Executive Director – Dr. Jacqueline Simms
Dr. Simms became the Executive Director of Cleary School for the Deaf during the summer of 2013. Prior to coming to Cleary School for the Deaf, Dr. Simms was the Director of the Infant and Child Learning Center at Downstate Hospital/NYS Research Foundation for 10 years. She started her educational experience in the NYCDOE for 14 years acquiring a broad range of experience. Skills developed include supervision, staff development, community and staff communication initiatives, and curriculum development. This prepared her to meet the needs of various populations. She serves as an adjunct lecturer at Touro College and Brooklyn College. Dr. Simms received her doctor of education degree from LIU Post, and three Master’s degrees.
Jackie has great passion, energy, and most importantly, a love of children with special needs that is the hallmark of Cleary School.
Phone: (631) 588-0530 Ext: 216
Administrator of Pupil Personnel Services – Alise Becker-Santa
Mrs. Becker-Santa has served in several administrative roles prior to joining the team at Cleary. She has served as the prior Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Personnel for the East Islip School District. During those years, she learned about our programs and our students’ unique needs. She also has been a Middle School Principal and an Elementary Principal. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our school which helps to enhance our programs and school in numerous ways. Her ability to communicate in Spanish is also very helpful when communicating with our families.
Phone: (631) 224-2005 Ext. 2
Principal – Kathleen Kerzner
Mrs. Kathleen Kerzner has 40 years of experience in Deaf Education, Special Education and school leadership. She has a long career with programs that use both American Sign Language and Listening and Spoken Language. She has had her Listening and Spoken Language certification for over 10 years. In the spring of 2018, she became the principal of Cleary School for the Deaf. She has experience as a building principal as well as in other educational settings and programs for special needs children. Prior to Cleary, Mrs. Kerzner served as the principal of Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf for 18 years. Mrs. Kerzner has had extensive training and teaching experiences with children with dual diagnoses of ASD/ deafness. She has spent most of the last 20 years working with professionals across the country and abroad to develop literacy skills tailored to provide equal opportunities for students who are deaf and hard of hearing
Phone: (631) 588-0530 Ext. 212
Assistant Principal – Alison Hurley
Alison Hurley has been an educator for over 25 years. Twenty-three of these years were spent working with the deaf and hard of hearing population. She served as a physical education teacher in Manhattan and Manhasset before coming to Cleary School for the Deaf in 2000. She came to Cleary as a Physical Education and Exercise Physiology certified teacher.
During Alison’s years at Cleary she has had an active role in maintaining and updating our safety plan and training staff in behavior management. She also is one of our certified Thinking Maps trainers. She became Assistant Principal working with our Middle School and High School programs several years ago. Her passion for Cleary’s students and programs is evident in all undertakings.
Phone: (631) 224-2005 Ext. 3
Director of Operations – Nadeen Naj-Baldeo
Before joining the team at Cleary School for the Deaf, Nadeen worked for over 20 years at nonprofit organizations that provided services for individuals with developmental disabilities and those helping young teens become self-reliant.
Most recently, Nadeen was employed with The Fund for Public Schools. Inc. for six years ,which collaborates with the NYC Dept. of Education, to provide services to the 1.1 million students in NYC Public Schools.
Nadeen has provided support to The Fund’s entire team through her dedication to her work, attention to detail and overall sense of willingness to provide support with professionalism and focus.
Phone: (631) 588-0530 Ext. 237