June 22, 2018

RSD Superintendent Appoints Teacher Karen Windhorn to be Director of Early Childhood Programs

Webster, NY, native to lead Deaf Infant and Pre-Kindergarten Programs at RSD starting August 1, 2018

ROCHESTER, NY – Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) Superintendent Antony A. L. McLetchie recently announced to the RSD Board of Directors and school staff his appointment of current Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Karen Windhorn, of Webster, NY, as Director of Early Childhood Programs. Windhorn’s appointment is effective August 1, 2018. The school has opened a search process to replace Windhorn’s teaching position in the Family Instructional Resource Service Team (F.I.R.S.T.) Program, serving families with Deaf and hard of hearing children, newborn to age 3. 

Windhorn’s directorship follows that of Susan C. Searls, of Pittsford, who will retire from RSD as Director of Early Childhood Programs, June 22, 2018. Searls long tenure of teaching and leadership with RSD spans 25 years.

Windhorn joined RSD in August 2015 as a Teacher of the Deaf. She fostered strong home to school connections in a language-rich, bilingual, ASL and English, teaching and learning environment. She taught in the homes of students’ families and in her classroom at RSD following Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs) and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) she created. Windhorn also attended meetings with RSD families and Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) staff from Monroe County and school districts. As an RSD Director, she will continue to serve as a member LEICC Taskforce for Deaf and hard of hearing children through Monroe County.

Windhorn earned her Bachelor of Science degree in American Sign Language (ASL)/English Interpreting at Northeastern University, in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2006 and her Masters in Deaf Education at McDaniel College, in Westminster, Maryland, in 2008. From August of that year until she joined RSD in 2015, Windhorn was a Teacher of the Deaf at The Learning Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, for Deaf and hard of hearing children ages 3 to 5. She completed her student teaching and practicum at Maryland School for the Deaf, in Columbia, MD, where she also worked as a substitute Teacher’s Assistant.

In 2017, Windhorn completed work on her Post Graduate Certificate in ASL and English Bilingual Early Childhood Education: Birth to Age 5, at Gallaudet University, in Washington, DC. She has made numerous presentations at local and national conferences, including the National American Sign Language/English Bilingual Early Education Summits in both Kansas (2014) and New York (2017), the American Society for Deaf Children conference in Massachusetts (2014), and at the Monroe County Service Coordinator Training session (2016).

Originally from Webster, NY, Windhorn relocated back to her hometown in 2015 to be closer to her family. Both of her parents are were teachers in Webster. She is married to Billy Windhorn and the couple has two young boys.

When asked about her goals as the new Director of Early Childhood Programs at RSD, Windhorn said: “What makes RSD thrive is its ties to the community and the community it offers to families and Deaf students here in the Rochester area.

“As the Director of the Early Childhood Programs I want to continue these strong ties to the community. I want children to enter our program and parents and staff to have high expectations for their children.

“In our child-centered, play-based environment, children will have abundant opportunities to grow and develop in all areas with highly-qualified staff.

“Our department within RSD will have access to the latest research in Early Childhood Education for bilingual Deaf students.

“Like our most recent natural playground project, we want an environment where students can develop critical thinking skills and be prepared to be successful later in life.”




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