GURC SW Interim Director Announcement

Gallaudet University – Regional Center Southwest


Greetings from the Gallaudet University Regional Center – Southwest. (Located at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas)

Gallaudet University Regional Center Southwest letterIt has been an amazing four years as the director of the Gallaudet University Regional Center – Southwest since the center first opened in January 2011. I have worked alongside with excellent directors from other regional centers, with many amazing professionals and individuals who I partnered with. I have had many opportunities to grow and develop in my career. I will always treasure the opportunities provided to me throughout this professional experience.

I have been offered and accepted a new position as the Principal at Colorado School for the Deaf. I will begin my new responsibilities on September 2, which means my last day here will be Friday, August 29. It is my great pleasure to announce the appointment of Ms. JoAnn Benfield as the Interim Director of the Gallaudet University Regional Center – Southwest, serving Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Mew Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. JoAnn’s appointment will begin effective September 2, 2014.

JoAnn brings with her a wealth of experience to the position. Most recently, she worked with me at the regional center as the coordinator. JoAnn led the center’s technological work along with marketing and communications. She has expertise in event planning, and the development and presentation of youth leadership trainings. JoAnn also co-coordinated the Gallaudet University Southwest Regional Academic Bowl when it took place in Salt Lake City, Utah two years ago.

Earlier in her career, JoAnn was an adjunct professor in the department of English for Speakers of Other Languages at Austin Community College. She was also an Outreach Specialist for Communication Services for the Deaf in Austin, Texas and taught high school English and Theatre at the Texas School for the Deaf. Most recently, she was an anchor for iDeafNews. JoAnn graduated with an MA degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University and earned her BA degrees in Education, Secondary English, and Production and Performance Arts with a minor in Educational Drama.

As interim director of the GURC for the Southwest Region, JoAnn will work with you in planning and delivering programs and services throughout the region, including undergraduate and graduate extension and professional studies courses, leadership programs, conferences, and workshops and training programs for the deaf and hard of hearing students, their families, and the educators and other professionals who work with them. She will help develop and support partnerships between Gallaudet University, the Clerc Center, and schools and programs throughout the region.

I know you will enjoy getting to know JoAnn Benfield and she can be reached at [email protected]. Please be in touch and let us know your interests and needs. Wishing you all the best for the coming year!

Arlene Gunderson, Director


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