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2025 Virtual Conference Presenters

Michelle Andros, M. Ed.

Michelle Andros is a certified Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Administrator and Educational Consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She currently serves as the Director of External Education at DePaul School for Hearing and Speech and is an adjunct professor at Robert Morris University.  Michelle has been in the field of deaf education for over 20 years, serving as a classroom teacher, an itinerant teacher, a consultant, and administrator.  She attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania for Deaf Education, Shenandoah University for Education Administration and Supervision and Slippery Rock University for her Special Education Supervisory Certificate.  She has dedicated her career to improving both students’ and teachers’ understanding of education in the field of deafness.  Michelle is the Director of Professional Outreach and Courses at Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss. She joined the SSCHL team in 2022. Reach Michelle at michelle@success4kidswhl.com.

Hannah Dostal, Ph.D.

Hannah Dostal, PhD is an Associate Professor of Reading Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and a Researcher in the Social Justice and Equity Research Cluster at the University of Connecticut. Hannah is a certified reading specialist and holds a Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in literacy studies and Deafness from the University of Tennessee, where she also earned both graduate and undergraduate degrees in education (MS, BS), American Sign Language interpreting (BS), and human services (BS).

Hannah has served as a middle school teacher and a writing intervention coordinator for students in grades K-12. She also has worked with school districts and professional associations to build capacity for implementing literacy practices that support the development of reading and writing. Hannah is currently a co-PI on a four-year Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) efficacy grant, and has served as a co-PI on an IES development grant and five state teacher quality grants. Her work has been featured at national and international conferences and in both national and internationally published books and journals.

Dawn Kidd, Ph.D.

Dawn Hoyt Kidd retired from the Texas School for the Deaf in 2022 after 30 years. There she taught high school mathematics, served as the curriculum specialist for K-12 mathematics, and taught middle school mathematics.  She currently teaches pre-service teachers at the Austin site of Lamar University.  She was one of the original members of the DeafTEC project started at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in 2011, and continues to be part of the DeafTEC Resource Center.  Her professional interests are providing quality teaching in mathematics and STEM for deaf/hh students, as well as the emphasis of language within math and STEM learning.  Outside of the classroom she enjoys kayaking, camping, reading, and mostly her family.

Christopher Montgomery, M.Ed., TVI

Chris Montgomery has worked in the field of deafblind education and visual impairment over 25 years. He began as a classroom teacher at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI). His classroom experience includes, working with a wide range of students who are visually impaired, blind, and deafblind, from emerging language children to those transitioning to an independent adulthood. In 2006, he began work as a Deafblind Education Consultant with the Texas Deafblind Project. During this time, he helped lead system change efforts to establish Teachers of Students who are Deafblind (TDB), including the development of Texas educator standards for TDB. Chris co-developed the Informal Functional Hearing Evaluation (IFHE), and has authored numerous other papers, journal articles, and websites including his most recent; Interaction and Communication for Children who are Deafblind. Other current work includes, co-leading the development of The Functional Vision Evaluation, Learning Media Assessment, Functional Tactile, and Communication Evaluation for students who are Deafblind (ETT-DB).

Most recently, Chris served as the Director of Education for Deafblind Programs, at Perkins School for the Blind, in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Amy Szarkowski, Ph.D.

Dr. Szarkowski is a psychologist who brings vast experience working in clinical and educational settings with, and in support of, children who are deaf and/or who have disabilities, as well as their families. Her research interests as they pertain to children who are deaf include: exploring the role of pragmatics, understanding and supporting families raising deaf children, developing and implementing effective early intervention, and fostering social and emotional functioning. Dr. Szarkowski is motivated by “fostering joy” and helping families and professionals to emphasize the joy in their respective journeys.

Teri Urban

Teri Urban Terese ‘Teri’ Urban lives with her husband, Mike and their three children in central Virginia. Her oldest, teenage child was identified at birth with bilateral sensorineural non-syndromic hearing loss, commonly known as Connexin 26. Her daughter’s genetic hearing loss was progressive, and she now utilizes bilateral cochlear implants and American Sign Language to understand the world around her. Teri’s passion for bringing deaf and hard of hearing children together and providing unbiased resources for families began in 2015 when she successfully resurrected Vermont Hands & Voices. After relocating to Virginia in 2016, she has continued her leadership efforts as Chair for Virginia Hands & Voices. In 2022, Teri accepted a partnership at Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss as Director of Advocacy and Parent Outreach.  In this role, she helps connect families to resources historically used by educators.  Teri is a member of numerous committees that focus on the overall success of deaf and hard of hearing children, such as the Virginia EHDI Advisory Committee, the Hanover County Public Schools Special Education Advisory Committee, the Virginia Deaf Blind Project Advisory Council and the National EHDI Parent to Parent Committee.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling the countryside, and spending time with loved ones. Reach Teri at teri@success4kidswhl.com.

Brenda Wellen, M.S

Brenda Wellen is newly retired Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in San Angelo, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in English at Angelo State University and completed her Master of Science in Communication Disorders with a specialty in Deaf Education from Texas Woman’s University. She has worked with students who are deaf or hard of hearing of all ages from birth to 21 for the last 30+ years in both a self-contained classroom and as an itinerant. She serves as a member of the Statewide Conference on Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing planning committee. She is also the event creator and coordinator of West Texas Deaf Olympics which is currently in its 20th year. Brenda serves as Executive Director of Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss. Brenda joined the SSCHL team in 2019. Reach Brenda at brenda@success4kidswhl.com.

Kimberly A. Wolbers, Ph.D.

Kimberly A. Wolbers, PhD is a professor in the Deaf studies program and is co-director of TPTE’s undergraduate studies programs. She earned her PhD from Michigan State University in 2007 with a focus in special education and literacy.

Her research has focused on the design and implementation of writing and language instruction for deaf and hard of hearing children and adolescents. She has conceptualized an approach called Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI), which aims to be responsive to the varied language needs of deaf learners.