New Georgia deaf school director criticized for lack of experience

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Feb 20 21:23:52 UTC 2006

>>From the Ledger-Enquirer.Com
 Posted on Sun, Feb. 19, 2006

New deaf school director criticized for lack of experience

Associated Press

CAVE SPRING, Ga. - The new director of the Georgia School for the Deaf has
been criticized by some members of the deaf community for a lack of
experience working with the deaf and because he does not yet know sign
language. Lee Shiver, former superintendent of Pickens County schools, was
appointed by the state Board of Education and will replace interim
director Cynthia Ashby on March 1. Former director Winfield McChord
resigned in July after serving in the position for 19 months.

"There's no knowledge of deaf education. How do you better a school when
you know nothing about it? You can't," said Shirley Crook, who used sign
language while her husband Gary translated. Crook and her parents, Louise
and Frank Osborne, attended the state-sponsored school. They said other
alumni and deaf community members and advocates similarly have been
concerned about the appointment and community input should be a part of
the hiring process.

But state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox said in an e-mail response to
the Rome News-Tribune that such input is not under consideration although
education officials "always want to hear constructive suggestions and
input from the community about all issues." Cox also said in the e-mail
she and other education officials are "very confident" the new director
has "the experience and the attitude to lead the Georgia School for the
Deaf and make it one of the best deaf-education schools in America."

Shiver said he is learning American Sign Language and said that challenge
reflects his attitude about what he hopes to accomplish as the school's
director. "I think once the students see that and understand that, and
parents see that, they will feel very positive," he said.

Information from: Rome News-Tribune,

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