Prestigious Founder’s Awards Recognize Exceptional Service & Contributions to RSD and to Deaf Education 10/24/17

NTID President Gerry Buckley and Retired K-12 Principal Nancy Perry honored with the 2017 Perkins and Lyon Founder’s Awards

A time-honored tradition of the 25th Anniversary Adventures in Education Program Underwriters Reception, held Wednesday, October 18, 2017, in the historic Perkins Mansion on East Avenue in downtown Rochester, was the annual presentation of the Perkins and Lyon Founder’s Awards for Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD).

This year’s recipient of the RSD Perkins Founder’s Award is Gerry Buckley, president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and vice-president and dean of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

The Perkins Founder’s Award recognizes an individual who has provided outstanding service to RSD as a benefactor, volunteer, Board member, or community leader. This award is given annually in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Gilman H. Perkins, whose loving concern for their deaf daughter Carolyn, led to the formal establishment of RSD in 1876.

Buckley, of Macedon, NY, Wayne County, has been supportive of RSD since the early 1970’s when he volunteered his time as an RIT/NTID student in the Rev. Father Thomas Erdle’s Religious Education Program classes for RSD students.

As president of NTID since 2011 and an RIT faculty member since 1990, Buckley’s partnership with RSD goes beyond professional obligations and affiliations as an educational leader, and he personally is committed to student success, hosting an annual dinner at NTID for RSD seniors to encourage them as they contemplate their approaching college careers or entry into the world of work.

Through NTID, Buckley also involves RSD students in various enrichment programs each year, including a Math Competition for middle school students, the Tech Boyz and Tech Girlz programs for high school students, and the Explore Your Future Camp for 10th and 11th graders who participate in a series of career exploration and self-awareness activities for an entire week during in the summer.

Additionally, students in NTID’s Master of Science program in Secondary Education, or MSSE, tutor RSD students every Tuesday after school. Many MSSE graduate program students also complete their student-teaching experience in RSD classrooms.

Also, real-time captioning and audio-visual services for the annual RSD Adventures in Education Thursday evening ‘Main Event’ presentation are generously provided to RSD compliments of NTID. Lastly, both Buckley and his wife Judy, who have been involved as benefactors with RSD since the early 1990’s, participate in RSD events and donate generously to RSD fundraising efforts. They are not strangers to the RSD campus and have touched countless RSD families in both silent and significant ways.

This year’s recipient of the Lyon Founder’s Award is retired RSD K-12 principal Nancy Perry, of Webster, NY.

The Lyon Founder’s Award honors individuals for their professional contributions to the education of students who are Deaf and hard of hearing. The award is given in honor of Mr. Edmund Lyon, a friend of the Perkins family, who played a key role in establishing RSD as a premier center for education of Deaf and hard of hearing children, young adults, and their families.

Perry’s commitment to Deaf Education spans nearly four decades. Her career began as a speech therapist at RSD upon her graduation from Nazareth College in 1979. She earned her Master’s in Speech Therapy while serving as a therapist and joined the RSD administration as supervisor of the Speech Department in 1998. During this time, she also earned her School Administrator Certification from the State University of New York College at Brockport. In 2002 she became the director of curriculum & development, a position that later evolved into director of the high school and speech programs. During her final three years at RSD Nancy served as the K-12 principal.

Throughout her RSD tenure, Perry’s focus has always been on meeting the individual needs of students and she never wavered from that focus. She accomplished this by developing programming for special needs students and helping them to become successful after graduation. She worked with school districts and developed initiatives at RSD to help students pass their Regents exams.

Perry was a hands-on leader at RSD, acting as chaperone during several of the high school Travel Abroad Program trips to Europe and bringing students to Albany annually to meet with elected officials on 4201 Schools Association Advocacy Day. She was also at her best when counseling distraught or disruptive students in a firm but compassionate way.

One of Perry’s proudest achievements was helping to establish programming for American Sign Language (ASL) instruction, including the development of curriculum and learning standards. She was very supportive of her teachers, helping them more effectively teach English and Math, and helping them build bridges between ASL and English.

Many of Perry’s lasting contributions to RSD can be seen in the very effective program she helped establish to foster positive behaviors in students at all grade levels, and increasing the level of ASL communication within the school through TV monitors in the hallways and library that show announcements, videos, and students’ work, all in ASL.



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