The Quill School is designed to be a Language Intensive Development School (LIDS) for students with hearing loss who show a significant delay in language due to their loss of hearing. An intentional focus on building language in the families’ preferred communication mode is provided through, (1) LISTENING AND SPOKEN LANGUAGE (oral-listening and spoken language) (2) MULTI-MODAL (bi-lingual, bi-modal) and (3) AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE (bi-lingual, bi-cultural).
This Alternative Educational Center (AEC) is necessary due to the intentional and Full-time Language Rich Environment that will be afforded to Quill’s students using research and evidence-based curriculum that provide viable measures to mark language age development, but also academic and functional development.
Heidi Clower is an educational audiologist in South Carolina and is currently serving on the Quill School of South Carolina planning committee. She and her husband Jeff have lived in South Carolina since 1995 and have four grown children. Heidi graduated with a BA in Speech and Hearing Sciences from THE Ohio State University in 1989 and an MS in Audiology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991. She has worked in various settings since 1991, including a United Way Speech and Hearing Center, a busy ENT office, a private practice, and since 2004 with a large, growing school district. For the past several years she has been the primary contact/coordinator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs in her school district, and she also coordinates the ASL Interpreters employed with the district. She has served on various boards throughout her career, most recently with SC AG Bell. She is passionate about deaf education and is an advocate for her students, ages 3-21. Her reasons for serving on the planning committee for the Quill School of South Carolina stem from a desire for all South Carolina Deaf and Hard of Hearing students to have access to intensive, quality instruction, which will result in better outcomes for this very capable population.
Tami Taylor is currently serving on the planning committee of Quill School of South Carolina in the role of vice-chair. She is originally from Florida, but has lived in Fort Mill, South Carolina since 2017. Tami graduated from Valencia College in Orlando, Florida in 2012 with an AA degree in Sign Language Interpreting. She also holds an AS degree in Business Administration. In college, Tami was co-founder and vice president of the ASL Honor Society and served as a Student Representative at the Florida Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf’s bi-annual conference. She spent several years with Florida Hands and Voices where she volunteered her time to provide shadow interpreting services for children’s theatrical performances at Orlando Shakespeare Theater. She also presented at the Florida Summit on Childhood Deafness where she provided information and resources to parents and educators interested in incorporating sign language with their young Deaf children. Tami has been working as an educational interpreter since 2013 and currently works for the Rock Hill school district. She has experience working with children who have varying degrees of hearing loss, using different communication modes, and in a variety of educational settings; and because of this experience, she knows first hand how important it is to be intentional when it comes to focusing on the language development of Deaf children. This is why Tami believes in the mission and culture of Quill School and is excited to be a part of it!
Lolita Battle is the wife of a retired military service member and the mother of three grown children. She is currently serving on the planning committee of the Quill School of South Carolina as treasurer. Lolita is a Language Facilitator for Carter Hear! She earned her BS in Human Services from Western Washington University in 1996 and later she pursued her MA in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University. Lolita has worked in early childhood education, administration, and human services for several years. As a child development center director, she has experienced firsthand how early intervention can impact the lives of young children and put them on the road of success. Children who otherwise would be overlooked, misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Her work in the Human Service field includes working with various social services agencies, non-profit organizations and several religious groups each with one goal in mind, helping families thrive. As a family advocate, she has to have a strong commitment to diversity and equality of children involved in family court services. Where she acts in the best interest of children as a court appointed guardian ad litem. Lolita, testifies to the important bond that parents, guardians, grandparents, and teachers make when they work.
Kandice Hunt is a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing for Carter Hears. She is currently serving in the role of secretary for the planning committee of The Quill School-SC. She has served students with hearing loss in the educational setting since 2010. Her inspiration stems from growing up with a deaf brother. She graduated from Converse College in 2010 with a BA in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In 2018, she graduated from American College of Education with her M.Ed in Educational Leadership. She is certified in Special Education: Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Elementary Education, and Early Childhood Special Education. She has also been a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, and is currently a member of the SC AG Bell Board. She serves children with varying degrees of hearing loss who use listening and spoken language, ASL, and a bi-modal approach. She believes that choices in communication should be honored. There is not one approach that works for all students, therefore, educational options should be offered so that all students can be successful. There is also a lack of choices in many areas throughout the state of South Carolina that will truly serve deaf/hard of hearing students in their chosen communication mode providing the amount of services necessary to increase their language. This is why she firmly believes that The Quill School is needed in South Carolina.
Kim Block is a clinical audiologist in South Carolina and is currently serving on the Quill School planning committee. Kim graduated from the University of Maryland with her Doctor of Audiology degree in 2006. Following residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Kim worked as a clinical and research audiologist at two major medical centers and upon moving to South Carolina, at a large ENT practice. In 2015, Kim opened a private-practice, Lakeside Audiology, in response to the overwhelming need for pediatric audiological care in her area. Since that time, Lakeside Audiology has fitted hearing aids on over 270 patients of pediatric age. She is also responsible for the educational audiology services provided through a large adjacent SC School District. Through her experiences as an educational audiologist, Kim has seen first-hand how early intensive education that is focused on language development and the needs of the hearing impaired child is critical for the future success of each student. Without, Kim has seen how a child that enters school without the necessary framework of language development, which serves as the basis for reading, math, and other areas of educational development, will languish in their academic and behavioral development. She passionately advocates that the parents of her patients seek services that will equip their child for success, however too often sees families do not have the resources to execute on such requests. This is why Kim believes the Quill School will provide a better future for deaf and hard of hearing children as they will receive an education that is specialized for the development of the D/HoH child by professionals who are trained in D/HoH education. Moreover, these children will be able to grow in their self-confidence as they interact with peers who share in their experiences as a student with hearing impairment. It is for these reasons that Kim is excited to be a part of this necessary initiative to provide the best early education for deaf and hard of hearing children..
Steven Taylor is your typical average adult with a catch. The catch is he is deaf with Bi-lateral Cochlear Implants that have helped him achieve some great things in life such as graduating college or getting to hear some incredible sounds such as the ocean waves crashing. He was diagnosed as being deaf at the age of one and received implants in 1999 when he was 3. Since then, he hasn't stopped, serving as President of a service-based organization in college, speaking in front of large crowds about advocacy. As someone who has experienced struggles and had some falls in this journey of hearing loss, helping others overcome adversity and working with those struggling with hearing loss or even the parents who may not know exactly what to do is what he loves to do. It takes a community to raise a child or to help someone which is why he is so excited about the The Quill School. Because of Camp Communication, he saw under one roof a blossoming group of kids because passion existed and the strengths of each profession working together. This school brings all of the different aspects of education and clinic together to better serve the deaf/HOH community all under one roof. He LOVES that. It is vital for this school to exist because this begins to build an incredible network for kids/parents as they grow in their journey with hearing loss.
Aileen Welch is a native of the Bronx, NYC and a recent transplant to the South Carolina Chapin area. She is currently serving on The Quill School of South Carolina planning committee. Aileen graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors of Science degree in Professional and Technical Communications and a minor in Social Work. She also obtained a Masters of Science degree from the same university in Career and Human Resource Development. Aileen started losing her hearing as a young child and wore hearing aids and an FM system to help her communicate. She spoke Spanish at home to her family and English and American Sign Language at school, and had 18 years of speech therapy. She is currently employed as a Parent Education Specialist with Beginnings, SC and a Sign Language Facilitator with Carter Hears! She hopes to add Teacher for the Deaf to her credentials in a few short years.
Her reason for serving on the planning committee is a personal one. While growing up in NYC, she did not have access to any support services. She was in a mainstreamed environment and the only service extended to her was one hour of resource room a day. It wasn’t until she attended a college with a deaf school on campus that she really thrived. It was there that she finally had access to support services like interpreters, notetakers, deaf teachers, TTY, electronic messaging groups for class discussions, captioning, etc. Living in a predominantly deaf dorm and having access to ASL full time was an amazing experience. After years of teetering between worlds...she finally felt like she belonged somewhere. She wants other students that are deaf or have hearing loss to have the same experience...to find a place where they belong, where they can thrive and learn in a safe and nurturing environment. She believes The Quill School will be such a place where these children can reach their full potential.
Roger is the parent of six children, four of whom are deaf. He is a native of England, but has lived in the US for 50 years. He is currently employed by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health as the Executive Director of the Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center. He was previously the Director for Deaf Services for the Department and, before that, the Program Manager at the Piedmont Center for Mental Health Services and the Social Worker IV and Program Coordinator at the Deaf Services Program at Patrick Harris Psychiatric Hospital. Prior to working in South Carolina, he was employed with the NC Division of Services for the Deaf and the Illinois School for the Deaf. He received his B.S.W. from the Rochester Institute of Technology and his M.S.W., specializing in community mental health, from the University of Illinois. In addition, he has a private practice specializing in consulting and training related to the needs of deaf adults in the mental health system. He also has interpreted in a wide variety of settings, including the NAD and RID conferences and in forensic and court settings.
As a parent of deaf children (now adults), the spouse of a deaf adult, and a mental health professional working with deaf children and adults, he is concerned at both a personal and professional level about deaf children and their parents and the difficult choices they often have to make. He is the Past Co-President of the American Society for Deaf Children and a Founding Board Member and Past President of Beginnings-SC. He sees the Quill School as a valuable resource and one piece of a needed continuum to meet the complex and varied needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Sherry Williams has worked at three different deaf schools in a variety of roles including school counselor, teacher of the deaf, and transition coordinator. She is currently an adjunct professor at both Spartanburg Community College and Converse College, teaching upper-level ASL classes and Deaf History & Culture. She received her B.S.W degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and has two Master’s degrees: M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and MA in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University. Currently she is serving as the Vice-President of the South Carolina Association of the Deaf and has long been involved with deaf organizations both on the local, state, and national level. She also serves on both the S.C. Dept of Education Advisory Council on Educating Students with Disabilities and DHEC’s First Sound Committee, and previously served seven years on the S.C. Protection and Advocacy Board of Directors as well as being Co-President of the American Society of Deaf Children for two years.
After being diagnosed as profoundly deaf as the age of 3 ½, she was placed in the oral track at a local public school and was mainstreamed in public schools without any type of support services. This was in pre-IDEA years. She remembers the isolation of being the only deaf student at her school and the difficulty of communicating with her hearing peers. This is the reason why she embraces the Quill School philosophy of bringing all the deaf/hard of hearing children together in one location where they can have access to both high quality teachers and deaf/hard of hearing peers. She feels it is important to focus on the whole child – both educational and social/emotional needs.