Board of Directors
Rasheda Garcia, is a military wife and a mother of 2 young children. She has her Bachelor’s degree in American sign Language Interpreting and Master's degree in Deaf education from Bloomsburg University. Along with her degrees she also attained her supervisor certificate from Montclair State University. Rasheda has been teaching Deaf/Hard of Hearing students (K-12) for 15 years in various states (NJ, NYC and Alaska). In order to better understand how to support the improvement her Deaf/Hard of hearing students and get them to the level of their hearing peers, she taught in General Education for two years in Richmond, VA. In conjunction with teaching K-12 students, she also teaches American Sign Language at the collegiate level for Montclair State University and The College of New Jersey.
Her passion for her field thrives on best practices not only for her students, but for their family and their community. It is important to her that all aspects of her student’s lives are supported to ensure they succeed not only academically but globally.
In her spare time. Mrs. Garcia enjoys traveling, learning different languages and visiting Deaf schools around the world.
Melissa Screven, COO
Melissa Screven is a Sign Language Specialist and an Instructor of American Sign Language (ASL). She currently teaches ASL at both the secondary and collegiate level. She owes her love of ASL to her Deaf family members who have inspired a deep appreciation of the culture and language of the American Deaf community. She has been ensconced within the Deaf community for over 15 years in the areas of New York and New Jersey. To formally continue her studies in ASL, Ms. Screven obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in American Sign Language/English Interpreting from Bloomsburg University. As an ASL/English Interpreter, Ms. Screven specializes in the areas of Education and Medicine. Later, she received her Masters in Education in Foreign Language Pedagogy with the focus on teaching ASL as both a first language for deaf children and for students seeking to learn ASL as a second language.
In addition to having a K-12 certification in Teaching ASL as a World Language, Ms. Screven has held faculty and/or administrative appointments in Interpreter Training Programs, Deaf Studies, Deaf Education, Elementary Education, English as a Second Language, and Curriculum Writing (ASL and ESL).
In her spare time, Ms. Screven enjoys traveling with her family and visiting schools for the Deaf around the world.
Yanique Schwartz, Master Teacher Liaison
Yanique Schwartz's introduction to Deaf culture began in her high school choir in Jamaica, W.I. She developed a passion for learning Jamaican Sign Language (JSL), but she realized her true calling was teaching Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.
Although she began her collegiate career in Jamaica, she migrated to the US in search of more teaching opportunities post graduation.
Moving to the U.S. proved to be a huge culture shock and while her passion remained strong her confidence was weakened by the cultural challenges she faced. Therefore, she began teaching early childhood in attempt to acclimate herself to both the cultural dynamics and the educational differences.
Graduating from Kean University in 2007 she began her career in a very rapidly changing educational culture.
Yolanda Helms, Parent Advocate Liaison
Yolanda Helms is a mother of four children with varying special needs, She consistently advocates to ensure that her children receive appropriate education that meets their individual needs.
As a mother of a Deaf child with other needs, she has had to constantly advocate for her daughters academic and transition needs.
Yolanda's advocacy experience spans from New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.