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!


The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf educates students to succeed by recognizing and developing individual strengths, building confidence, collaborating with families and communities in a nurturing, dynamic, and language-rich environment steeped in cultural awareness of Deaf, Hearing, and worldwide diversity.


PSD empowers children with hearing loss by providing fully accessible services and a quality education so that they can become educated, productive and responsible members of society.


Language is the key to opening the world of learning to every child.

American Sign Language and English are both essential to students who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and/ or use cochlear implants or other assistive technology to build literacy and develop understanding and knowledge of the world.

Strategies that enhance and deepen our students’ knowledge include early language development and a language rich environment: sign language, spoken language, speech reading, and other language/communication tools.

All students are capable of setting goals, growing and achieving when guided, nurtured and challenged.

Our students thrive when they have the knowledge and skills they need to self-advocate, pose and solve problems, and become critical and creative thinkers.

Every individual has strengths and the ability to contribute to improve their community and the world. Our students thrive when the communities, which support them, partner with the school.

Our students are prepared for the 21st century by understanding multiple perspectives and valuing diversity.

Head of School

Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD) is the third oldest school for Deaf and hard of hearing students in the United States. We value the history of our school as we continue our tradition of excellence in Deaf Education because it helped define who we are and whom we serve since 1820!

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

With our mission statement in mind, I am deeply committed to ensuring 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 link to resources necessary to achieving those long-term goals our students set for themselves.

Once our students graduate and progress onto new endeavors, it is incredibly important that our Alumni remain connected and included in PSD events and milestones, and view PSD as a home to come back to.

I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and show you the great work being achieved daily by our wonderful students and dedicated staff!

“I can! You can! We can! PSD can!”

PSDly yours,

Peter L. Bailey

Head of School

Peter L. Bailey, Head School

Peter L. Bailey

Executive Team

Melissa Draganac-Hawk
Interim Associate Head of School

Karla Boudreaux
Director of Human Resources

Harriet Nabatesa
Director of Finance

Amy Levine
Director of Institutional Advancement

Valerie Houser
Director of Academic Affairs

Patricia Saar McFadden
Director of Student Affairs

Taiyabah Naeem
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Nick Cartolaro
Director of Operations

Administrative Team

Matt Bujak
Athletic Director

Melissa Keeley
Elementary & Middle School Principal

Mark Phipps
High School & Transition Program Principal

Elizabeth Knapp
Supervisor of Special Education Program

Sarah Ruth McDevitt
Supervisor of Early Education Programs

Kim Stephan
Supervisor of Related Services

Accounting Supervisor

Board of Trustees

Margaret Steele

Alexander Bilus, Esq.
Vice Chair

Michael Greenfield, Esq.

Mark Apodaca

Peter L. Bailey
Head of School


Dr. Beth Benedict

Edward H. Bosso, Jr.

Denise Brown

Roger Brush

Rob Marcantuono

Dr. Elizabeth Moore

Dean Solis

Dr. Benjamin J. Soukup

Dr. Kenneth Veit

Non-Trustee Officer:

Shannon Farmer, Esq.

Brief History

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, the first principal, PSD held its first classes 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 renowned Deaf Frenchman Laurent Clerc, who sailed to America with Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, became PSD’s second principal in 1821. Prior to PSD, he 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 acre property. 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, when 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 Administration Building and held cabinet meetings there.

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