The Early Childhood Center at The Learning Center for the Deaf serves deaf and hard-of-hearing children aged 3-6, and their families with innovative research based instructional strategies and programs. Our goal is for every child to have the opportunity to develop age-appropriate cognitive, communication, language and social skills.
The Center is home to a vibrant community of young children, families, educators and specialists in communication, language and learning. We strive to integrate best practice teaching methods with the unique, individual needs of each child and family we serve. Because we recognize and respect that the most important learning environment for children – especially during early childhood – is the one created at home, family involvement is a vital component in all of our early childhood programs.
Preschool: Three- and four-year-old children attend a child-centered, full-day preschool program founded on the belief that knowledge is intuitively sought by children through their own actions and experiences. We provide monthly home visits to families in this program.
Kindergarten: Five- and six-year-olds participate in a full-day kindergarten program which continues to foster child-directed learning opportunities while skill-building in areas of communication, literacy, math, science and social studies. Kindergartners may also choose to take gym, library, art and ASL classes on campus. Kindergarten students study the Bilingual Grammar Curriculum.
Glennis Matthews, MA
Glennis passionately believes in the foundation of literacy and has focused her studies on early literacy intervention strategies for deaf and hard of hearing children with a career goal to advocate and implement an early literacy curriculum for deaf and hard of hearing children.
Glennis earner her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta after an Associate of Applied Science degree in Sign Language Interpreting from Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston. She then obtained a Master of Arts degree in Middle Grade Math and Science from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta.
Her role as TLC Superintendent makes her the first Black Deaf woman and first HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) graduate to become a Superintendent of a Deaf School throughout the history of Deaf Education, joining the league consisting of a few Deaf BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Deaf School Superintendents in the United States.
With a passion to end injustice and ensure equal accessibility, Milmaglyn holds a certification in Connecticut as an Integrated Early Childhood Education (*N-Grade 3) and Special Education in K-12, as well as certification as a Birth to Three Program Service Coordinator. Milmaglyn served on Council De Manos as a Board Member from 2005-2007 and is Bylaws Chair for the Connecticut Association of the Deaf, as well as NAD Region 1 Representative for the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).
Mary Jane Huru, B.S.
Parent ASL Classes, TLCPA and PAC Group Liason
Mary Jane Huru has a deep, personal connection to TLC. She is the mother of a former PIP student, who went on to attend her entire schooling at TLC, graduating in 2010. Mary Jane received her bachelor's degree in Child and Family Services. She has worked at TLC for 25 years, 10 as Admission Director/Family Liaison. Prior, she was the Director of TLC’s Childcare Center.
Kyle Amber Clark, MA, LCPC, ACS
With a genuine passion for social justice, Kyle Amber brings extensive background in mental health, Deaf culture and education.
She received her Master’s degree in Mental Health from Gallaudet University, she is currently working on her dissertation to complete her Ph.D. in social justice, and has participated in numerous presentations and panel discussions on mental health counseling, Deaf culture, empathy and intersectionality. Most recently she has also served on the Faculty of Color Coalition Committee at Gallaudet. Kyle Amber has worked with organizations nationwide, including the Deaf Abused Women’s Network, CSD Unites, National Association of the Deaf, National Black Deaf Advocates and Maryland School for the Deaf.
Toni Ammirati, M.Ed
Toni received her master’s degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University and has more than 30 years of experience working in the fields of nonprofit organizations, literacy, classroom management, education reform and lesson planning. She was an Elementary Principal for 25 years prior to moving into a senior leadership role in curriculum and instruction. Toni is also responsible for TLC’s Educational Compliance through DESE and is a MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Shira Grabelsky, M.Ed
Shira has a Master’s Degree in Deaf Education from Boston University, and a Master’s in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University. She brings 13 years of professional experience in Deaf Education to TLC.
Most recently serving as Curriculum Specialist for New Mexico School for the Deaf, Shira helped develop and implement curriculum adoption strategies, including cross-sectoral collaborations with community groups. She also designed and provided professional development training and instructional coaching for teachers.
Her participation in more than two dozen presentations and workshops cover a broad range of topics, including Deaf advocacy, mentorship, Anti-Bias education, Deaf identity and language access.
Chris Kaftan, MA
With more than 17 years of experience working in the field of Deaf Education, Chris Kaftan is skilled in coaching and mentoring, program evaluation, policy development, curriculum and lesson planning, and educational technology. Christopher received his graduate certification with a focus on Special Education Administration & Supervision from John Hopkins University and a master's degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University. He was a member of the first cohort of participants in the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) Leadership Academy in 2018. Previously, Christopher was the Secretary-General and Media Coordinator for the USA Deaf Sports Federation, focusing on international media and marketing for the USA Deaflympics teams for Pan-Am Games, Winter and Summer Deaflympics.