MEET THE BOARD
RACHELLE SETTAMBRINO, PRESIDENT
Rachelle Settambrino is originally from Duluth, Minnesota. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and a Master of Arts degree in International Development from Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. Currently she teaches course in American Sign Language as well as Interpreting at University of South Florida. In addition to her work in Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, she serves as a Faculty in Residence on campus and collaborates with Residential Education to support the American Sign Language Living Learning Community (ASL LLC). Ms. Settambrino has also been very active in the community. She has been a board member of International Deaf Partnerships since 2014 as well as serving as an interpreter/facilitator working with Guatemalan Deaf staff and Haitian Deaf Staff. In this capacity, Ms. Settambrino trains and empowers the local Deaf community in these countries, helping them learn how to operate Educational Summer camps for deaf children in their respective countries. Also, she provides professional development trainings to the teachers of Deaf children in Guatemala and Haiti. During her free time, Ms. Settambrino is an avid traveler. She enjoys traveling to Europe, the United Kingdom, Central America, and Caribbean. Besides of her love of traveling, she enjoys spending time with her dog, scuba diving, exercising, and reading books.
BEN JARASHOW, VICE PRESIDENT
Ben Jarashow, a California native, graduated from Gallaudet University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies. He obtained his Master’s degree in Deaf Studies: Cultural Studies in 2006, also from Gallaudet University. His Master’s thesis focused on developing criteria for a better quality of ABC storytelling. He teaches at the University of South Florida in the Deaf Studies program. He lives in Lutz, Florida with his wife, Kat, their children, Boone, Cypress, and Wilder.
IVAN JARAMA, SECRETARY
Mr. Ivan Jarama is an American Sign Language instructor at Brandon High School in Brandon, Florida. He is also an adjunct instructor at University of South Florida (USF). He is interested in teaching American Sign Language. Before he became an instructor, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He also received an Master of Art degree in Deaf Education from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.
He has been teaching since 2004. He has taught variety courses at Deaf schools, a community college, and USF. Prior to this position as an ASL instructor, he taught math and science courses to Deaf high school students.
He is profoundly Deaf. He moved to New York City from Ecuador for a better education. His first and native language is ASL. In his spare time, he enjoys watching tv, coaching a basketball team, chatting with friends, and spending time with his family.
CINDI JACOBS, TREASURER
Cindi Jacobs, B.A. was introduced to sign language when she was 18 years old in high school inclusion (SEE). She has taught ASL classes for over 42 years. Varied places - Massachusetts Speech-Language Hearing Association, Boston Language Institution, Lesley University (with credits), adjunct instructor at Palm Beach State College, Adult Education under school department and private tutoring. She earned her B.A. of Psychology from Cambridge College on January 1995.
Cindi worked at Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Allston, Mass as teacher aide for 19 years, taught deaf studies to middle school students for several years. Plus, storytelling to elementary children from the children's book -- (SRP) Shared Reading Project with parents of deaf children. Played an actress Grandmother for The Napping House for DVD.
After retiring and moving to Florida in 2001, Cindi worked as substitute teacher in Palm Beach County last January 2015. She ran FINGO games on first Saturday monthly at (PBCAD) Palm Beach County Association of the Deaf in Lake Worth, FL for 8 years. She served as Chairperson membership for (FAD) Florida Association membership from 2009-2013. She is currently as Treasurer of FASLTA since February 2013. She has another duty (BCAD) Boward County Association of the Deaf in Pompano Beach as Treasurer since July 2018. She loves her hobby to dig up old families from Ancestry website for a while.
RENEE GEARY, NORTH DIRECTOR
Currently, I am teaching at FSDB - Deaf High School as ASL teacher. I am holding Florida DOE Certifications in ASL Endorsement, 18-Hours ESOL Endorsement, K-12 Hearing Impaired, and Pre-K to 12 Educational Media Specialist. For about 25+ years, I have been teaching with a vary of subjects from elementary to college levels - Black & White Photography, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Deaf Studies, Electives courses and ASL. There were a variety of school settings I have been teaching are FSDB, The Learning Center for Deaf in Massachusetts, National Deaf Academy, Hagerty High School, and Flagler College. I also interned/practiced (practicum) to become a teacher at few schools, Texas School for the Deaf, Metro Deaf School, and Maryland School for the Deaf – both campuses in Columbia and Frederick. I am proudly to be part of Gallaudet University Alumni for my accomplishments of earning my BA in T.V., Film, and Photography and minor in Communication Arts, and also earning my MS degree in Educational Technology in Special Education and Deafness. I also gained to have another Master Degree from Western Maryland College (now as McDaniel College) in Deaf Education.
All above that I have been through all my life, before that, I was not aware what I was becoming of what I am doing right now. Before that, I was originally from Pittsburgh, PA and raised in Southern California. I was very much involved in sports, Deaf events, and snow skiing, and also travelling with my family. I still am with different interests to do due to time, environment, hobbies, etc. that have changed over the years.
KELLY LEEPER, CENTRAL DIRECTOR
Kelly Leeper, a Florida native, is currently living behind Disney World in Orlando with her three children. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from University of North Florida in 2010 and a Master of Arts degree in Teaching American Sign Language from University of Northern Colorado in 2015. Kelly has been teaching for more than 10 years. Kelly enjoys doing photography and digital arts on the side and golfs with her friends when she can find the time.
ROBIN PETERSON, SOUTH DIRECTOR
Robin Peterson is a New York native and been living in Florida since 2003. She graduated from RIT/NTID with BFA in Graphic Design. She also graduated from Hunter College in New York City with Masters in K-12 Deaf Education/ Special Education. She also has a Florida DOE Certification in ASL Endorsement.
Robin has taught K-12 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students in New York and Florida. She is currently teaching ASL, both level 1 and level 2 at Indian River State College (IRSC) for 15 years as an ASL Adjunct Professor (New York and Florida).
Robin is the Founder/President of ASL/Deaf Club of the Treasure Coast since 2011. She also a Point of Contact for Open Captioned movies in the Treasure Coast area (Martin County and St. Lucie County).
She was a business owner with her husband for 9 years and owned a Pottery Studio.
She lives in Stuart with her husband Derrick and her son Austin. She enjoys walking on beaches, pottery painting, photography and reading books.
ARLENNE NEGRON, CONFERENCE CHAIRPERSON
Arlenne Negron is originally from Puerto Rico.
She moved to New Jersey for a better education and there she learned her third language, American Sign Language. Before teaching, she obtained a Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies from the University of South Florida and held the certification in Domestic Violence. She later received a Master’s in Teaching American Sign Language from the University of Northern Colorado in 2018 She has been teaching for five years and is currently teaching ASL courses at the University of South Florida and St. Petersburg College. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, reading books, traveling, and photography.