Meet The Team

The Nine East Network Team

Nine East Network’s dedicated staff provide a range of services to meet the needs of our community. Please click on the button to find appropriate team members or scroll through the page to see our entire team.

Headquarters Staff

Susan Kimmerly

Founder & Director

Susan Kimmerly has dedicated her life to serving Vermont’s special needs children.
After founding Nine East Network in 2003 (formerly known as Vermont Consultants for Language and Learning), Susan served as its director, then went on to found and direct The New School of Montpelier in 2005.

 

A licensed Speech and Language Pathologist since 1982, Susan was the supervisor and manager of statewide programs for children at the Agency of Education and the Department of Children and Families (formerly SRS). She is also a licensed School Administrator.

 

She has worked with students of all ages and abilities in a range of private schools, public schools, and residential care settings. She has also taught at the college level at the University of Vermont, Johnson State College, Union Institute & University, and Lyndon State College.

Ileene Therrien

Administrative Coordinator

Ileene Therrien has been working in office administration for over 20 years. She has a diverse background, including office support in the construction industry and in the medical field. Most recently, she became a Certified Medical Coder, which is a great asset to Nine East Network’s Parent Infant Program.

 

Ileene has years of experience working for an audiologist and for an internal medicine office, which helps her better serve the Deaf and hard of hearing community every day.

 

With her administrative expertise and go-to attitude, Ileene confidently navigates the medical billing world for Nine East Network, as well as any questions, projects, or tasks that come her way. When she isn’t coordinating the goings-on at NEN Headquarters in Montpelier, Ileene enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and spoiling her cats.

 

“I am happy to be working with such a great group of dedicated educators and professionals serving Vermont’s kids.  Please let me know me if you have any questions about our services, or would like to make a referral.”

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consultants

Nine East Network’s team of professionals work in all corners of the state as Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consultants and Parent Advisors.  Individual contact information and the school districts each consultant serves are listed below.

 

If you have a new inquiry or referral for a child of any age, please contact Ileene Therrien, Administrative Coordinator, at (802) 229-0100 or [email protected] Click here to view our Rate Sheet for our School-Based Consultant Services.

Jen Bostwick

DHH Consultant
Community Outreach Coordinator

Jen Bostwick has been working with children with hearing loss and their families for 20 years.  She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a Master’s of Education in Special Education (Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing) from Lewis and Clark College.  Jen gained experience providing sign support, speech, language, and auditory training and direct instruction at Georgia Elementary School from 1995 to 1998.  After that, she worked as a teacher for the Vermont Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Williston Regional Program and later became coordinator for that program.  In 2010, Jen became a Consultant for the VCDHH.

 

Jen has been an asset to Nine East Network since joining the team in 2014.  With her strong signing abilities and interpersonal skills, Jen was appointed Nine East Network’s Community Outreach Coordinator in 2015.  She continues to serve as a Consultant and Parent Advisor in Chittenden County.

 

“I love this job because of the diverse population I am able to work with — students who are fluent signers, students with cochlear implants, hard of hearing youth, and young adults.  Also I enjoy constantly being able to learn and share new information in the field.”

 

Serving:

  • Franklin Central
  • Winooski

Melissa Clark

DHH Consultant

Melissa Clark is a new member of Nine East Network’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.   Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Kent State University in 2010, and she received her Doctor of Audiology degree from Syracuse University in 2015.  Melissa holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology from ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association), and she is a member of the Educational Audiology Association.

 

Melissa held a one year position at Syracuse University’s Gebbie Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic repairing hearing aids, and she worked as an Educational Audiology Intern at the Center for Instruction, Technology, and Innovation in Mexico, NY during the 2014-2015 school year.  There, she gained experience managing and monitoring a diverse caseload of students in a variety of educational settings.  In the past, Melissa took time to volunteer at the Special Olympics Hearing Program, and she participated with Oswego County’s Deaf/Hard of Hearing Club during her internship. She joined the team of DHH consultants in August of 2016 and will be serving the students in Rutland County.

 

“I am passionate about providing hearing related services in a school setting, and I am extremely enthusiastic about joining Nine East Network’s team of professionals.  I am grateful for the opportunity to broaden my knowledge in the field and am eager to use and share the skills I have acquired. Activities I enjoy outside of work include hiking, sewing, and taking Middle Eastern dance classes.”

 

Serving:

  • Bennington-Rutland
  • Addison-Rutland
  • Otter Valley Unified
  • Rutland Central
  • Rutland City
  • Rutland South
  • Rutland Southwest

Meg Denton

Parent Advisor

Meg Denton joined the team at Nine East Network in 2016. Meg has worked at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf as an occupational therapist for the last 20 years. As the population of babies with deafness who had additional challenges increased in Rhode Island, Meg began her work in the Parent Infant Program at the School for the Deaf and served families and their babies for 3 years. Previously, Meg worked in Early Intervention services in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. Meg has experience with babies who are medically fragile and worked as an occupational therapist in the NICU and PICU in California for several years.

 

Meg graduated from University of Wisconsin, Madison with a BS in occupational therapy in 1980 and graduated in 2010 from Simmons College in Boston with a master’s degree in special education/assistive technology.

 

“My goal is to look at the whole child and family and see where families need support in order to give their child full access to optimal play and daily living opportunities. Language learning is key to having Deaf and Hard of Hearing children navigate and negotiate their lives.  I love supporting families in their natural environments.”

Tracy Hinck

DHH Consultant

Tracy Hinck is a newer member of the Nine East Network team, joining us in October of 2015. She brings a wealth of experience as both an Educational Audiologist and a Speech Language Pathologist. After receiving her B.A. in Communication Disorders from University of Vermont, she worked for three years in Randolph, Vermont as a Speech Therapist. This work inspired her to move to California, where she first earned a M.S. in Communication Disorders – Audiology from San Francisco State University, and later an M.S. in Communication Disorders – Speech Language Pathology.

 

Tracy has been working with deaf and hard of hearing kids as an educational audiologist since 1993. She also gained experience in clinical practice with adults and children, dispensing hearing aids and hearing assistance technology, and spent several years working in the NICU as a relief audiologist. She has served as a mentor for new SLP’s starting therapy with patients post cochlear implant activation. With her wide-ranging experience working collaboratively, and extensive knowledge in auditory rehabilitation and current best practices, she is a welcomed addition to Nine East Network’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.

 

“It is vital for all human beings to have full access to language and communication. For the last 20 years, I have enjoyed working with children, their families, and educational teams to understand the unique communication needs of individuals with hearing loss. I also have a passion for animal welfare, enjoying volunteer work with a 501(c)(3) non profit Labrador retriever rescue (CCLRR).”

 

Serving:

  • Blue Mountain
  • Hartford
  • Thetford Academy
  • Orange North
  • Orange Southwest
  • Rivendell Interstate
  • School Admin Unit #70 (SAU)
  • White River Valley
  • Windsor Central
  • Windsor Northwest

Pam Hoover

DHH Program Supervisor
DHH Consultant

Pam Hoover has been a Teacher of the Deaf and Consultant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in Vermont since 2000. Before that, Pam was a Speech and Hearing Science major at Washington University and received a Masters in Science in Speech and Hearing Science/Deaf Education from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1994. She worked with a wide range of deaf and hard of hearing students in different classroom settings prior to joining the team at the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

 

In 2015, Pam became one of two Program Supervisors for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Nine East Network. With over twenty years of experience, depth of knowledge, and a true passion for working with deaf and hard of hearing children, Pam is a great contribution to the mission of Nine East Network.

 

“I love being able to help students, families and school staff understand hearing loss in order to better advocate and accommodate for what a child needs to be successful.”

 

Serving:

  • Chittenden Central – Westford Elementary
  • Franklin Northeast
  • Franklin Northwest
  • Franklin West

Terry Keegan

DHH Consultant

Terry has been an important part of the Vermont Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program since she first became the Parent Infant Program Coordinator in 1993. After 10 years in that role, she served as Program Coordinator of Family and Consulting Services at the Vermont Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing until the Center closed in 2014. Terry joined Nine East Network as the Transition Coordinator for the Vermont Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program for the 2014-2015 school year. She began working as a Consultant, serving the southeastern region, for the 2015-2016 school year.

 

Terry’s unique background as a Speech Pathologist, as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Vermont, and as Program Coordinator at the VCDHH serve her well in her new role. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences from Hunter College, an MS in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Ithaca College, and a M.Ed. in School Counseling from Keene State College.

 

“It has been interesting and challenging to take on a consultant role after 20 years of being the program coordinator.  The work is varied and multidimensional, and no day is ever the same.  I enjoy the personal connection to students and staff members that this new role allows.  When I’m not working, I find whatever reason I can to be outdoors-running, hiking, snowshoeing, and I also love to cook at home.”

 

Serving:

  • Springfield
  • Two Rivers
  • Windham Central
  • Windham Northeast
  • Windham Southeast
  • Windham Southwest
  • Windsor Southeast

Patrice McDonough

DHH Consultant

Parent Advisor

Patrice McDonough joined the Nine East Network Team in August of this year. Patrice is a passionate Teacher of the Deaf providing direct services to Deaf and hard of hearing students in the Northeast Kingdom, and working as a parent advisor in the PIP program. Patrice earned her B.S. degrees in Early Childhood Education and Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin – Stout, and then went on to earn her M.A. degree in Deafness Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University’s Deafness Research and Training Center. In 1993, Patrice was honored as New Hampshire’s Christa McAuliffe Fellow, which was a sabbatical year of traveling internationally to “model” schools with her family.

 

With over forty years in the field of education, Patrice has come to highly value ideas, questioning and cultural exchange. She has an insatiable curiosity and loves connecting seemingly unrelated things. Residing in Peacham, Vermont with her partner, she has two adult children (both educators at independent schools) and three grandchildren.

 

“I am most enthusiastic about serving Deaf and hard of hearing learners and their families in the NEK, while joining a Professional Learning Community of colleagues committed to serving the individual needs of Vermont’s Deaf and hard of hearing children.  I love empowering students to be self advocates of their own possibilities.”

 

Monica Menard

DHH Consultant

Speech-Language Pathologist

Monica Menard is one of the newest members of the Nine East Network team. Monica earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education from Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont. She received her Masters Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

 

Monica has worked in the area of education for the past 26 years in various roles including teacher, consultant, mentor, paraprofessional, secretary, parent and volunteer. As a classroom teacher for 16 years, she was inspired to further her education in the area of Speech and Language when she was certified as a Reading Recovery Teacher and began providing direct instruction to children at risk.

 

Monica was the Speech Language Pathologist in the Orleans Central Supervisory Union for six years. She enjoyed working with and advocating for students and families with diverse needs. Monica has been involved in creating and implementing a program in the Northeast Kingdom for students with Autism. In collaboration with Northeast Kingdom Mental Health and Orleans Central Supervisory Union (OCSU); the Center For Exceptional Children (CEC) was developed to address language learning, social and emotional development for students with Autism and/or significant communication needs an environment in which to grow, develop and explore their individual strengths. She has been an active member of the Vermont Speech Hearing Association (VSHA) for the past four years and is currently serving as President Elect.

 

“As a new consultant, I have been given the great privilege of working with deaf and hard of hearing children in the Northeast Region. I will work diligently to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing children are being provided with optimal learning experiences so they can reach their optimal potential. I am excited about being part of the amazing team at Nine East Network. I look forward to learning and growing in this new role.”

 

Serving:

  • Caledonia North
  • Lyndon Institute
  • Essex North
  • North Country
  • Orleans County

Cathy Metz

DHH Consultant

Cathy Metz has been serving deaf and hard of hearing youth for over 30 years. She started in the field as a Teacher of the Deaf at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs, and then at the R.E.A.D.S. Collaborative Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in southeastern Massachusetts. When she first moved to Vermont, she worked as a Speech and Language therapist for the Washington West SU schools, Moretown, Duxbury and Harwood for two years. In 1987, she became a Central Vermont Regional Consultant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program administered by the Barre Town School, where she worked for 12 years. From 1999 to 2014, Cathy continued to serve as a Consultant in central Vermont under the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Cathy joined the team at Nine East Network in 2014.

 

Cathy began her education at Mills College in Oakland, CA where she was a Music Major in Violin Performance. She then went on to receive her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology from California State University-Hayward, and her Master’s degree in Education/Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from San Francisco State University.

 

“My passion is watching children grow and learn.  As a Consultant, I support children who are Deaf or hard of hearing to achieve their full potential, by ensuring they have auditory, academic, linguistic, and social access in their educational environments.  When I’m not consulting in the schools, I play the violin for serious fun in the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra and in several string quartets in Vermont and out of state.”

 

Serving:

  • Barre
  • Chittenden Central
  • Essex Town
  • Montpelier

Hope Moulton

DHH Program Supervisor
DHH Consultant

Hope Moulton has served as a Consultant and Parent Advisor for the Vermont Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program since 2003. After earning honors as an undergraduate student at Norwich University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Elementary Education, Hope went on to graduate magna cum laude from Smith College with a Master’s in Education of the Deaf. She worked as a Teacher of the Deaf at the Stafford School, adapting curriculum and providing direct lessons for a deaf child. Since then, Hope has been serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in the Northeast Kingdom and central Vermont area.

 

After joining Nine East Network in 2014, Hope became one of two Program Supervisors for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in 2015. She brings strong leadership, clear communication, and a passion for teaching to all of her work.

 

“I love working with children of all ages, which is one of the main reasons I became a teacher.  I also enjoy learning about new equipment and troubleshooting any issues that may arise in the classrooms. In my free time I like to read, watch movies and spend time with my family.”

 

Serving:

  • Caledonia Central
  • St. Johnsbury Academy
  • Orange East
  • Orleans Southwest
  • St. Johnsbury
  • Washington South

Margaret Overman

DHH Consultant

Margaret Overman joined the Nine East Network as a Consultant in 2016.  She completed her undergraduate training in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Indiana University and went on to obtain a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree at Syracuse University.

 

Margaret has worn many hats as an audiologist; before joining the Nine East Network, she managed a newborn hearing screening program for a hospital in Colorado, served as a clinical faculty member at Indiana University, worked with veterans and severely injured active duty service members, served as an SLP-A for Burlington High School, and as an Adjunct Professor and Academic Coach at Champlain College where she helped students make the transition to college.

 

“I’m thrilled to join the Nine East Network team of Consultants. I love partnering with students and their support teams to creatively outgrow challenges in order to thrive in the academic setting. When away from the school setting, you’ll likely find me in the yoga studio or exploring Vermont’s outdoors by hiking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, or camping with my husband and two boys.”

 

Serving:

  • Burlington
  • Colchester
  • Grand Isle
  • Milton Town
  • Mt. Mansfield Modified Union
  • South Burlington

Maureen Pearl

DHH Consultant
Parent Advisor

Maureen Pearl has been serving deaf and hard of hearing children and their families in the southwestern region of Vermont for over 25 years. She worked as Parent Advisor in the Vermont Parent Infant Program since its inception. She has also been working as a Consultant to school age children who are deaf and hard of hearing since 1999. Over the years, she has collaborated with statewide colleagues to develop programs to benefit Vermont’s deaf and hard of hearing children, such as Adventure Day and Sign Support Program classes.

 

Maureen received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, and then earned her MA in Deaf Education from New York University’s School of Education, Health, and Nursing Art Professions. She holds a Level II Vermont Professional Educator’s License in Elementary Education (K-6) and Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

 

“Our students are my inspiration, and they are just so much fun!  While I enjoy the varied aspects of our work, I most enjoy working with our families in the Parent Infant Program, and with language development at all ages. When I’m not working, I love spending time with my husband and family, and trying to please the cats who own us.”

 

Serving:

  • Addison Northeast

Kira Stewart

DHH Consultant

Kira Stewart joined the Nine East Network team of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consultants in 2015. Kira received her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She then attended Boston University, where she received a Master of Education degree in Education of the Deaf.

 

Kira has experience working in a bilingual classroom (American Sign Language and English) as a Teaching Assistant at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts. In Vermont, she has worked in the Burlington community as the Outreach Literacy Coordinator for the Fletcher Free Library. More recently, she served the Mount Abraham Union Middle/High School in Bristol, as Administrative Liaison, where her focus was on meeting with students to process PBIS discipline referrals, supporting positive student behavior, building resiliency, and reinforcing behavioral interventions.

 

“I am excited to be getting to know, and working with, a diverse group of students and their educational teams. I enjoy the daily collaboration, variety of responsibilities, and challenges of my work. I am thrilled to be working with supportive colleagues with the goal of improving services for our deaf and hard of hearing students. I love helping develop plans for students with such a wide variety of strengths and challenges. When I’m not working, I enjoy running, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, traveling, and playing with my sweet and goofy Old English Sheepdog!”

 

Serving:

  • Addison Central
  • Addison Northwest
  • Chittenden South

Camilla Strauss

DHH Consultant
Parent Advisor
Parent Infant Program Coordinator

Camilla Strauss has been working with deaf and hard of hearing students and their families for more than 30 years.  She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education: Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Illinois State University.  She started out as a Teacher of the Deaf in Massachusetts at the R.E.A.D.S. Collaborative and The Learning Center for Deaf Children. Camilla then worked in Vermont’s public schools for six years, as an educational interpreter/tutor and an elementary school teacher.

 

In 1994, Camilla began serving the Vermont Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program as a Consultant and Parent Advisor.  She served the Northeast and Central Vermont regions for 20 years before joining the team at Nine East Network in 2014.  In light of her decades of experience, knowledge, and commitment, Camilla became Nine East Network’s Parent Infant Program Coordinator in 2015.  She also continues to serve as a Consultant and Parent Advisor.

 

“The passion that fuels my desire to work with deaf and hard of hearing children is my belief that all children deserve full access to language and communication.  I love working with people – adults and children alike.  I feel especially privileged that I get to work with babies and their families.  My personal interests include acting, physical fitness, meditation, learning new things, cooking and enjoying food with friends and family.”

 

Serving:

  • Lamoille North
  • Lamoille South
  • Washington Central
  • Washington West

Tami Trowell

Parent Advisor

Tami has almost 30 years experience working with families and children with hearing loss.  She has an adult son who is deaf, providing her with a parental perspective and compassion for the work she does as a Parent Advisor for the Parent Infant Program.  Tami graduated from California State University, Hayward after studying elementary education, then went on to be certified by the Utah Sate University SKI HI Institute’s Home Based Early Intervention Program for children with hearing loss. Tami also has extensive training, education and experience working with children with dual sensory impairment or deaf blindness.

 

As the field of deaf education began to shift after the tremendous advances in technology for hearing loss, Tami went back to school to attend the Professional Preparation in Cochlear Implants Program at Smith College.  Tami joined Nine East Network as a Parent Advisor in the fall of 2015.

 

“I cherish the opportunity to work with families and children with hearing loss. Although I have formal training, parents and their children have been my most influential teachers. When I’m not doing the work that I love as a Parent Advisor, I live on an off-grid homestead with my husband in southern Vermont raising dairy goats and a flock of sheep.”

Speech-Language Staff

Lisa Durstin

M.S., CCC-SLP

After more than 20 years in journalism and marketing, Lisa joined the profession of speech-language pathology in 2003 and earned her master’s degree in communication sciences from the University of Vermont in 2006. Her practice has reached children of all ages in the school environment, as well as adults in home health. She also focuses on teletherapy.

 

Currently, Lisa has a particular interest in how working memory and processing speed affect language learning. She practices in the Northeast Kingdom (Caledonia North), Thetford, and Bennington, Vermont.

 

“I love that my career in speech-language pathology allows me to use the right side of my brain on a daily basis, and that every day is different. No two students are ever the same, demanding that I always be creative and flexible and that I make the best of teachable moments. I feel strongly that no one of us works in a vacuum and that the best support for any student comes in the form of the interdisciplinary team. When not practicing speech pathology, I’m practicing bikram yoga, making jewelry, or spoiling my dogs.”

Nichole Ruggles

SLPA

Nichole graduated from UVM in 1996, with a BA in Communication Sciences. While studying at UVM, she also engaged in Montessori training and interned at The Westwind Montessori School in Charlotte, VT. In 1998, she moved to the Northeast Kingdom, where she opened Kingdom Montessori School. After more than 15 years as Director of the school, Nichole helped transition the program to the local K-8, Thaddeus Stevens School. She’s delighted to find herself working in the field of speech and language, her first passion.

 

Nichole works with the preschool population in the Caledonia North Supervisory Union.

 

“I was so pleased to find my second career right here in my favorite place, The Northeast Kingdom! In addition to working with children, I love gardening, x-country skiing and spending time with my horse and dogs.”

Jennifer Westebbe

SLPA

Jennifer graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maine in 2014 with a BA in Communication Science and Disorders. During her time at the university, she completed three minors in psychology, childhood development and family relations, and disability studies. After graduating, Jennifer moved back to her hometown of Rutland, Vermont. For the first summer as a college graduate, she worked as a nanny for a local family. By the time fall rolled around, she started her professional career as a special education para educator. During her two years as a para, Jennifer had the privilege of working one-on-one with two preschool age children on the autism spectrum. When the preschool was not in session, Jennifer was able to work as a school wide substitute, behavioral support personal, or provide assistance for Special Educators and Speech and Language Pathologists.

 

As a new addition to the Nine East Network, Jennifer is able to expand upon her background knowledge of speech and language disorders and gain specific experience in the field. Currently, Jennifer provides speech and language therapy to a wide array of students for White River Valley Supervisory Union. In the future, Jennifer hopes to focus on early education intervention for children with special needs with a focus in autism spectrum disorders.

 

“My personal mantra is enriching life through through human connection. Everyday, I am able to live my mantra through work by building professional relationships and investing into my students progress. As anticipated, being a part of an interdisciplinary team working to develop future generations has been a very rewarding, challenging, and meaningful experience. I have been fortunate enough to find many mentors and role models throughout the start of my career. I look forward to many professional learning opportunities this year & am hopeful for a bright future. When I am not at work, you can find me traveling nationally & globally while living my mantra with my friends & family.”

Sign Communication Support Services

Alex Lynch

Sign Language Instructor

Alex Lynch

Alex Lynch graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.  He began working with the deaf and hard of hearing in 2005, when he worked as an Independent Living Specialist for D.E.A.F., Inc., in Boston.  He then served as a Vocational Coordinator, helping deaf and hard of hearing individuals gain employment in Boston.  Alex received a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.  He has taught American Sign Language and related subjects in a range of private settings, as well as at the University of Vermont, Middlebury College, and the University of Arizona. Alex has also served as the Vice President of the Vermont Association of the Deaf since 2012.

 

“I very much enjoy teaching sign language, especially to children and parents. I get a deep sense of fulfillment when fostering an environment where parents can communicate with their children without any barriers. Other than teaching, I have an affinity for traveling internationally and CrossFit.”

Karen Mueller-Harder

Sign Communication Support Instructor

Karen holds certificates from Northeastern University in American Sign Language/Deaf Studies and ASL-English interpreting. After working as an educational interpreter for a few years, she began in her current position in 2006, working with children who use English-based signing for a variety of reasons, including developmental and speech delays, or mild or moderate hearing loss. Karen works with families and school staff to teach sign vocabulary, and develop comfort in using signs along with spoken English, as well as working with children directly. She also focuses on identifying strategies for incorporating visual language into daily routines according to each child’s unique needs and abilities.

 

“I’ve been working in sign communication support for the past 10 years, particularly with kids who have speech delays or developmental challenges, helping them to communicate with the people around them. I love sharing the richness of signing, and finding the right approach for each child, and teaching families, school staff, and other care providers to integrate visual and spoken language in a way that will be successful. When I’m not driving to schools and homes across Vermont, I like to spend time with my almost-grown family, my horse, and my community theater group.”

Diane Parker

Deaf Mentor

Diane Parker

Diane Parker has been serving as a Deaf Mentor and American Sign Language Instructor for almost 25 years. She was certified as the state trainer for Deaf Mentors by the SKI-HI Institute at Utah State University. She has extensive professional development in American Sign Language, the Signing Naturally Curriculum, and the Shared Reading Project.

 

“I have loved being a Deaf Mentor and ASL instructor and am very passionate about working with Deaf/CI students who are mainstreamed. I wanted to help Hearing parents of Deaf/CI children and their siblings by teaching ASL (American Sign Language) at their homes and schools to improve their children’s communication skills. I’m also very creative with ASL activities, sewing, crafts and art.”

Elizabeth Pattison

Communication Facilitator

Elizabeth Pattison is a new addition to Nine East Network, joining the team in 2016 as a Communication Facilitator.  In 2013, she graduated from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor in Science in American Sign Language and English Interpretation. Prior to that, she had earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Simmons College/New England Conservatory and attended four years at the School of the Arts in Rochester, New York. Upon graduating from the NTID, she worked as an ASL/English interpreter in a variety of settings, including Champlain Valley Union High School and also in primary care medical offices.

 

Elizabeth is fluent in ASL and skilled at using Contact Sign when needed to meet a student’s needs. She has served as an interpreter in schools ranging from kindergarten, grade school, and post secondary education.

Blair Rasmus

Sign Communication Support Services Coordinator

Blair Rasmus has been working with deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and deaf-disabled children and their families as an advocate and educator for several years now. She knows that this field is home to her as she is genetically deaf and a native user of American Sign Language. She is a graduate of Gallaudet University with degrees in communication and cultural studies and recently gained a new identity as a mother. She loves being outdoors and farms with her family in hopes of creating a better future for everyone.

 

Blair is fourth-generation deaf in her large deaf family and is eager to introduce her fifth-generation deaf child to the beautiful world of bi/multilingualism as well as shared identities and cultures. She likes being active in the deaf community–providing information and resources as well as advocating for rights–and is passionate about the work she does domestically and internationally.

Michelle Rheault-Bissonette

Educational Interpreter

Michelle Rheault-Bissonette joined Nine East Network as an Educational Interpreter in 2016. She previously worked as an Educational Interpreter in high schools in Bristol and Hinesburg, Vermont. There, she gained experience facilitating communication between deaf and hearing students and teachers in the academic setting, supporting the learning environment for educators, students, and educational teams. She also tutored students needing additional instruction and served as an interpreter for team meetings. More recently, for the past seven years, she served as a Communication Facilitator at the Shelburne Community School, supporting children from kindergarten age to grade 6.  She helped general education, special education, and deaf students master their communication skills, use new sign vocabulary, and gain equal access to education. She will also be working with families/school teams to improve their sign skills to better meet their students’/child’s needs.

 

Michelle was raised in an all-ASL household with deaf parents and relatives, and grew up in the Deaf communities in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Arizona. She is fluent in ASL and Signed English. She brings to NEN over twenty years of experience making academic content accessible to deaf and hard of hearing students.

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