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December 6, 2004

Deaf education instructor is tech leader of year

From: Annapolis Capital - Annapolis,MD,USA - Dec 6, 2004

By KIM HEDDEN, For The Capital

Annapolis resident and deaf education instructor Rosemary Stifter was recently named Ed Tech Leader of the Year by a national technology trade publication.

Technology & Learning magazine selected Ms. Stifter from hundreds of educators across the country and from as far away as Bangladesh.

Ms. Stifter is a technology specialist at the Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University in Washington. Gallaudet, founded in 1864, is a world renowned college for the deaf and hearing impaired. Though she is primarily affiliated with the Kendall Elementary School, she has worked with the entire Gallaudet community, including in her role as head coach of the Gallaudet University swim team.

"Rosemary is making a difference on a global level," said Susan McLester, editor in chief of Technology & Learning. "This is the 17th year we have given the award - we simply couldn't have chosen a better recipient."

Ms. Stifter was presented with the award at the National School Board's Association's technology, leadership and learning conference held in late October in Denver. She was selected from a short list of four semi finalists, all of whom will be featured in an article in this month's issue of Technology & Learning.

Technology & Learning is a national trade publication based in the San Francisco area. With a circulation of more than 80,000, it's a source of cutting-edge information for technology teachers and administrators. The magazine also has a Web-based publication called

"I was thrilled to receive the award, of course," Ms. Stifter said. "But really, it's all about the students."

Ms. Stifter is not hearing impaired, but both of her parents are deaf and she learned sign language at an early age.

Among her innovations at the Kendall Elementary School, Ms. Stifter is most proud of implementing interactive white boards and digital video systems in the classrooms.

"Those are my babies," she said.

The boards are a far cry from blackboards and chalk commonly used in schools of yesteryear. When touched with a finger, the screens display information from computers and digital projectors linked via cable. The interactive boards, also called SMART boards, are especially useful with deaf and hearing-impaired students who communicate with sign language and learn to read and write in English.

Digital video systems also facilitate a smooth transition between sign language and English, and are particularly helpful with younger students and those whose parents speak a language other than English in the home.

Phil Mackall, director of information systems for the Clerc Center and Ms. Stifter's supervisor, said she is a deserving recipient.

"Even (Rosemary's) most technophobic teachers are realizing the benefit of technology for their students, and with her assistance are able to utilize computers, digital cameras, SMART boards and other pertinent technology," he said.


Kim Hedden is a freelance writer in Annapolis.

Published December 06, 2004, The Capital, Annapolis, Md. Copyright 2004 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.