President’s Corner

Happy New Year! Its 2017 already!? No way!

It feels like just yesterday I was elected President of UAD (Oct 2015).  Wow, I can’t believe more than a year has passed by.  We realized we have not shared the two year goals we made when we had an UAD retreat at Eden, Utah in January 2016.  So this will be the main focus of my President’s corner this month.

Here are the goals we made and the status of where we are with each one:


  • UAD Board members has been going to various events to show our support and increase visibility of UAD

More Educational V-Logs – ACCOMPLISHED

Utah State Office of Rehabilitation’s move under DWS – ACCOMPLISHED NOW MONITORING

  • This was widely known as bill HB325 Office of Rehabilitation Services Amendments.  This was a rushed effort by the legislation on behalf of Utah State of Education to move USOR.  They decided that USOR will be best fit under Dept. of Workforce Service (DWS).  UAD advocated for protecting Div. of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) which is under USOR. We were concerned that the move to DWS would affect the quality and accessibility of services provided by DSDHH.  Through our efforts here are some of the modifications that were done to the bill.

o Hearing impaired wording was changed to deaf and hard of hearing

o In the old version of the bill – DSDHH’s Director Position (currently Marilyn Call) was not included.  Now it is      included as ‘Assistant Director.’

o DSDHH will still be called a Division instead of Office.

o Required that the advisory council for DSDHH be made up of at least half deaf and hard of hearing

o A letter was added requesting that there be an audit of DSDHH to be done (October 2017) to determine if DSDHH      should stay under DWS. For this reason, a taskforce is being set up. More information will be shared later on.  Not all of the changes are listed and some of our suggestions were implemented to the Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DSBVI) also which shows that our advocating had a bigger impact than we envisioned.  Again, this bill was rushed by the legislators and UAD did what we could.  We originally asked for a year extension but it was declined. We know the bill was not perfect and could have been better.


  • The UAD website now accepts credit card/debit as a payment for UAD memberships. It used to require PayPal account in order to pay it online.
  • Submit News / Subscribe News used to have various categories (ie: obituaries, business, family, church) but it was creating duplicates.  In other words people were getting 4 or 5 emails every time the email blast was sent out.  Now it’s been consolidated into one category “All Announcements.” So you should no longer receive duplicates.
  • Membership price has been updated to reflect the change from the General Meeting in May 2016.  This is now 10 dollars per person per year.  Changing this helped simplify the old pricing system.
  • Now in the progress of finding a way to make UAD Directory online through our website


  • See update (later in the bulletin) from one of our board member Philippe Montalette who is taking the lead on that.

Improve retention of deaf teachers – IN PROGRESS

  • As you know Utah is in the progress of changing the whole system for hiring teachers and teacher licensure. We spoke to Utah Board of Education to encourage them to consider adding ‘ASL/English’ endorsement to the teacher license.  That way they will recognize teachers who got their Masters in Deaf Education and will not require them to take more college classes for Masters in Special Education.

Support deaf mentors to get increase in pay and benefits – IN PROGRESS

  • This is one of the things we’ll start looking into the next few months.

Make ADA stronger

  • This is another one we’ll start looking into the next few months.

These goals are all in addition to UAD’s mission.  We’ll continue to protect and promote for the betterment of the deaf community.  To see UAD’s mission go to:

Psst, want to know more about the UAD Conference later this year?  We’ve already found a place and set the date.  Plus we’ll be working with a few organizations to make it the best UAD Conference yet! Hmm…. curious?  Check out our UAD Conference page for more information!  ☺ Make sure to buy the tickets early to get the early bird deal!

Upcoming UAD events!

  • ASL Skate Family Night– Jan 27th
  • Super Bowl– Feb 5th
  • Deafhood 101 Workshop – Feb 16-19th (limited space – please reserve)
  • Ally Workshop – Feb 17th

Here’s the current list of UAD Board members:

  • Stephen Persinger (President)
  • Pamela Mower (Vice President)
  • Philippe Montalette (Treasurer)
  • Ashli-Marie Grant (Secretary)
  • Roberta Dunlap (Member at Large)
  • Dustin Cutrer (Member at Large)
  • Patricia Lowry (Member at Large)
  • Sari Williams (Member at Large)
  • Laurie Monell (Member at Large)
  • Emisha Sill (Member at Large)

When you see them please thank them for the work we have done so far.  With this great team we’ve been able to do more than we originally expected.  Thank you everyone who’s a member of UAD and for your continuous support.  If you’re interested in becoming a member, you can sign up here:

Stephen Persinger

UAD President

Rattles ‘n’ Powder

September 28, 2016 – Jack William, baby son of Laurie (Bishop) and Chris Monell of Highland.  Laurie is a staff member at the Sanderson Community Center.

To a Higher Glory

October 27, 2016 – Vynola Perkins, 90, passed away at home. Married on June 6, 1946 to Lloyd H. Perkins in the Salt Lake Temple.  She became deaf when she was three, lived in a “dug out” on the Arizona Strip, and attended Arizona and Utah Schools for the Deaf. She loved her family, friends, traveling, sewing, quilting and genealogy. Memorial services were held prior to being laid to rest beside her mother in Kanab..

November 21, 2016 – Dona Mae DeYarmon passed away at the home of her daughter in Texas. Born in Delta, she met Donovan G. DeYarmon in California. They married and moved to Kelso WA. After becoming certified in data processing, Dona Mae was employed by St. John’s Hospital in administration and continued working there for many years until she retired. Dona Mae had a great love of the outdoors, which included fishing, hunting and hiking in the wonderland of the Pacific Northwest. She enjoyed gardening and sewing was her passion. Dona Mae and Donovan enjoyed traveling abroad and went on several cruises with their deaf friends.  Funeral services were held in South Jordan with interment at the Delta City Cemetery.

December 12, 2016 – Coleen Jones passed away at 54. She is survived by her husband, Brent Jones, son, Zodi, as well as a brother, Kevin Johnson. She enjoyed putting together scrapbooks and photos, liked to assemble jewels and do computing. Private funeral services and interment were held at Redwood Memorial Estates.

Utahn Designs New Gym Logo 

The Eagle logo on the new gym floor at the C. Mark Openshaw Education Center was designed by Brandon R. Hill, a deaf individual. The key element was to carry over from the USDB’s old Eagle logo and created a new one to represent the school.

The C. Mark Openshaw Education Center is part of the Jean Massieu School for the Deaf complex on 3300 South in Salt Lake City.

Brandon is currently with Convo Relay as Interpreting Core Development Manager. He was born in Provo, but moved to Minnesota at the age of 10 where he graduated from Minnesota State “Academy for the Deaf. He returned to Utah in 2007.  He graduated from Gallaudet with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design in 2006 and a Master of Arts in Sign Language Education. 2013.

Grand Opening for JMS Education Center

The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration for the new C. Mark Openshaw Education Center, in honor of the late member of the Utah State Board of Education, in Salt Lake City Thursday October 6, 2016.

Porter and Max Openshaw, two of the surviving children of late state school board member Mark Openshaw, cut the ceremonial red ribbon on Thursday for a new deaf and blind education campus that bears their father’s name.

The $16 million, 48,000-square-foot C. Mark Openshaw Education Center is located on the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) campus on 3300 South, and combines classroom space, a gymnasium and performance stage and administrative offices, USDB Superintendent Joel Coleman said.

“In our Salt Lake area, we were missing a few key elements for our students,” he said.

Coleman said the decision to name the building after Mark Openshaw is a tribute to his legacy of service, and his support for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind and its students.

Mark Openshaw died in a plane crash, along with his wife and two of his children, in 2015.

Wasatch Deaf Seniors Elect 2017-2018 Officers

On November 16, 2016, officers were elected to lead the Wasatch Deaf Seniors for the next two years.  Their terms begin January 1, 2017.

     Nellie Sausedo President

     Sally Roberts Vice President

     TediAnn Wilson Treasurer

     Richard Oscarson 1st Trustee

     Leola Stewart 2nd Trustee

     Rhonda Christensen 3rd Trustee

Bonneville Recreation Club for the Deaf Elect 2017 Officers

Bonneville Recreation Club for the Deaf members elected new officers for January to December 2017.

     Julie Kimbrel President

     Evelyn Murray Vice President

     Jolene Poe Secretary

     Abel Martinez Treasurer

     Richard Oscarson 1stTrustee

     Greg Rathbun 2nd Trustee

     Rhonda Christensen 3rd Trustee

Ron Burdett, ’70, Honored at Sorenson Naming Ceremony 

Photo by Zhee Chatmon

On September 29, 2016, Gallaudet University hosted an event in honor of Ron Burdett, ’70, as a room in the Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC) was named after him – the Ron Burdett, ’70, Seminar Room, which is located on the second floor of the building. The announcement was made at a ceremony that took place in the SLCC atrium.

Ron has worked at Sorenson Communications for a number of years and the company made a donation to Gallaudet in honor of Ron’s years of service.

At the ceremony, Burdett was also recognized for his work as a professor and dean of Deaf Studies and Special Services at Ohlone College as well as for his service as president of the California Association for Post-Education of the Disabled (CAPED), which oversaw 107 community colleges, eight California state universities and three universities of California.

“It is going to be difficult not working for Sorenson anymore when I retire at the end of this year,” Ron Burdett said, adding that he plans to continue working for Sorenson on a part-time, contracted basis. “I just can’t keep away,” said Burdett, laughingly.

Ron Burdett recognizes Gallaudet as a focal starting point of his leadership and success.

“Like so many students before and after me, Gallaudet offered me many opportunities to learn, lead and pursue my goals,” “Being immersed in the academic environment prepared me for my career, as well as extracurricular activities, where I met a diverse contingent of people. I didn’t know it then, but this really prepared me for my future community relations work at Sorenson Communications, through which I have met thousands of deaf people.”

At the event, Martin Price, ’90 and a colleague of Ton Burdett, also recognized the inspiration that Burdett gave the community. “I saw how kids at schools you visited were enthralled with your humor and wisdom,” said Martin Price.  “You took customer concerns seriously and were persistent in showing your love to everyone.”

The ceremony was attended by his friends and family members, who surprised him at the event. Former presidents Dr. I. King Jordan and Dr. Robert R. Davila were also in attendance.

Ron is married to Joyanne Burdett, ’70, and lives in the St. George area of southern Utah.

By Andrew Greenman, ’10 

Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano Officially Installed   

Photo by Danielle Seiss

The highly anticipated installation of President Roberta J. Cordano took place in front of a huge, enthusiastic crowd at the Gallaudet UniversityField House on the afternoon of September 30, 2016, highlighted with the investiture of Ms. Cordano. Gallaudet’s furst three deaf presidents, Drs. I. King Jordan, ’70 & H-’14, Robert Davila, ’53 & H-’96, and T. Alan Hurwitz, were present for the ceremony.

“This is a great day, especially for women; this is an important day… the world needs women leaders,” “She (Cordano) is a strong model for deaf people around the world.”

Ms. Cordano’s accomplishments are in bilingual education and community building. “President Cordano is passionate about bilingual and bicultural education. She brings her energy and enthusiasm for bilingual learning to Gallaudet. … President Cordano’s commitment to making this University a center of excellence. She is committed to our students and their experiences here. But we … know that she cares about the people that work here.”
By Phil Dignan, contributor
Published October 7, 2016

Horizon Card Conversion

As you may be aware the Utah Department of Workforce Services will be doing a conversion to a new Horizon Card (food stamps & cash assistance) vendor toward the end of this month. Attached are some fliers that we are working with DWS to get out so food stamp and cash assistance customers are aware of this conversion.

Please be aware:

The conversion will be Sunday, October 23 between 12:00 Midnight and 10:00 a.m.

During this time customers will not be able to:

  • Make purchases at retail/grocery stores,
  • Get back cash or withdraw cash from an ATM.

ALSO- please know

  • A customer will not need a new card, their current card will continue to work except during this 10 hour conversion window
  • A customer will not need a new pin
  • The phone number used to call about their EBT card will not change.

If there are questions about the conversion clients can call the customer help line at 1-800-997-4444

USD Update

Michelle Tanner

School is in full swing and the teachers are hard at work educating our students.  Our basketball season is well underway.  We are looking forward to competing in the Western States Basketball Class in Portland, OR the last week of January.

There are also several projects in process.  We are finishing a complete remodel and upgrade of the JMS Auditorium.  The HVAC system at JMS is being upgraded.  And we are moving forward with a visual PA and emergency system at JMS.  In Ogden, the cottages and the front desk are getting a facelift.   Our new building, the C. Mark Openshaw Education Center (OEC) is receiving its final touches.

As we begin looking towards January and the legislative session, I want to make you aware of legislative happenings.  USDB will be requesting the following increases:


  • Educator Salary Adjustments (2.3% increase): $490,920.00
  • Necessary legislative increase for our teaching staff.
  • Additional interpreters and educators
  • 10 Interpreters $629,719.00
  • Satisfy the demand for an increased number of interpreters.
  • 5 Educators (3 for USD and 2 for USB):  $414,757.00
  • Known increase in educator needs for FY18


  • Design and building of a new facility in Springville. ($10.5 million)

We will also be running legislation that would require direct referrals from medical providers across the State to USDB when a child is suspected of a hearing loss.

We are still following some Board Rule changes that pertain to USDB.  We are adding several operating policies, that were previously written into an Interagency Agreement with the education entities, to Board Rule.   Additionally, we are hopeful that our proposed deaf education license will be finalized by January.

Finally, USD is working with the deaf education community to move forward with the LEAD-K agenda of having deaf and hard of hearing children ready for kindergarten.  The first meeting with be held in January and we hope to have a proposal to the Board by June.

Thank you for all the support you provide USD and our students.

JMS Update

Aimee Breinholt

JMS students and staff wish you all a happy holiday season!  We hope you will find joy at this time of the year!  Our winter program will be held on December 22nd at 10am in the OEC gym.  Please come and join us as we celebrate.  There will be cookies, hot chocolate and a visit from santa.

Basketball season is underway.  We have loved using the new gym for practice and games.  We have one more home game, January 4th at 5:30pm.  Jayson Bluhme and Alex Barboza are working hard to get our high school boys ready for WSBCC.  The team will fly to Oregon for this year’s tournament from January 25th to the 29th.  Mark your calendars and help cheer us on!  We also have a Jr. Jazz basketball team coached by Oscar Rodriguez and Justin Walker.  The boys play on Saturdays at the Eisenhower Jr. High (4351 S Redwood Rd).  The next game will be Jan 7th at 4pm.

Shari Solomon-Klebba and Brynn Roemen are practicing with our academic bowl team.  Regionals are February 17th.  We are thrilled to participate and wish the team luck as they prepare for the competition.

Preschool teachers are working together with the LSL program to provide opportunities for all deaf students.  Our goal is to have each child kindergarten ready.  As a part of this collaboration, we are working together on the LEAD-K initiative.  A committee has been established and will start meeting in January.

We are thrilled to announce that our student, Zane Smith-Rhyne, took 1st place in the creative writing entry in this year’s National Literary Competition.  You can see his entry and follow these results on the Gallaudet University Youth Programs facebook page.  Congratulations Zane!  We are proud of you!

USD junior/senior students are preparing for a trip to Thailand in March of 2017.  We will have an opportunity to visit the deaf school in Bangkok and learn some Thai sign language.  The trip itinerary will include several unique opportunities such as visiting historical sites, riding elephants, playing with baby tigers and zip lining.  Students are raising money for this once in a lifetime opportunity.  If you would like to help sponsor a student please contact the school.  Any support would be welcomed and much appreciated!

We continue to look for substitute teachers for the school.  Please help us spread the word.  If you are interested in working, apply at:

We are so grateful for the community support we receive!  Please stop in and see us at JMS.  Thank you for all you do for our students and staff.

Sego Lily – 3rd Annual Purple Tie

Behind The Scenes Of The Mad Hatter

Joel Asay

I hope you all had a grand time at the Purple Tie Gala! Did you guess the murder mystery right? Get a highly-coveted auction piece? Enjoy some fantastic conversation?  Captured it all with a hilarious photo from the photo booth? We truly hope you enjoyed the spectacular night! We are so proud that our very own staff and volunteers from the Deaf community worked tirelessly behind the scenes to create our fantastic decorations sourced from many creative places!  The food caterer, location and master of ceremonies were all hand-picked for their ability to unite with our vision and cause of supporting deaf and hard of hearing victims and survivors.  The behind-the-scenes experience was exhilarating as the volunteers rushed critical notes to the announcer for the dessert dash, shared in the thrill when hands flashed in the air as auction pieces started exciting bidding wars, and delighted in observing deaf artists’ faces as they realized their pieces were bringing such great value to the cause. Volunteers willingly tackled obstacles such as lack of Internet or keeping up with the flow of bidders waiting to check out.   At the end of the night, we breathed a sigh of relief and went to bed with our hearts full of gratitude while the others were already planning in their mind on how to make next year’s event rock even more!   Thank you for being a supporter and an attendee.  We are part of a great and powerful community capable of so much generosity and willingness to help change the lives of many.  We are so excited to begin implementing more great ideas and goals for next year and we hope to see you there!

Sego Lily – JDVNC Gets A New Name

Stephanie Mathis

At the end of October Sego Lily Staff and volunteers went to Washington DC to participate in the Justice for Deaf Victims National Coalition (JDVNC) conference.  While we were there, the organization received a new name. Here is the rationale for the newly dubbed Deaf Anti-Violence Coalition:

Position Statement: Deaf Leadership

DAVC is a national organization committed to ending power based personal violence, including but not limited to: domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, and human trafficking within Deaf communities. The Coalition shall focus its energies on supporting anti-oppression, anti-violence, and social justice endeavors. The Coalition centers this work from a Deaf perspective, creating deep cultural and linguistic capacity for all members of Deaf communities.

DAVC Values:

Survivor Focus & Integrity

Cultural Competency & Community Engagement

Transformative Justice

Collabortation & Community-Driven Solutions

Survivor Focus & Integrity

Ethical Practices

The Board of Directors look forward to engaging with JDVNC-DAWN conference attendees, community partners, sponsors and shareholders on elevating DAVC’s mission. We have chosen the symbol of the kite to represent hope and rising above violence within our communities. Please keep in touch with us by email: and website:

DAVC Board Members:

Aaron Gutzke

Ami Garry

Aracelia Aguilar

Deanna Swope

Malibu Barron

Comments from DAVC 2016 Conference Attendees

At the end of the conference, all the participants stood in a circle and said one word they felt represented the entire week.  Here are some of the comments from the workshop participants and presenters:

Update on LEAD-K

Philippe Montalette

Good news, we’re moving forward with the LEAD-K initiative here in Utah.  After collaborating with National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Michelle Tanner the assistant superintendent of Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind (USDB) Michelle brought up an idea that instead of going through legislation she can form a LEAD-K committee under Utah Board of Education (UBOE).  The 13 people that will make up the committee will be almost the same as stated in the LEAD-K bill.  A couple of those 13 listed had to be adjusted to fit Utah’s system (see the list below). The goal will be to start this month January 2017! The committee will have about a year to study/research, come up with guidelines and identify assessment tools that will be used. Then bring that proposal to the Board of Education January 2018.  Then after at least two readings, it can be enacted by around March 2018.  The unique thing about Utah is that USDB oversees all the deaf children in the state from 0 to 21, so that gives them the unique position to be able to do this.  This will allow LEAD-K to move faster compared to other states.  For example, California was the first state to pass a LEAD-K bill but their bill says that the advisory committee has to be formed on or before March 2018.  Ok, here’s the list of 13 that will make up the advisory committee for USDB:

  • One parent of a child who is D/HH who uses the dual languages of ASL and English.
  • One parent of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing who uses only spoken English, with or without visual supplements.
  • One credentialed teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing pupils who use the dual languages of ASL and English.
  • One credentialed teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing pupils who uses only spoken English, with or without visual supplements.
  • One Early Intervention specialist of deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and toddlers who uses the dual languages of ASL and English.
  • One Early Intervention specialist of deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and toddlers who uses only spoken English, with or without visual supplements.
  • One Director from USD focused on a dual language approach for teaching DHH students.
  • One Director from USD focused on a Listening and Spoken Language approach to teaching D/HH students.
  • One Director from USD representing Early Intervention for DHH students.
  • One D/HH adult who uses the dual languages of ASL and English to communicate.
  • One D/HH adult who uses only spoken English with or without visual supplements
  • One SLP who has experience and works with both populations of deaf students.
  • One regular education Kindergarten teacher or specialist in Kindergarten readiness.

One thing to keep in mind though is that once the guidelines have been set up by the LEAD-K advisory committee.  NAD has advised that UAD should put it in a bill to be passed by legislation.  That way its set in law and will be harder for any future changes to be made without going through legislation again. Once in law, it’ll give us the community and UAD more ‘biting’ power to make sure Lead-K is being followed.  🙂

Have questions?  Feel free to contact me if you want at