Biographies of ASD Pioneers Team
Student #3978

Janie Wilson Golightly

Jane, Class of 1964, a former ASD school librarian and Composing Room Assistant Superintendent at the Washington Post, is the visionary guiding force behind the ASD Pioneers. She has always been fascinated by ASD’s rich history and proud of the fact that ASL has its roots at ASD. Her uncle graduated from ASD in 1934.  Her father was a post-graduate learning a new trade (printing) at ASD. Both parents worked at ASD as substitute teachers. Janie feels strongly that the world should know about ASD’s history and hopes the website will be an effective way to share that.   

Student #3993

Kathy Miller Darby

Kathy, Class of 1963, a retired teacher and Student Work Experience Coordinator at ASD for 28 years, is a longtime dedicated volunteer at the ASD Museum. She has always considered ASD her second home. Her brother was a ’70 graduate, and her husband, Al Darby, a ’55 graduate, was a teacher and principal at ASD for over 40 years. Her mother was actively involved in APTC and served as president. Kathy enjoys reading and discovering new things about ASD history while working on the ASD Pioneer project. She looks forward to passing on the rich history to her granddaughter currently in the ASD Tiger Cub program and others.

Student #4036

Jonathan Twiss

Jonathan, Class of 1963, was also a graduate of Bristol Eastern High School ’65 and UConn, ’67. He worked at Aetna Insurance Company for 30 years and Travelers Insurance Company for 12 years before retiring in 2009. Joni enjoys history and genealogy tremendously, even publishing a 600-page book on the Twiss Family of New England in 2015, which took 75 years of research and five years of typing. Susan Denison (a cousin twice removed) who married Edward Miner Gallaudet in 1868 can be found in his family tree. Joni is looking forward to writing biographical information of interest about former faculty/staff members and events to preserve the history and enrich the ASD Pioneers website.

Student #4484

Sylvia J. Wood

Sylvia, Class of 1973, has taught at several state schools for the deaf and currently teaches a literacy class at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. Attending the 200th Anniversary ASDAA reunion at ASD helped spark her interest in exploring further the school’s history. Her father and aunt also graduated from ASD. She was thrilled when her daughter from California attended Isola Bella as a camper and staff member, continuing the “ASD/IB tradition” of her family. Sylvia sees the ASD Pioneers website as a valuable resource and hopes people will enjoy learning more about ASD as much as she has.

Student #4491

Darlene Borsotti

Darlene, Class of 1976, was the 4491st person to enroll at ASD at age 3. Employed at ASD for over 30 years in various positions, currently, as the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Education, she enjoys sharing tidbits about ASD history with students, staff, friends, and visitors. To her surprise, a recent genealogy report showed Eliza Boardman Clerc and Sophia Fowler Gallaudet as fifth cousins removed on two family trees. She and her younger brother, Steven ’77 (former Camp Director at Isola Bella), consider themselves fortunate that their parents chose ASD over Mystic Oral School. Darlene is excited about the website as a great resource to share ASD history all over the world.

Student #5120

Mark W. Hughey

Mark, Class of 1976,  is a freelance artist and historian with a passion for researching ASD history and the ability to uncover all kinds of information. His extensive collection of historical materials provided the foundation for this website. He enrolled at ASD at age 13, learning ASL for the first time. Mark worked as a graphic artist for over 25 years, designing and editing numerous flyers, program books, posters, and a newsletter for Deaf organizations. He was the stage manager/set designer for the Show of Hands Theatre Company. Mark also painted two portraits, one of Laurent Clerc and the other depicting President Monroe’s visit to ASD in 1817, both of which were donated to ASD for the 200th Anniversary. He looks forward to sharing his passion for ASD history with everyone.

Student #6057

Jonathan Cybulski

Jonathan, Class of 2009, can’t thank ASD enough for making him who he is after he enrolled at age 3. While an ASD student, he was active in student organizations, sports, and extracurricular activities. After graduating from Gallaudet University, Jon became involved in the ASD Alumni Association (ASDAA), serving as Vice President, Homecoming Chairperson, and Bylaws Chairperson.  He was also the Co-General Chairperson for the ASD 200th Celebration in 2017. On top of those roles, he also served as the school Junior National Association of the Deaf (JRNAD) Co-Advisor.  Jon looks forward to working with the ASD Pioneers team to expand its resources about the rich history of ASD.

Student #6299

Ian Sanborn

Ian Sanborn, Class of 2001, has been involved with the National Theatre of the Deaf for about eight years after graduating from ASD. He is well known for his videos such as “Caterpillar ” and “Tick Tock,” and some of his works are being used in various places for study and inspiration. He currently works as the production coordinator at the Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency in San Leandro, California. His hobbies are mostly outdoor activities, painting, photography, and dancing. Ian felt excited about reuniting with the school when he was asked to join the ASD Pioneers team and is eager to gain access to ASD’s rich history by working on the website.

Web Designer

Matthew Lee Vita

Matthew, Model Secondary School for the Deaf ’02, is the ASD Pioneers web designer. Currently the graphic designer and photographer at The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center in Washington, D.C., he became involved with the ASD Pioneers through a conversation with Janie Golightly, which piqued his interest in joining the team as the only non-ASD alumni. Vita enjoys learning new things and designing web content to make them accessible and enticing to the public. Among his many varied interests are men’s fashion, photography, travel, anime/manga, and comic books.

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