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Announcing Clerc Center's new leadership

June 6, 2018

For the last year, Clerc Center has had two interim leaders: Marianne Belsky for academics and Nicole Sutliffe for administration.

During the month of April, I had the opportunity to meet with teachers, staff, and parents to discuss the future direction of both schools. I want to thank everyone who participated in this input and feedback process. After reviewing this feedback and looking at the leadership needs of Clerc Center going forward, I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Marianne Belsky as chief academic officer and Nicole Sutliffe as chief administrative officer.

Marianne Belsky joined the Clerc Center in 2014. She brought with her a wealth of experience in a variety of educational setting— public schools, residential programs for the deaf, and a program serving students with special needs. Before coming here, she served for five years as K-12 principal at Delaware School for the Deaf. Marianne is a Gallaudet alumna, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in deaf education, and an educational specialist degree in change leadership.

Nicole Sutliffe has served in numerous capacities since joining the Clerc Center in 2003, and has served as executive director since 2008. Throughout her career, she has been engaged with leadership efforts across the University. She co-chaired the University Planning and Budget Committee. She also has served as a member of the Crisis Leadership Team, and as a member of the President’s Executive Team since 2016. Nicole’s background is in finance and business administration. She holds a master’s degree in special education administration from Gallaudet University.

As you know, deaf education in America began with the bilingual co-leadership of Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Marianne and Nicole told me that they are honored to be able to follow in their footsteps. They will strive to honor Clerc and Gallaudet’s legacy with their vision for national deaf education—through Collaboration, Leadership, Equity, Reimagination, and Community (CLERC).

Marianne and Nicole said, “Our work over the past year owes much to the dedication of our teachers and staff and to the support of our partners at Gallaudet. We are committed to providing an exemplary education to KDES and MSSD students and to building strong partnerships nationwide to identify and share innovative strategies for educating deaf students.”

I want to thank Marianne and Nicole for their leadership in the past year. I have full confidence in their vision, as well as the support the community has for their leadership of Clerc Center. Heather Harker, my chief of staff, and I will continue to support Marianne and Nicole in their leadership.

This Wednesday, KDES will hold its Honorees Recognition Ceremony. On Friday, MSSD will hold its Graduation. I look forward to taking part in both events, and congratulating each and every student and their families.

Please join me in congratulating Marianne and Nicole on their shared leadership roles, and in supporting their vision for Clerc Center. I wish our Clerc Center students, families, staff, and teachers a good summer.


Roberta J. Cordano

Posted by Andrew Greenman | Posted June 6, 2018 at 2:32 PM


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800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002