall Jr.’s Leadership training workshop, a couple restaurant fundraisers, some advocating efforts, a hiking event and two town hall meetings (Prison and VRI).

I’m happy to say that we’re doing fairly well with what limited resource we have! We hosted an ASL-Tru Biz show after Linsay’s leadership training and fundraised around $350. It was focused on our native language with the ability to sing songs, tell jokes, stories, and poetry.  We’re looking into hosting this again along with some feedback we’ve gathered from the community.

As for advocacy, we’re happy to say that Utah Board of Education has finally passed a Deaf Education License with two endorsements (one for ASL and one for LSL).  Each endorsements will have requirements that’ll need to be met before qualifying for the license. In this way, we’ll be able to recognize deaf education degree that some teachers have gotten in other states and not have to force them to go back to school to work on getting a special education degree.  This will also help USDB find, hire and retain quality teachers.  The next step is to increase the teacher’s salary. Many states are drawing teachers away from Utah since they pay better. Luckily so far around 6 school districts here have increased their teachers’ starting salary so hopefully that provide a strong case to increase USDB’s teachers’ salary next year.

The Prison and VRI town hall meetings went well.  We’re still gauging whether we’ll have enough information and data to move forward on either of those.  As of now, we are still collecting information regarding VRI. The toughest part about both of them was finding people who experienced it first hand then come out and share it with us.  If you have not filled out the survey and have had a bad experience with VRI, please fill out the survey ASAP.   We may have more updates on that later.

We’ve gotten a couple sponsors for the UAD Conference this year! So that’s good.

1) We’re very excited to announce that Wayne Betts, a co-founder of Convo, will be our Keynote Speaker!

2) Be sure to register and reserve your spot by going to this link –

3) We have a special deal for a booth for any deaf or deaf-friendly businesses – register at the current price and receive a booth free! That price will be going up July 15th so please spread the word!

Heads up, the Lagoon Friendship Day will be Saturday, August 26th.  We got a lot of positive feedback last year when we moved the day to later in fall since it is cooler and people are back from vacation.  So we’ve decided to continue that this year.

This is an amazing summer for the deaf community and Salt Lake City! Why? There’s 4 National- Yes, I repeat – FOUR NATIONAL Conferences!

• National HLAA Conference is June 22-25th

• National Deaf Disc Golf Tournament the same week! June 27th – July 1st

• National ASLTA Conference June 28-July 1st (Over 500 attendees!)

• National RID Conference July 20-24th

We’ll be having our Chick-Fil-A fundraiser on July 6th from 5:30-7:30pm at Jordan Landing in West Jordan! Come eat, chat and show your support! 🙂

Stephen Persinger, UAD President,

To a Higher Glory

February 20, 2017 – James Hill passed away at the age of 68. He attended Utah School for the Deaf from 1953 to 1968.  James was a resident of Spanish Fork and is buried there.

April 5, 2017 – Rex Clark, 90, passed away in Flint, Michigan.  His ashes were scattered in the mountains, as was his wish.

May 5, 2017 – Scott Thorsen, age 46, died of cancer in West Valley City.  His final schooling was at Salt Lake Community College, where he graduated with a Network Engineer (MCSE) Certificate.

His wife, Halerie Ann Cleveland of West Valley City survives him. After services at the Salt Lake Valley 2nd ASL Ward, graveside services were held the next day at Salina Eastside Cemetery.

May 11, 2017 – Patricia (Pat) Walker passed away peacefully in Salt Lake City. She was 79. Pat worked for the Utah Office of Vocational Rehabilitation helping many find employment. From 2010 to 2012 she served  a senior mission for the LDS church in the Philippines-Dagupan Mission as an employment specialist. She dearly loved that experience and treasured her time working with the Filipino people. Funeral services were held in Salt Lake City. One of her sons, Nathan Van de Graff of Vienna, Virginia., survives her.

May 25, 2017 – Paul Chamberlain passed away at the age of 67. He was an advocate for the Deaf. In the 70’s, he was a lead protester at BYU against the lack of accessibility to Deaf students who used ASL and was instrumental in important policy changes. He also helped to organize the first ASL classes on campus. Paul participated in the development of LDS Church curriculum in American Sign Language in the 1980’s. He was involved in writing and producing the very first ASL Church video, “And They Shall Have Joy.” Paul was a big sports fan, loved old musicals, photography, his family, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. After services in Provo, burial took place in Salt Lake City.

June 11, 2017 – Stanley Bassett Sr. died at the age of 79. He was a dedicated father, hard worker, and loving grandfather who loved to play and tease all the grandchildren. Funeral services were held at the Ogden Deaf Branch with burial in the Kaysville City Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Faith.

USD Update

Michelle Tanner

Another school year has come and gone with its ups and downs.  We began the year with the loss of a deaf colleague and friend and we ended it by honoring her memory by naming the remodeled auditorium at JMS the “Ellen O’Hara Auditorium.”  As part of naming the auditorium, we created a video clip that will be viewed in the future by tapping the QR code that will be posted under the picture of Ellen outside the auditorium.  For your viewing pleasure, I have included a link to images from our celebration of Ellen’s life and naming of the auditorium, along with the video clip that will be accessed by the QR code near the auditorium.

This past year has shown great growth in our State for deaf and hard of hearing children.  Utah embarked on the LEAD-K initiative; whose goal is to have all deaf and hard of hearing children kindergarten ready.  The Utah LEAD-K team consists of equal representation from members of the ASL/English bilingual-bicultural group and those that support a listening and spoken language perspective.  The team of consists of 14 members; 7 of whom are deaf.  We have made great progress; however, we still have much work to do.  We are currently studying language assessments we administer to our students.

This year we created a new deaf education license which requires an endorsement in an ASL/English bilingual-bicultural specialty or a listening and spoken language emphasis.  By creating this license, many qualified teachers of the deaf who were denied a license in the past, will now be able to receive a license in Utah.  This new license will go into effect for the upcoming school year.  These new licensing requirements will be included with Board Rule in the Fall under R277-504.  I have already begun the discussions with key stakeholders to develop the respective endorsements and they should be ready in the Fall as well.

Although many assume that the summer is a laidback time for education, we are actually very busy hosting 40+ summer camps from preschool to high school.  We are currently very busy finalizing the USDB budget for the upcoming school year.  This entails budgets for personnel and operating expenses.  Summer is also a time for cleaning all of our buildings and completing projects that will improve our facilities for our students; such as a visual PA system for JMS, a remodel of our cottages and the creation of a facility for vocational training in Ogden.  Finally, we are beginning to crunch the data on the performance of our students this past year in preparation for our Annual Reports to the USDB Advisory Council and the State Board of Education in the Fall.  Next school year will bring a new student database management tool that requires a great deal of time right now for the initial set up.

Another new adventure is the collaboration of Superintendents in the western part of the States.  This new venture is intended to strengthen the bond between deaf schools in the western part of the United States.  Superintendents from each deaf school will meet to discuss current issues and how each state is managing along with dialog on how we can collaborate together better.  I think these types of meetings strengthen services to countless deaf children.

Thank you so much for the honor I have in serving in this role at USDB at this time.  I appreciate all you do for deaf children in our State.  It is gratifying to be part of such a wonderful and supportive community.

JMS Update

Aimee Breinholt

The school year ended with several wonderful events.  Our students danced the night away at prom, enjoyed the sun and water during field day and were recognized for several accomplishments at the end of year awards assembly.  We held a tree planting memorial for Ellen O’Hara and were able to surprise her family, our students and staff by naming our newly renovated auditorium after Ellen.  She will always be an important part of JMS.  Please come by and see the auditorium!  We would love to congratulate our high school graduates.  This is a celebration we look forward to all year.  We are so proud of their accomplishments!

We hope everyone is enjoying the summer months.  Our summer camps and clinics are underway.  This year USDB is offering over 40 camps throughout the summer.  We are thrilled with the opportunities and fun that await our students.

This is a time that we work hard to prepare for the coming school year.  We are looking forward to Nathan Harrison joining us as our new assistant principal.  We have interviewed and hired three new teachers.  Please help us welcome Kayla Meese as our middle school history teacher; Paige Hufner as our second grade teacher and Kristy Tolman as our vocational teacher.  We are thrilled to have them join our team.  We will be posting and interviewing for aide positions in early July with the plan to interview the last week of July.  In addition to that, we continue to look for substitute teachers for the school.  Please help us spread the word.  If you are interested in working, apply at:

Please mark your calendars for back to school night which will take place August 18th from 6-8pm.

We truly love our community.  It takes a village to educate our students and we are so grateful for all you do to partner with us!  Have a wonderful summer!

UAD Conference Chairperson’s Corner

Pamela Mower

Hi everyone!

As you may know, we will be having our UAD Conference on September 22-23, 2017 and we are very excited about it!

Our conference keynote speaker will be Wayne Betts, Jr!! He is a co-founder of Convo Communications, a deaf-owned Video Relay Services Company based in Texas. He is also the Chief Strategic Officer for Convo. He is well-known for various short fabulous videos for Gallaudet University, Convo and produced more than 10 deaf films, such as “Vital Signs,” “Resonare” and “My Deaf Family. He is a strong advocate for “Deaf Ecosystem” meaning supporting deaf businesses grow and work together which fits great with our conference theme- United We Stand!  Here’s a short clip with Wayne introducing himself! Click on this –

We are also very excited about our workshop speakers! Here’s a list of speakers for you to look at. We will also be posting short videos about these speakers and their topics SOON on our UAD Facebook page ( and UAD website ( so look for these videos!


ï Ben Jarashow

ï Dr. Dan Hoffman

ï Doug Stringham

  • David Davenport
  • Dawn Duran and Dr. Dan Hoffman

ï Jodi Kinner

ï Katie Voss

ï Michelle Tanner and Philippe Montalette

ï Paula Pittman and Jamie Warengo-Threet

ï Sandy Scott

ï Stephanie Mathis, Sari Williams & Erin Kelly

ï Wayne Betts, Jr.

One specific workshop I’d like to announce is regarding the taskforce requested by UAD regarding if Department of Workforce Services is the right place for our Sanderson Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of hearing to be under. This workshop will be focused on what the results of the taskforce committee’s interviews and research are so far  including pros and cons and discuss possible solutions to be proposed to our legislators. Please watch this video to learn more about this taskforce

Another important thing that will happen at our conference is the UAD Board elections which will take place on Friday, Sept. 22 during the conference! If you are interested in becoming a board member of UAD, please watch this video to learn more about the criteria! More information about how to nominate yourself or others will be shared soon!

We are also very excited about our partnerships with the following organizations as below during the conference!

Utah Schools for the Deaf – Children from Utah Schools for the Deaf will perform during the banquet on Sept. 22!

Utah Deaf Nite – This will be hosted at a location nearby on Sept. 22nd in the evening after the banquet.

Coffee Night Out – There will be coffee in the morning before workshops starts where you can socialize while you “wake” up with coffee. 

Sego Lily Center for Abused Deaf – Their gala will be on Sept. 23rd in the evening in the same center as our conference.

This will be at Viridian Center located in West Jordan just off Redwood Road and 8030 South.

There are Trax and bus stops near this center so it will be very easy for everyone to get to.  There is also a list of hotels near this center on our website under conference section.

I know you WANT to register for UAD Conference since it’ll be a fun and educational time where you will get to socialize and network with others!

Did you know that if you are a UAD member, you’ll get a discount when you register for UAD conference?? Become a UAD member now if you haven’t yet and save money registering for the conference!

How to become a UAD member- Click on, click on “Join us”, click on “Individual membership” then follow the instructions. One cool thing about registering online is that from now on, you will get an automated reminder when your membership will soon expire so all you have to do is renew it! Easy, huh?

How to register for the UAD Conference?

If you are already a UAD member, register for the conference without paying then email Stephen at and he will email you with a link so you can pay using the UAD member discount!

We are currently seeking people for the following:

Volunteers-Interested in volunteering? Email Ashli-Marie Grant at to let her know you’re interested, which day (OR BOTH) you can volunteer on and get more information about how to become a volunteer!

Sponsors- Do you want to support the conference? If you do, you will get some benefits such as being included on advertising materials, free tickets, etc. depending on which type of sponsorship you select. Interested? Email Philippe at

Exhibitors– Want to advertise of your services or businesses and have a booth during the conference? Email Stephen at for more information

If you have any questions about the UAD conference, please email me at and I’ll reply within a few days.



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