James “Dino” Christianson
Board Vice President
Salish Sea Deaf School Director
Speech Language Pathologist
Tonda has been at SSDS since the beginning. She is a language facilitator during classroom time for all students and also sees students separately to work on whatever specific speech, language or swallowing goals they may have. Tonda has 22 years of experience working in Deaf Education, as well as 15 years of experience working in the healthcare setting (hospitals, etc).
She is passionate about making sure that language is available and accessible to ALL children at as early an age as possible. She is a trained Auditory-Verbal Therapist and utilizes many different approaches to engage and succeed with students in articulation, language, and swallowing therapies.Most recently, Tonda has given back to her community by mentoring/coaching Team 3238 The Cyborg Ferrets, a FIRST Robotics Championship (FRC) team for the past 6 years, as well as coaching Team 27979 the Purple Orcas, a FIRST Lego League (FLL) team for SSDS students two years ago and says that her time with FIRST Robotics is the most worthwhile extra-curricular activity she has ever been involved with. Currently she is helping with community service projects associated with her son’s school.
Tonda’s interests include reading, scrapbooking, Pop-Up books, reading, walking, gardening, reading, getting involved in her son’s lives, hanging out with her husband, camping, reading, jigsaw puzzles, Lake Powell and did I mention reading??
Cathy has been employed at Salish Sea Deaf School as an Educational Facilitator as well as an on-site Certified Interpreter since 2016. She has been in the field of Deaf Education in one capacity or another for thirty years. She started working as a Para-educator in a Deaf preschool at the age of 18, and now has a degree in Early Childhood Education. She says she is always eager to learn more, which is evident in the abundant hours of workshops, trainings, and college courses that she has enrolled in which all revolve around educating children.
Cathy is a part of a large, multi-generational Deaf family, where both of her parents are Deaf, as well as three brothers, and one of 2 sisters. She has numerous extended Deaf family members scattered from coast to coast. ASL is Cathy’s first language. She grew up in the Deaf World, and continues to thrive there today.
Cathy and her husband have 4 amazing children from the ages of 16 to 27. Their youngest son is Deaf and is part of the inaugural SSDS class that started in 2015 when the school opened.
Cathy enjoys volunteering her time to help out at the school’s community sign class, she has served on 3 separate Board of Directors over the years, volunteered within all of her children’s school classrooms as they were growing up, when she was not homeschooling. She is one of the core founders and a part of the grassroots movements to get Salish Sea Deaf School established. Her hobbies include reading, playing video games with her sons, curling up to watch a good movie, hiking, boating, and looking for beach glass.
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.
Jenna is currently an Educational Facilitator at Salish Sea Deaf School (SSDS) in the Elementary Pod program. This will be her second year working at SSDS. Before coming to SSDS she spent 7 years working in Special Education and has been an asset and integral member of the educational team with her specialty training in Behavior Management, Data Collection and Curriculum Modification. Jenna brings all these skills to SSDS along with her positivity, nurturing demeanor and creativity.
Prior to moving to Washington, Jenna spent 3 years volunteering for a wildlife rescue organization, including establishing an abandoned newborn squirrel nursery in her own home, and working at their bird rehabilitation center. Jenna also contributed many volunteer hours providing childcare and holiday party activities for a non-profit organization called “Deaf Connection” which provides opportunities for families with deaf and hard of hearing children to connect with one another and to other Deaf community members. This was particularly meaningful because Jenna grew up with many Deaf family members. Her little brother is Deaf, as are her grandparents, 6 aunts/uncles, and many cousins.
When not in the classroom Jenna enjoys spending time with friends and family. You can often find her on her paddle board at Lake Whatcom, or hiking on the vast trails Bellingham has to offer. She also enjoys playing video games and board games.