BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — For our September 13th KX Conversation, Brooke Williams spoke with Donna Sorensen, the new superintendent for North Dakota’s School for the Deaf and Resource Center. During the conversation, Sorensen discussed what the school and resource center are, what she’s looking forward to, what resources are offered, and what she’s learned so far.

Here is a transcript from the interview:

Brooke: This week, North Dakota has a new superintendent for both the North Dakota School for the Deaf and the Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In today’s KX Conversation, we speak with Donna Sorensen who will now take over the job. Donna, thank you for being here.

Donna: Thank you for having me.

Brooke: Now first Donna, can you tell us a little about the school and resource center that you’ll be leading?

Donna: Sure, our school is located here in Devils Lake. We have a K-8 program here on campus. We have a residential program. Our high school students are mainstreamed both here in Devils Lake and across the state. We have adult services. We have birth to 5 services. So, we really do a lot here.

Brooke: And what are you looking forward to the most in this position?

Donna: I enjoy the K12 environment. I love early intervention and K12. I recently added a lot of adult services to my experience, so this position kind of combines all of those things into one job. And um, I have met the staff here and they are incredible. If you’ve never been here, please come and visit and see the great work they have been doing all along and I just look forward to being a small part of that.

Brooke: What are some of the resources that the school and the resource center offer?

Donna: Well, starting with early intervention, um, we assist parents in learning how to raise a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, um, getting them access to audiologists, to hearing technologies, to learning American Sign Language. Lots of things in early intervention to get a good foundation for future learning. We offer the K-8 education program with a curriculum very similar to what is offered in all the public schools in North Dakota. We offer interpreting services for those high school students here in Devils Lake. And we have Outreach Services for K12 students who are attending schools in their home environment, public schools. We also have adult services for those adults, both deaf or hard of hearing who grew up deaf or hard of hearing and who notice deficiencies in their hearing as they get older and don’t know what to do and so we offer those resources such as amplified telephones and things like that.

Brooke: And we were just chatting a few minutes ago that you have been all over from Alabama to Kenya and now North Dakota, so what have you learned about Deaf Education from your travels?

Donna: Um, wow, what have I learned? There is always more to learn. Um, I’m not deaf myself and I look to Deaf adults who have that lived experience to help me be a better educator and leader in this field. Um, they really are the experts, and everything changes over time. The language changes, access changes, technologies change and so always learning is the key.

Brooke: We can always learn from others.

Donna: Absolutely.

Brooke: Donna Sorensen, congrats on your new position and for joining us today.

Donna: Thank you for this time together.