Wednesday, March 19, 2014

AFA's Letter to RSD Board: Representation in Search for Superintendent

17 March 2013

Rochester School for the Deaf Board Members
Rochester School for the Deaf
1545 St. Paul Street
Rochester, NY 14621

To the Board Members of the Rochester School for the Deaf,

A great responsibility is upon you in the choice of the next Superintendent of the Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD).  At a time when Deaf schools face constant threats of closing and cuts, a strong visionary leader is certainly needed.  This adds further importance to specifying the qualities of such a leader and the process by which this individual is chosen.

Audism Free America (AFA) is dedicated to combating discrimination against Deaf people.  Relying heavily on an outside agency that has no knowledge of Deaf culture, ASL, and community accountability within the Deaf-World does not bode well in leading to an audism-free new superintendent.

AFA joins with the Rochester School for the Deaf alumni Association and the Advocacy Committee for Fair Search Process as well as other community organizations to support the call for more inclusive representation on the Search Committee.  Members of the community have clearly stated that the Committee should include:  an RSDAA representative, an RSD faculty Representative, an RSD staff representative and one RSD parent.  Including such key stakeholders on the Search Committee is appropriate and will build greater trust in the search process. 

RSD’s Educational Vision (see www.rsdeaf “About RSD”) begins “The faculty, staff, Board, families, alumni, and volunteers of RSD are dedicated and committed to…”
In addition, faculty, staff, families and volunteers (many of who are alumni) are identified as  “vital resources.” 

AFA calls upon the Rochester School for the Deaf Board to take actions, which will utilize and honor all of these vital resources, which are needed to carry out RSD’s educational vision.   We call upon you to unify the school, the community and the stakeholders by including the above representatives on the search committee.  We do believe that the Board can creatively combine the hiring of an external firm with having an inclusive Search Committee.

The passion of the members of the RSD alumni, the Rochester Deaf Community and its allies shows a great investment in the importance of the future of RSD.   This investment the Board and future superintendent of RSD cannot afford to loose.

Let Freedom Roll,

Karen Christie, Patti Durr and Ruthie Jordan