Timothy Oesterling serves as Board President for Salish Sea Deaf School. He graduated in 1996 from Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and currently works as an HVAC sheet metal foremen for BLYTHE.
In addition to his work at Salish Sea, Timothy also served the Northwest Washington Community of the Deaf as President for two years till the end of 2018.
He enjoys camping, hiking, off-roading, hunting and fishing but his favorite hobby is vehicle mechanics.
James “Dino” Christianson, Jr.
Board Vice President
James "Dino" Christianson, Jr.
James “Dino” Christianson, Jr. has been a board member for SSDS since August 2015 when the school founded. Dino has worked as Client Advocate with Hearing, Speech and Deaf Center (HSDC) office, located in Bellingham, since 2004.
He has also worked for Deaf Teen Leadership Camp (DTL) since 2009 as challenge course facilitator and currently camp co-director. In this role, he provides enriching leadership training and experiences for deaf and hard-of-hearing high school teenagers in the summer. He is currently a board member of National Association of the Deaf as the Region IV Representative.
He loves reading novels and collecting comic books, and having quality times with family, especially his two daughters.
Salish Sea Deaf School Director
Maria has served in her current role as Executive Director since 2016. She has worked in the Deaf Education field since 2003 including as a facilitator and director for Deaf Teen Leadership Camp between 2009 and 2017.
She was a board member for Northwest Washington Community of the Deaf from 2001 to 2004, Washington State Association of the Deaf from 2007 to 2010 and Board of Trustee for Washington Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth since 2013.
She enjoys camping, gardening, family road trips and spending time with her two daughters.
Cathy Schaeffer has been a member of the SSDS Board since 2017. Cathy, who is the President of OARS (Old Anacortes Rowing and Sailing Society), came to know and admire the SSDS students by developing a rowing program for the school.
The program developed into a rowing/Sailing STEM program that included classroom lessons and on the water experience. Cathy is a retired nurse practitioner who continues to organize and lead a patient support group.
Other favorite activities include fly fishing, ukulele jams and gardening.
Misty Flowers has served as the Salish Sea Deaf School Board of Directors treasurer for the past three years. She is a native of Washington State and has been employed by the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) since July 2005. Misty began as their business manager and now serves as Finance Director. At ADWAS, she manages a combined budget of approximately 1.4 – 1.9 million annually.
Misty graduated in June 2000 from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Option: Management.
Misty also voluntarily develops annual budgets for Deaf Spotlight organization in Seattle.
My first name is a state and my last name is a color but everyone calls me Ginny! I was born and raised in rural central Illinois. I attended Illinois School for the Deaf at age ten and graduated from high school. Then, I moved to Washington, D.C. to Gallaudet University and graduated with a bachelor's degree.
I traveled to South Africa, Namibia, Sweden, Panama, and Canada during my college years. I moved to the beautiful Pacific Northwest after graduation and realized I loved the area so I stayed for good. I graduated from Western Oregon University with a Masters degree in Deaf Education and began working in Deaf Education in 2017.
I call Washington home now and love the outdoors. I enjoy paddling in my kayak, camping, hiking, and going on wildflower hikes in the spring. That squirrel in the photo is named 'Mouth' and comes alive at night when students go home. Mouth had caused mischief and sent postcards of their travels to students over the summer.
Teacher / Educational Facilitator
On a personal note; I love being outside and try to get in all the opportunities I can to hike. I also am addicted to bright shoes, maybe you have already seen me around with eye popping blue and my favorite yellow shoes, already?! Feel free to ask me any questions you’d like, or reach out just to chat, I don't bite! I hope to meet you all, and I can’t wait to start a new school year with these young, smiling faces. Have a wonderful day! :)
Big hello! My name is Cathy Graffuis, and I have been with SSDS for the last 4 years as an educational facilitator (teacher) and am now also working within the administrative department as the Assistant to the Executive Director. I am extremely excited to start this new path on my Salish Sea Deaf School journey!
I have been in the field of Deaf Education my entire career, starting out as an Educational Interpreter 26 plus years ago (Certified), until I finally got my degree in Early Childhood Education! Deaf Education is my passion and a huge part of who I am. I love what I do, I love where I work, and I love who I work with! I am a MFD/CODA /SODA(Mother/Father deaf, Child of Deaf Adults, Sibling of Deaf Adults), with 4 Deaf Siblings and another Coda sister. I am so fortunate to come from a brilliant, crazy, full of love, wonderfully HUGE multi-generational Deaf family, including my youngest son! I may be able to “hear” but my heart and soul are “Deaf”.
I am married to a wonderful partner, Bob, and we have raised 4 amazing children together. Bob and I love to hang out on the water kayaking or crabbing, watch movies, and spend time with family and our two dogs. I love enjoy all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Come on by the school, I look forward to seeing you!
Thuy has served as a support staff since September 2019. Previously, she worked for The Market, LLC (formerly Brown & Cole, LLC) as an accounting clerk for 19 years in Bellingham, Washington.
She moved to Bellingham from Vietnam in 1990 when she was 15 years old and graduated from Washington School for the Deaf in Vancouver, WA in 1994.
She has been involved as a board member for Northwest Washington Community of the Deaf (NWWCD) for 20+ years.
Thuy enjoys camping, hiking with family and watching Asian films.