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Willie Ross School for the Deaf has announced the appointment of Joel Skelton to the newly-created position of Coordinator of Community Engagement at the school.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Skelton is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning a B.S. in Professional & Technical Communication and an M.S. in Communication & Media Technologies.

In his new position, Skelton will be responsible for creating greater awareness of the school and its brand through various forms of outreach, including a greater presence on social media. He will also handle fundraising and development, grants and event planning.

Skelton, who has a central auditory processing disorder, was denied access to deaf education resources when in school. He later received the appropriate deaf services and the use of an interpreter, which helped him to excel academically. That experience has helped prepare him to promote the philosophy of Willie Ross School for the Deaf.

According to Skelton, “What appealed to me about joining the Willie Ross School is its commitment to its Total Communication model of educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students, which emphasizes a range of communication methods that are best suited for each child that might include oral communication and sign language. My own story of being denied access to appropriate deaf education resources has made me aware of the need for schools for the deaf, like Willie Ross, and the importance of having the resources to appropriately meet students’ needs.”

President and CEO Bert Carter said, “We welcome Joel to our staff in this new position as a way to share the message about Willie Ross and the work we do more broadly through events, social media and grant requests.  Joel’s experience and background make him uniquely qualified to raise our profile and help us engage current and new audiences around the important work we do with students.”

The Willie Ross School for the Deaf provides a comprehensive educational program stressing academic excellence that focuses on the development of students’ intellectual, social, and emotional growth from the early childhood level through high school. Willie Ross serves students at its main campus in Longmeadow and at its partnership campus located in the East Longmeadow Public Schools. Mainstreaming opportunities are provided at the partnership campus.

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