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DHS Announces Illinois School for the Deaf Superintendent

For Immediate Release: Contact: 

January 11, 2017 Meredith Krantz

Department of Human Services Announces Illinois School for the Deaf Superintendent 

Julee Nist brings vast experience as educator and leader to the school 

JACKSONVILLE, IL – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced today the selection of Julee Nist to serve as the next Superintendent for the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD). Nist brings a wide range of experience, from interpreter and teacher to principal, which will be beneficial to the continued success of ISD students. Nist will assume her role as Superintendent in February 2017.

“Julee Nist is a well-versed educator whose strong commitment to delivering quality education will be a tremendous asset to the entire Illinois School for the Deaf community,” Illinois Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis said. “I look forward to Julee Nist leading the school as Illinois strives to provide the highest level of education and support for the students that attend ISD and their families.”

“We are pleased to welcome Julee Nist as the next Superintendent of the Illinois School for the Deaf,” said IDHS Secretary James Dimas. “Julee Nist is a success-driven leader whose vast experience makes her uniquely qualified to lead ISD. Her desire to motivate students to embrace a pursuit of continuous learning, as well as her ability to build collaboration with all levels of professionals and the community will help lead ISD into a new era of educational excellence.”

Nist most recently held the role of school principal at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. In this role, she oversaw all programs and staff. Prior to serving as the school principal, she oversaw multiple services including athletics, after school programs, interpreters, high school education and the extended school year program. Her efforts helped students excel and earn higher test scores over previous years.

Nist has also taught as an adjunct professor for the Interpreter Training Program at the Community College of Philadelphia. She began her career as an interpreter and later became a teacher of American Sign Language, English, and early childhood.

Nist earned her Masters of Education in Administration, Superintendent Certification, bachelor’s degree in Communication with the Deaf and a minor in Speech Communication from Sam Houston State University. Nist earned her associate’s degree in Communication with the Deaf at Houston Community College. Nist also holds multiple certifications including Alternative Certification in Deaf Education and Education Specialist in Administrative Leadership for Teaching.


On one of Bob Dramin ‘88’s summer trips to St. Louis, he decided to drop in to visit Mike Moore at Dolan Memory Care Homes. The visit was bittersweet but was a good one with reviving some old memories of Mike’s years as basketball coach and athletic director at ISD. 



 He was able to recall vaguely all the wonderful years of bringing CSSD  championships to ISD when ISD fielded excellent teams during those years between 1964 and 1999 as an ISD employee. 

ISDAA Board Meeting

ISDAA Board meeting is cancelled on August 27 due to lack of quorum.

Next meeting is on Sunday, September 11. TBA: Location

See you all there,
ISDAA President Susan Dramin-Weiss

Honoring Mrs. Kramer

It was Dorothy Kramer’s 90th Birthday Party in Quincy on June 26th 2016.

ISD Alumni were:

Back row: Cissy Brown 1970-71, Nick Campbell 2005, Dick Craig 1963, Robert Higdon Isd 1962, Dale Gillam 1971. Second row: Elaine Lantz Cady 1958, Janice Onderbeke & Joe Henning 1965, Rosa Correa 1979, Terri Ashbaugh 1985. Sitting: Ruby Mackey Marie ISD 1950, Dorothy Fengel Kramer 1945, Rose Mackey Deushane ISD 1945. Absent: Rose Zanger Cherry 1971.

Collaboration on the search for ISD Superintendent

Dr. Beth Purvis, Secretary of Education, and John Miller, Director of IDHHC, in a
collaborative effort have met to discuss a proactive approach to recruit and hire a
highly qualified superintendent for the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD). Secretary
Purvis has requested IDHHC to take the lead in the search. A “listening tour” will
be conducted in order to collect a united vision of ISD. This will include reaching
out to the following groups at ISD: Administrators, Teachers, Advisory Board Members,
& Parents of ISD students. In an effort to ensure a comprehensive vision is
developed for the ISD Superintendent search, IDHHC has established a steering
committee comprised of the following members who have graciously agreed to assist:

* SHERI COOK, Gallaudet University Regional Center Representative of John A. Logan
College, Deaf Educator;
* JOAN FORNEY, former ISD Superintendent;
* KARLA GIESE, Deaf Educator of AG Bell Montessori School, IDHHC Commissioner; &
* AMY RICHARDS, Illinois State Board of Education Deaf Services Specialist.

Over the course of the summer, IDHHC will be meeting with the steering committee to
implement a plan for the “listening tour” in the fall once ISD is back in session. The Commission
will also work closely with Kris Smith, Director of Department of Human Services,
Division of Rehabilitation Services, and Serena Preston, ISD Interim Superintendent, to
ensure a clear understanding as well as expectations of both the search and the listening

In an effort to widen the search nationwide, IDHHC will reach out to various national organizations
for assistance in disseminating the information of the superintendent position. This
also includes the National Association of the Deaf Conference (NAD) and the National
Deaf Education Conference (NDEC) to be held July 5-9th in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Commission is honored to provide assistance to James T. Dimas, Secretary of
the Department of Human Services and Kris Smith, Director of the Division of Rehabilitation
Services in the superintendent search process.

The Commission will continue to communicate it’s progress with all interested stakeholders
on this important journey.

[Source from http://www.illinois.gov/idhhc/community/Documents/Newsletters/June%202016.pdf]