About

Welcome to the The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf! We are a Pre-K to 12th grade school located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. We wish to recognize the responsibility entrusted to us to educate the deaf and hard-of-hearing in Southern Pennsylvania. We value our place in history, and pledge to uphold the legacy as leaders in the field of Deaf Education.

Here at PSD, we are committed to providing a quality education for our students with a challenging, interactive and integrated curriculum, which is aligned with the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, and each student has an individualized education plan to ensure they stay on track with national standards. Teachers use a fully immersive, bilingual approach to ensure each student attains fluency in American Sign Language and English. We offer a wide range of extracurricular classes as well as leadership and involvement opportunities to supplement every child’s personal development.

We cultivate a dynamic, language-rich environment, which serves as a positive community model for children with hearing loss, and instills a positive self image.

Come join our vibrant community, and share in our legacy!

Head of School

The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD) was founded in 1820 as the third school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the United States and we will be celebrating our 200th anniversary in 2020! We value our history and our place within Deaf Education, and pledge to uphold the legacy as leaders in the field of Deaf Education.

As the Head of School, I believe that each student should be provided the opportunity to maximize his/her language skills and be encouraged to grow and thrive in an academic setting that is designed to meet his/her individual needs.

With our mission statement in mind, I am deeply committed to ensuring that student success rates continue to be our main priority. Additionally, PSD is also committed to providing a wide range of programs and services for our students, staff, parents and community partners. Our aim is to raise awareness of benefits as well as barriers, develop strategies for long-term goals, and linking resources necessary to achieving those long-term goals our students set for themselves. Ultimately, we believe in our students and they believe in us!

Once our students graduate and leave the safety and security of our campus, it’s incredibly important that our Alumni remain connected and included in PSD events and milestones, and view PSD as a touchstone and home-base.

I hope you will visit us sometime to see for yourself the great work being achieved daily by our wonderful students and dedicated staff!

Peter L. Bailey, Head School

Peter L. Bailey

Executive Team

Dario Bellot
Chief Financial Officer

Karla Boudreaux
Director of Human Resources

Lauren Coy
Director of Institutional Advancement

Melissa Draganac-Hawk
Director of Student Affairs

Valerie Houser
Director of Academic Affairs

Administrative Team

Matt Bujak
Athletic Director

Melissa Keeley
Elementary & Middle School Principal

Elizabeth Knapp
High School & Special Education Program Principal

Karen Leslie-Henry
Coordinator of Community Relations

Patty McFadden
Supervisor of Student Development Team

Amanda Moyer
Supervisor of Interpreting Services

Meg Santoro
Director of Early Education Programs

Cindy Sawyer
Transition Coordinator

Brief History

The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD) was founded in 1820 as the third school of its kind in the nation, and has become a leading resource in the field of Deaf Education.

Founded by Philadelphia merchant, David Seixas, PSD’s first classes were held in his private home on Market Street, west of 16th Street.

About a year later, PSD relocated to a building on the southeast corner of Eleventh and Market Streets. The first principal was the renowned Deaf Frenchman Laurent Clerc, who had sailed to America with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and taught him sign language on the voyage. Before becoming PSD’s first principal in 1821, Clerc, along with Gallaudet and Dr. Mason Cogswell, founded the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1817.

In 1825, PSD moved to its first official school building, at the corner of Broad and Pine Streets. The site is now occupied by the University of the Arts, and PSD classes were held in what is presently Haviland Hall.

Almost seventy years later, in 1892, the school moved again.  Mt. Airy had a spacious thirty-three acres, and fourteen buildings were constructed to accommodate all students and staff. PSD resided there for 92 years, until declining enrollment and related economic factors required that the school relocate.

In 1984, PSD purchased its current home, the former Germantown Academy Campus, and completely renovated it while preserving its unique historic character. Many of the buildings on PSD’s Germantown campus have a rich history. Some date from the Revolutionary War times, where the school was used as a hospital during the Battle of Germantown. Six British soldiers are reportedly buried on the campus. During the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1792, both the Pennsylvania State Assembly and the U.S. Congress took refuge in PSD’s buildings. President George Washington also set up a temporary office in the current Head of School’s office and held cabinet meetings there.

After settling down on the Germantown Campus, PSD has continued a tradition of excellence in Deaf Education.

Board of Trustees

Margaret Steele
Chair

Dr. Harvey Corson
Vice Chair

Kelly Kindig, Esq.
Secretary

Peggy Conver
Treasurer

Shannon Farmer, Esq.
Solicitor

Dr. Beth Benedict

Alexander Bilus, Esq.

Edward H. Bosso, Jr.

June Goodwin

Douglas E. Johnson

Rob Marcantuono

Dr. Mary Karol Matchett

Dr. Elizabeth Moore

Don Peterson

Michael Skolnick, AIA

Dean Solis

Dr. Benjamin J. Soukup

Denise Tucker

Dr. Kenneth Veit

Janet S. Weinstock