Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet
The First ASD Principal and the co-founder, 1817-1830
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on December 10, 1787, the oldest of eight children. His parents were Peter Wallace Gallaudet and Jane (Hopkins) Gallaudet.
In 1802, Thomas Gallaudet entered Yale College and graduated in 1805 at age 17 with the highest honors and earned his master’s degree at Yale in 1808. Gallaudet worked as a law assistant and tutor before attending Andover Theological Seminary, graduating in 1814, but declined an offer to work as a minister of a large church due to health issues.
On May 25, 1814, his life changed when Gallaudet first met Alice Cogswell, a deaf girl whose father, Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell, sought opportunities for educating the deaf in America. He took an interest in teaching Alice and accepted Dr. Cogswell’s offer to go to Europe and learn their methods of teaching deaf children.
Gallaudet first went to England in 1815 to study with the Braidwood family, who advocated the oral method of communicating with the deaf. The Braidwood family was willing to share knowledge of their teaching methods only if Gallaudet would stay there for several years and not share that knowledge with others. Gallaudet was, however, not convinced that the oral approach was the best way to teach the deaf.
While in England, he attended a lecture given by Abbé Sicard, the head of the Institution Nationale des Sourds-Mute in Paris, and two of his deaf teachers. Sicard invited Gallaudet to Paris to study the school’s method of teaching the deaf using manual communication. Gallaudet was impressed with the manual mode and studied under Sicard while learning sign language from Massieu and Clerc, both school faculty members.
Gallaudet returned to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1816, accompanied by Laurent Clerc, a successful graduate of the French Institute for Deaf-Mutes and faculty member. While on the ship back home, Gallaudet tutored Clerc in English while learning the manual (sign) language from him.
Upon arrival in Connecticut, Gallaudet and Clerc toured New England and successfully raised funds to establish the school. From the Connecticut Legislature, Gallaudet gained financial support for the school. On April 15, 1817, the new school was established and called the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction for the Deaf and Dumb Persons.
Under Thomas Gallaudet’s direction, the newly founded school prospered and became successful. By 1830, the year he retired due to health problems, the school had 140 pupils. His work had led him to gain worldwide recognition.
After his retirement, he spent most of his time writing various books and articles promoting special education. During that time, he turned down offers to work at other schools and universities, preferring to write children’s books and devote himself to other social causes. He had a keen interest in caring for people with mental illnesses and served as a chaplain of the Hartford Retreat for the Insane and the Hartford County jail.
Gallaudet married Sophia Fowler, one of his former deaf students at the Guilford First Congregational Church in Guilford, Connecticut, in 1821. He and Sophia had eight children.
Gallaudet’s youngest son, Edward Miner Gallaudet, helped found the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb in Washington, D.C., in 1857. When President Abraham Lincoln signed into law to allow the institute to confer college degrees, Gallaudet became the first president of Gallaudet College, a position he served for 46 years.
Gallaudet’s other son, Thomas Gallaudet, served as an Episcopal priest and worked with the deaf.
Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet died on September 10, 1851, in his 64th year in Hartford, Connecticut, and is buried at the Cedar Hill Cemetery. A few days before his death, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the Western Reserve College of Ohio.
The Gallaudet University was named in honor of him in 1894. A statue of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell created by Daniel Chester French sits at the front of the American School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University.
Rev. Lewis Weld, Sr.
The Second ASD Principal, 1830-1853
Rev. Lewis Weld, Sr. was born in Hampton, Connecticut, on October 17, 1796, the oldest son of Rev. Ludovicus Weld and grandson of another clergyman. He attended Yale College in 1814, and after graduating, he was appointed an instructor at the American Asylum for Deaf and Dumb. He became Principal of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf in 1822 and stayed there for eight years.
After Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet retired from the American Asylum, Lewis was made Principal of the American Asylum in 1830 and remained there for nearly 23 years. The number of students during his tenure increased from 119 to 200, and Weld contributed with his “sound judgment and good practical common sense” to the success and high standing of the school.
In 1844, Weld traveled to Europe to study institutions for the deaf and obtained a significant amount of information regarding improvements to the education of the deaf to bring back to the states. He suffered from a chronic disease for the last few years and passed away shortly after returning from his last trip to Europe.
He was married to Mary Austin Cogswell, Alice Cogswell’s sister. They had five children, Mason Cogswell Weld, Charles Theodore Weld, Lewis Ledyard Weld, Mary Elizabeth Weld, and Alice Cogswell Weld.
Weld’s brother, Theodore Dwight Weld, was an early American abolitionist preacher who was married to Angelina Grimke, a well-known abolitionist and supporter of the women’s suffrage movement.
He passed away on December 30, 1853 and was buried at the Old North Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut. After his death, his two sons, Charles and Lewis, were killed during the Civil War. They are also buried at the Old North Cemetery.
Rev. William Wolcott Turner
The Third ASD Principal, 1853-1863
Teacher and Steward (1831-1853)
Rev. William Wolcott Turner was born on January 1, 1800, on the first day of the new century, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the son of Jabez Turner and Rebecca (Wolcott). He graduated from Yale College with honors in 1819. From 1821 to 1824, he took a full course of theology study under the tutelage of Dr. Hawes.
Later, he became a volunteer assistant at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, and eventually, was appointed as a steward and teacher of a college-bound class at the same time. In 1853, Rev. Turner became the asylum’s third principal and served in that position for ten years, retiring in 1863, due to poor health. As principal, he worked long and hard to further the education of the deaf.
Turner wrote a paper on the two leading causes of deafness, congenital deafness and accidental deafness caused by different ailments. He also authored a paper which cited satisfactory evidence of student successes at the Hartford school.
He married Lucinda Maria Peaslee of Wethersfield, Connecticut, on January 1, 1823; they had six children, three of whom died young; Maria Peaslee, Charles Peaslee, Maria, Mary Ann, and Helen Hunter. The name and dates of the sixth child is unknown,
The National Deaf-Mute College (now Gallaudet University) awarded Rev. Turner a honorary doctoral degree.
As deacon of the Hartford 1st Congregational Church, he often preached sermons and served the church for 59 years. He was a nature lover and knew much about birds, wildflowers, insects, and anything of nature.
Rev. William W. Turner died on July 11, 1887, at the age of 87, and was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, Connecticut. His wife of 64 years, Lucinda, died in 1889, and was buried next to her husband.
Rev. Collins Stone
The Fourth ASD Principal, 1863-1870
Rev. Collins Stone was born on September 7, 1812, at Guilford, Connecticut, the son of Timothy Stone and Eunice (Parmalee). At the age of 16, he enrolled at Yale College in 1828 and graduated in 1832. He studied theology under the tutelage of Rev. Dutton of Guilford, Connecticut, and was ordained as a minister.
In 1844, he went to Ohio and taught for 19 years at the Ohio Asylum for the Deaf until 1863, when he came to Hartford, Connecticut, to succeed Rev. William W. Turner’s position as principal. Rev. Stone did much to improve the quality of life at the Asylum by adding a building extension to enroll 150 pupils, a shop that later became a bindery as well as building a barn, shed, and outbuildings. He also erected facilities for bathing and gymnastic exercises. Besides adding sewers and a gas line, Collins also added a successful garden. In addition to his job as principal, he, too, was superintendent of Sunday School at the Hartford Center Church.
Rev. Collins Stone married Ellen Jane Gill of Guilford, on April 30, 1839; they had seven children; Edward Collins, Louisa, Catherine, George, Alice, Jennie, and Ellen.
On December 23, 1870, while taking a buggy drive with a friend, Rev. Strong, of Minnesota, Collins tried to cross the railroad track near Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house, but the horse, at first, balked at the whistle of the approaching train, but was forced to step further, and was hit by the train, leaving Rev. Stone dead and his friend severely injured. The horse, miraculously, escaped unhurt.
Brownstone monument at Spring Grove Cemetery, Hartford.
Edward Collins “Ned” Stone
The Fifth ASD Principal, 1870-1878
Edward Collins Stone was born on January 29, 1840, in Hartford, Connecticut, the oldest son of Rev. Collins Stone and Ellen Jane (Gill). He studied at the Williston Seminary in Northampton, Massachusetts, and later enrolled at Yale College, graduating in 1862.
His father, Rev. Collins Stone, had moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he taught at the Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Dumb for 19 years before returning to Hartford in 1863. Edward also taught at the same institution for two years, and upon his return to Hartford, he taught at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb for three years. Then, he transferred to the Wisconsin Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, where he taught for two years.
On July 26, 1869, Edward C. Stone married Mary Catherine Wells, and they had four children; Jane, Elizabeth, Henrietta, and Edward.
Upon the tragic death of his father, Rev. Collins Stone, Edward accepted and took over as Principal of the American Asylum in 1870. He held that position until his untimely death on December 21, 1878, at the age of 38 years, due to malignant erysipelas, a contagious skin disease. He left a widow and four young children, the youngest being six weeks old. His funeral was held at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church.
Edward Collins Stone was always interested in the welfare of the deaf and left a dying message while he was lucid – “I have always been among the deaf and dumb, and have always loved them, and have been glad to give my life to them. I loved them all.”
Brownstone monument at Spring Grove Cemetery, Hartford.
Dr. Job Williams
The Sixth ASD Principal, 1878-1913
Dr. Job Williams was born on March 1, 1842, in Pomfret, Connecticut, the son of Giles and Fanny Maria Gallup. When he was four years old, his parents moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, where he attended public schools.
He went to Yale College and graduated in 1864 with high honors. He also received a Master of Arts degree at Yale in 1867 and an honorary doctorate degree from Gallaudet College in 1889.
In 1866, Dr. Williams began his teaching career at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb (ASD). Upon the death of Edward Collins Stone, he became principal in 1878, continuing in that position for 35 years. He served at ASD for a total of 47 years before his death.
He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Yale. He was an active member of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church and served more than one term as a deacon during the pastorate of Rev. Joseph H. Twitchell, D.D.
Dr. Williams was married to Catherine Stone, the daughter of Rev. Collins Stone and sister of Edward Collins Stone, who were the principals of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb (ASD). They had four children.
He wrote A Brief History of the American Asylum, at Hartford, For the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, a pamphlet published in 1893 that included information about the origins of the school, the educational programs, and a comprehensive list of occupations of former students at the school.
He died on July 11, 1913, and is buried at the Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, Connecticut.
Frank Rowland Wheeler
The Seventh ASD Principal, 1913-1935
Frank R. Wheeler was born in Mystic, Connecticut, on November 4, 1875, the son of William E. Wheeler and Sarah (Stark) Wheeler. He graduated from Suffield Preparatory School for the Boys in 1892 and attended Brown University, graduating in 1897 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While at Brown, he was a talented football player and excelled in sports.
At Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University), he was a member of the Normal Department (now called Graduate School) in 1899 and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in 1900. He also excelled in football and baseball while at Gallaudet College.
On August 27, 1901, he and Helen M. Rudd were married in Groton, Connecticut. They had a daughter, Helen.
For a year, he was a teacher and boy’s supervisor at the Illinois School for the Deaf. From 1901 to 1906, he taught at the Minnesota School for the Deaf. When Rev. Job Williams’s weak health forced him to resign in 1913, Frank Wheeler was appointed as the seventh Principal of the American School for the Deaf, which he held until his death in 1935.
He encouraged practical vocational education and the use of visual materials (films and lantern slides) to enhance learning opportunities for deaf students. He also supported the combination of oral and sign language.
He was the first editor of “The New Era” newsletter (now “The American Era”) in 1914. When “The New Era” was founded, he urged the ASD alumni to establish a new organization called the “American School for the Deaf Alumni Association.”
The following excerpt came from “The Deaf Mute’s Journal,” July 1917, Number 28: “Dr. Edward M. Gallaudet, the sole surviving son of late Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, was brought to the grounds of the “Old Hartford” school for the Deaf in Mr. Wheeler’s automobile, accompanied by his hearing daughter, in July 1917, for the Centennial Celebration of the ASD. The members of the Gallaudet College Alumni Association surrounded Mr. Wheeler’s automobile. Miss Ethel Zell then stepped forward and handed to Dr. Gallaudet’s daughter a large cluster of Richmond roses, adding that it came from the Doctor’s boys and girls as a token of love and greeting. The Doctor gave a steady look at the gift, his face expressing clearly he appreciated it. In a few minutes, members went and shook hands with him.”
Among the students at ASD was Milford Luden, whose father was the owner of Luden’s cough drops company. He was well-liked by the staff and students and encouraged the boys to build a log cabin across the pond in 1928 or 1931, called the “Smoking Club,” with staff members’ help.
He presented an address titled “Growth of the American School for the Deaf.” at the American Instructors of the Deaf Convention on June 20, 1920. In addition to being involved in national conventions, he also wrote articles about the deaf in different periodicals.
After an appendicitis surgery, he died on January 16, 1935, of a bout of pneumonia and was buried in Elm Grove Cemetery, Mystic, Connecticut. His wife, Helen, died in 1962.
Frank Wheeler’s favorite automobile
Dr. Edmund Burke Boatner
The Eighth ASD Superintendent, 1935-1970
Dr. Edmund Burke Boatner was born in Bethlehem, Mississippi, on March 20, 1903, the son of Dr. Franklin P. Boatner and Mary Edward Wills.
He attended the University of Mississippi, earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He graduated from Gallaudet College in 1933 with a master’s degree and received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 1952 from Gallaudet College.
Dr. Boatner taught at the New York School for the Deaf (Fanwood) for two years. He became the eighth Superintendent of the American School for the Deaf on July 1, 1935.
He was married to Maxine Tull, and they had one daughter, Emma Barbara Boatner. They adopted a Deaf boy, Harold West, who graduated from ASD in 1966.
His wife, Dr. Maxine Tull Boatner, was the author of a “Voice of the Deaf – A Biography of Edward Miner Gallaudet” book in 1959 and was the editor of “A Dictionary of Idioms for the Deaf” in 1966.
He was the co-founder of Captioned Films for the Deaf, Inc. (CFD), established in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1950, with his friend and co-founder, Dr. Clarence O’ Connor, Superintendent of the Lexington School for the Deaf. CFD was originally a private film captioning company until federal legislation passed a bill authorizing the U.S. Office of Education to undertake the project. J. Pierre Rakow, supervising teacher of the vocational department at ASD and Mary Switzer, the Director of Vocational Rehabilitation Division played critical roles in making the production and circulation of captioned films possible.
Dr. Boatner died on March 8, 1983, in West Hartford, Connecticut, and is buried in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Dr. Benjamin Earl “Ben” Hoffmeyer
The Ninth ASD Superintendent/Executive Director, 1970-1981
Dr. Benjamin Earl Hoffmeyer was born in California, Callaway County, Missouri, on December 28, 1914, the son of Benjamin and Anna [Siebert] Hoffmeyer. He had two deaf brothers, Maurice Louis Hoffmeyer, and Claude B. Hoffmeyer, who became a teacher at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville, Kentucky, for 37 years and was also president of the Kentucky Association of the Deaf.
He learned sign language to communicate with his older deaf brothers on the family farm. After his brother, Maurice died of pneumonia at the age of seventeen, Ben decided on a career in teaching the deaf. He enrolled at Washington College in St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated in 1941. Then, he enrolled at the Central Institute for the Deaf, also in St. Louis, where he completed his deaf education training.
He married Vera Beamer on August 21, 1941, and they had three children: Dennis, Gay, and Sherry. During World War II, he served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, from December 7, 1942, to December 15, 1945. After the war, Ben taught shortly at the Missouri School for the Deaf and resigned when he received a fellowship for graduate studies at Gallaudet College. Then, he accepted a position at the South Carolina School for the Deaf, where he taught in the high school department.
After completing his studies at Gallaudet in 1947, he became a principal at the North Carolina School for the Deaf, where he remained for 23 years. When Dr. Edmund B. Boatner retired as the 8th Superintendent in 1970, Dr. Hoffmeyer was called to become the 9th Superintendent/Executive Director. During his tenure, he served as president of the Conference of Executives of American Schools for the Deaf from 1968-1970. He was also president of the Council on Education of the Deaf from 1970 to 1972.
He was a member of the Board of Fellows Advisory Board at Gallaudet College and the National Technology Institute of the Deaf in Rochester, New York. Dr. Hoffmeyer received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) in 1969.
One of his most important contributions to the deaf community was establishing and expanding the Visual Communication Center, which produced closed captioning (CC) on television programs and movies. While at the American School for the Deaf, he saw to the restoration of the Gallaudet Building and construction of the Clerc Dormitory for high school girls. Under his leadership, the school adopted the total communication philosophy which includes every possible way to communicate, such as signing, lip-reading, speech, and fingerspelling to meet the individual needs of each student.
During the last years of Dr. Hoffmeyer’s term, he was challenged by the new “Public Law 94-142”, known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.). This law enabled every disabled person the right to have a free and appropriate education, which also included deaf and hard-of-hearing children. It also allowed the parents to keep their deaf children in their homes via commuting daily. This law was faced with a great objection to whether it provided the least restrictive environment for deaf students who benefited from full language access at residential schools.
Upon Dr. Hoffmeyer’s retirement in 1981, he, and his wife Vera, settled in their beloved North Carolina, where he died in Morganton on September 2, 1995. He was buried next to Vera, who died in 1992, in Burke Memorial Park in Morganton.
Willmott Winfield McChord, Jr.
The Tenth ASD Executive Director, 1981-2001
Willmott Winfield McChord, Jr. was born in Kentucky on August 9, 1940, the son of deaf parents, Willmott Winfield McChord, Sr. and Bessie lona Varney. “Win,” as he was called, graduated from Holmes High School, Covington, Kentucky, in 1958.
He graduated from Transylvania College in Lexington, Kentucky in 1962, where he was a Phi Kappa Tau, an avid thespian. As a student, his film won the first prize at the International Symposium of Psychologists in Bonn, Germany.
In 1963, he earned his Master’s Degree at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and later, he pursued doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Virginia. His mother was a Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (VSDB) student and a classmate of several parents whose children were members of the VSDB classes of 1963, 1964, and 1965.
During his broad career, he had served as a classroom teacher (1963-66), and later as Principal (1967-1969), at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, Virginia. He was the nation’s youngest Principal of a school for the Deaf upon his appointment in 1966-67 at the West Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Romney.
He married Charlotte Lewis Bryant, and their daughter, Shannon, was born in 1968. His wife was a practicing attorney in Kentucky as Assistant Commonwealth Attorney for Boyle County and had a private practice in West Hartford, Connecticut, serving the deaf.
He returned to his home state in 1969 as Principal of the Kentucky School for the Deaf, where his Deaf parents graduated in 1935. In 1971, he became KSD’s superintendent, the youngest Superintendent in the U.S. of a center school for the Deaf. In 1981, after ten years in the front office of KSD, the McChords moved to Connecticut, where he served twenty years as Executive Director of the American School for the Deaf, the first school in his career where his parents had never been students, and he had no relatives on the staff or in the student body.
He also served as Interim President of the St. Mary’s School for the Deaf (2001-2003) in Buffalo, New York, and Superintendent of the Georgia School for the Deaf (2004-05) in Cave Spring, Georgia.
He was the first Masters’ Skills Certificate interpreter for the Deaf in America. He was the president of the Conference of Educational Administrators Serving the Deaf, a visiting professor at Huajhong Normal University in Wuhan, Mainland China, and president of the National Association of Private Special Education Centers.
He was a member of the Bicentennial Celebration Committee of the school for the Deaf in Paris, France, and he was a host of the 1997 Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.
Win had interpreted for one U.S. Vice President (Gore) and two U.S Presidents (Kennedy and Clinton). He was a KODA Advocate for the deaf community. He was generally recognized as one of the leaders of deaf education in the United States.
When Mr. McChord, Jr. left ASD in 2003, he was succeeded by Dr. Harvey J. Corson, the first deaf Executive Director in the school history. Dr. Corson was also the first deaf Superintendent of the Kentucky School for the Deaf.
He passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage on December 8, 2006, and was buried in Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky. His wife, Charlotte, passed away on January 3, 1999.
Dr. Harvey Jay Corson
The Eleventh ASD Executive Director, 2001-2006
Dr. Harvey Jay Corson was born on June 3, 1944, the oldest son of Arthur I. Corson and Ruth R. (Singerman) Corson. A Philadelphia native and a third-generation Deaf, he is a graduate of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD), where his parents, brother Mark, grandparents, uncle, great-aunts, and great-uncles graduated from.
At 15, Harvey graduated as Valedictorian of the Senior Class in 1959. Upon graduation, he entered Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) and earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Education of the Deaf in 1964. From 1964 to 1965, he went back to Gallaudet University for graduate work in Education of the Deaf. He completed his Teacher Internship at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) in Staunton, VA. He graduated with a master’s degree in Education of the Deaf in 1965. After graduation, he accepted an offer to teach in the Kendall School for the Deaf, a laboratory elementary and secondary school of the Graduate Department of Education at Gallaudet.
In 1966, he accepted a faculty appointment as an Instructor in the Mathematics Department to teach college preparatory students. In the following academic years, 1967-1970, he became Assistant Professor in the Tutorial Center, where he taught undergraduate students to assist them in meeting and completing mathematics requirements. In 1970, he participated in the Leadership Training Program in the Area of the Deaf at California State University, Northbridge, California (CSUN), where he earned his second master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision.
In the fall of 1970, he was at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio, studying for his doctorate in Special Education, majoring in Deaf Education with minors in Educational Administration and Educational Research, and graduated with Ed.D. Degree in the fall of 1973. While at the university, he was a part-time instructor in Sign Language classes and completed an Administrative Internship at the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) in Danville, KY.
Dr. Corson became the Principal of KSD in the fall of 1973. Then, he was Assistant Superintendent of this school from 1974 to 1977. He became the first deaf Superintendent of the Louisiana School for the Deaf (LSD) from 1977 to 1990.
During the Deaf President Now (DPN) movement, he was one of the three finalists (one of two deaf candidates vying to become the next and the first deaf) for President of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., in 1988. In 1990, Dr. Corson became the first deaf Provost and then Vice President of Pre-College Programs, serving as Senior Vice President and Professor of Education at Gallaudet University. He returned to the Kentucky School for the Deaf in 1994 as the first deaf superintendent in the school’s history from 1994 to 2001.
In 2001, Dr. Corson became the first deaf Executive Director of the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in the school’s history when Winfield McChord, Jr. announced his retirement. He retired in 2006, continuing his services in educational, community, and advocacy activities. He is still serving as an advisor to several organizations in Connecticut, including the ASD Alumni Association.
During 2016-2017, on an 18-month contract, he served as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf (PSAD).
Over the years, Dr. Corson has been active with the Deaf Community at the local, state, and national levels. He had served as a Board Member of the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf (PSAD); President of PSD Alumni Association (PSDAA); President of the Metro-Washington Association of the Deaf (MWAD); President of the KSD Foundation; Board Member of the Kentucky Home Fund; Chairman of the Louisiana Commission for the Deaf (LCD); Vice President & Board Member of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD); President of the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf (CAID); Board Member of the Conference of Educational Administrators Serving Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD); Secretary & Board Member of Gallaudet University Board of Trustees; President & Board Member of the PSD Board of Trustees; President & Board Member of the Connecticut Association of the Deaf (CAD); Board Chair of the National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD), Team Member of the Connecticut Coalition for Education of Children who are Deaf & Hard of Hearing; Co-Chair of Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights Initiative; Board Member of the Board of Trustees of the Rhode Island School for the Deaf (RISD); Board Member of the Connecticut Advocacy Network (CAN); Member of the CRID – CAD Task Force on Updating Interpreting Standards; Board Member of the CT State Board of Protection & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (appointed by Governor); Board Member of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Advisory Board of the CT State Department of Rehabilitation Services (appointed by Governor); and Member of the Task Force on Mental Health Services for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Individuals.
Through the years, he has addressed issues in Deaf Education and served as an advocate for Deaf Community. He has received honors and awards for his civic and community service. At present, he serves as Chair of the CAD Education & Legislative Committee; Board Chair of the National Theatre of the Deaf – Connecticut (NTD-CT); President of the Connecticut Retirement Community (CRC); and Board Member of the NCCC Advisory Board of Collegiate Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Deaf Studies, and Interpreter Training Programs.
Dr. Corson lives in Hartford, Connecticut, with his wife, Mary Ann DiCola, a native of New Castle, PA. She is a graduate of the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD) in Pittsburgh, PA, and Gallaudet University; she is also retired from teaching Home Economics at the Kentucky School for the Deaf and the Louisiana School for the Deaf.
Edward Frieland Peltier
The Twelveth ASD Executive Director, 2006-2014
Edward F. Peltier was born on December 26, 1945 and grew up in Massachusetts. He attended the University of Hartford on a sports scholarship for basketball and baseball. While in the U.S. Army, Ed served in Vietnam and returned home to pursue a master’s degree in Deaf Education at Western Maryland College. He continued his postgraduate work in administration and educational leadership at Eastern Kentucky University, Gallaudet University, and the University of Hartford.
Edward F. Peltier served as Executive Director of the American School for the Deaf (ASD) from 2006 to his retirement in July 2014. He served as CEO of the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from 2003 to 2006. Before that, Ed was Assistant Executive Director of ASD from 1982 to 2003. He has more than 40 years of experience in Deaf Education and has held positions as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and administrator. He has been a Board member of the Council of Educators and Administrators Serving the Deaf (CEASD) for two terms and Chair of the Residential Life Committee for eight years.
In June 2014, Ed Peltier received the Robert Davila Award, the highest honor conferred by CEASD. He has been involved with the Connecticut Coalition for the Deaf and has been an active proponent of the Child First Initiative and the Deaf Child Bill of Rights. He has served as co-chair of the Private Schools for the Deaf Coalition for ten years.
He is currently active on the Board of Communication Access Network in CT and is an Honorary Paul Harris Fellow. He coached a Deaf Special needs group of young adults in basketball and was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in the Scholar-Athlete category in 2013.
Ed Peltier enjoys gardening, reading American history and sports, and spending time with his family. He and his wife, Carol, a Deaf Education professional, reside in West Hartford, Connecticut. They have four grown children and six grandchildren.
In his honor, ASD named him the “Edward F. Peltier Invitational Deaf” in the yearly basketball tournament.
Jeffrey S. Bravin
The Thirteenth ASD Executive Director, 2014-Current
Jeffrey Scott Bravin was born in Long Island, New York, in 1969, the son of Philip W. and Judith A. Bravin. He attended the Lexington School for the Deaf, New York, and graduated from there in 1987. While a student, he was an assistant manager at McDonald’s fast-food chain from 1984 to 1987, which he considered the steppingstone of his future and successful career.
As he is called by many, Jeff started working at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 2000 as the Assistant Executive Director/Chief Operating Officer, Director of Special Projects, and Assistant Director of Institutional Advancement. In 2014, he became the Executive Director, tasked with carrying out the school’s vision, mission, and strategic goals. He oversaw the construction of the new state-of-the-art educational facility, completed in 2013, which replaced the old Gallaudet Building. Jeff was also responsible for establishing the Rockwell Visual Communication Center (VCC).
Before joining ASD, Jeff was employed at the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York as a High School Social Studies Teacher, Deaf Resource Center Specialist, and Associate Director of Development and External Affairs. He earned his B.A. Degree in Government from Gallaudet University, M.S. Degree in Deaf Education from McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College), and M.S. Degree in School Administration and Supervision from Queens College.
Jeffrey Bravin is an enthusiastic and forward-thinking leader who capitalizes on new opportunities to propel the Deaf Community forward. He consistently educates Connecticut’s leadership about issues affecting the State’s deaf and hard of hearing citizens and advocates for programs, services, and legislation to resolve them. He currently serves on the State of Connecticut Advisory Board for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and holds several organizational Board positions, including the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD); the American Society of Deaf Children; the Coalition of Private Schools for Deaf Children (COPSDC); and the Connecticut Council on Organizations Serving the Deaf (CCOSD).
Jeff has formerly served on the Board of Directors for the National Theatre of the Deaf and held roles in several off-Broadway productions. He also starred alongside Bernard Bragg in the ground-breaking 1970 TV CBS movie, “And Your Name is Jonah.” Jeff welcomes opportunities to collaborate with other organizations and schools for the deaf, and he presents nationally and internationally on issues related to the field of Deaf Education. Jeff and his wife Naomi have one son, Ethan, and two daughters, Hayley and Elana Rose.