October 29, 2018

Two Esteemed RSD Leaders Honored with Distinguished Founder’s Awards
Retired Teachers and School Administrators Susan C. Searls and Harold Mowl, Jr., Receive RSD’s Annual Perkins and Lyon Founder’s Awards for 2018

Rochester, NY – At the annual Adventures in Education Program Underwriter’s ‘Thank You’ Reception, held Wednesday evening, October 24, 2018, in the Abraham Lincoln Park Waterfront Lodge, on Irondequoit Bay, in Webster, NY, two retired Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) administrators and former teachers received the school’s prestigious Perkins and Lyon Founder’s Awards.

The recipient of the Perkins Founder’s Award for 2018 is Mrs. Susan C. Searls, of Rochester. Mrs. Searls retired earlier this year as Director of Early Childhood Programs after serving more than 25 years in various other roles at RSD.

The Perkins Founder’s Award recognizes an individual who has provided outstanding service to RSD as a benefactor, volunteer, Board member, or community leader. The award is given 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.

As Director of RSD’s Early Childhood Programs until her retirement in June 2018, Susan has been responsible for the steady growth of these important programs and their many improvements, including the creation of the Early Childhood Center (ECC) Book Room, Playroom, and the unique Natural Playground and Outdoor Classroom.

Prior to her ECC work, Susan had a hand in just about every aspect of RSD life. She served as Coordinator of Family and Sign Language/Deaf Studies Programs, and Director of Instructional Support and Professional Development. For many years she was known as the friendly and resourceful staff member who made sure that RSD students had access through the Learning Resource Center (LRC) to whatever books, videos and online tools that would help them succeed academically.

Susan has made many contributions to RSD student’s success over her 25-year tenure at the school. She is credited with:
- Developing school-wide Deaf Studies curriculum kits for grades K -12,
- Establishing the annual Deaf Studies Fair,
- Bringing numerous Deaf artists and other Deaf role models to RSD,
- Founding the RSD Building Bridges newsletter publication,
- Leading three Travel Abroad Program trips to Europe and one SEEDS Program trip to Japan,
- Co-chairing the 2017 National ASL/English Bilingual Early Childhood Education Summit held at RSD, and
- Serving as the Gallaudet University East Regional Academic Bowl Volunteer Coordinator.

Last Spring, Susan received a 2018 Special Recognition Award from the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf.

The recipient of the 2018 Lyon Founder’s Award is Harold Mowl, Jr., Ph.D., of Pittsford, NY, the 6th Superintendent and CEO of RSD.

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 who played a key role in establishing RSD as a premier school for the Deaf.

Dr. Mowl’s commitment to Deaf education spans nearly five decades. He retired three years ago after serving 25 years as RSD’s Superintendent and CEO, the first deaf Superintendent in RSD’s history, and the person responsible for skillfully guiding RSD through somewhat turbulent New York State budget struggles on several occasions.

During his tenure, Dr. Mowl fulfilled his vision for a modernized RSD campus through a number of large renovation projects and high-tech classrooms that provide RSD students with every opportunity to succeed. His lasting influence on the RSD community can be easily seen from a quick stroll on RSD’s beautiful campus or, more importantly, by talking with any of the many RSD graduates whose success was influenced by his leadership, or whose horizons were broadened through the RSD Travel Abroad Program made possible in part by the special fund he and his wife Mary established in memory of their son Corporal Kevin Mowl.

Dr. Mowl’s impact on Deaf education extends far beyond the walls of RSD. He served as Administrative Principal and in other roles at Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD) for 22 years, worked several years as an instructor at two colleges, and a served a “post-retirement” year as Interim Superintendent at New York School for the Deaf—Fanwood.

He also has devoted a great amount of time as a volunteer in support of Deaf education, including his time spent as:
- Chairman of the NYS 4201 Schools Association,
- Board President of Discovering Deaf Worlds,
- Chairperson of the NTID National Advisory Group,
- WPSD Board Member,
- Chair of the Advisory Council for the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (in PA),
- Chairperson of the National Association of the Deaf Education Committee,
- Member of the Committee for the Constitutional Convention of Education of the Deaf (PA Dept. of Ed), and
- President of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf.





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