Three logos: Georgia Department of Education, Division of State Schools - Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, Georgia School for the Deaf, and Georgia Academy for the Blind

Atlanta Area School for the Deaf Announces Superintendent Search Finalists

The Atlanta Area School for the Deaf (AASD) and the Georgia Department of Education is pleased to announce the AASD Superintendent finalists: Ms. Dina Rae Padden, Mr. J. Jack Johnson, and Mr. Rayburn Boland. These finalist candidates were recommended by the AASD Superintendent Search Committee.

The finalist interviews are the next step in the search process, led by executive search firm Innivee Strategies, Inc. The interviews will take place on-site at the AASD campus in person over a two-day period, June 22 and 23. The finalist visits will include a tour of the campus, an interview, and a community event. The school and larger community will have an opportunity to meet all finalists during the Community Forum: Meet the AASD Superintendent Finalists event on June 23rd from 5:00-7:30 p.m. 

The Atlanta Area School for the Deaf and Georgia Department of Education wishes to recognize and thank the AASD Superintendent Search Committee members for their commitment and support of this process and to the many staff and community members who contributed to the search process.

About the Finalists:

Headshot of Dina PaddenMs. Dina Rae Padden

Dina Rae Padden is passionate about ensuring academic excellence and paving the way to post-graduate success whether in the trades, college, or owning businesses. As a Deaf person, Ms. Padden continues to serve the Deaf/HoH community beyond the K-12 school system through her financial education company’s services and curriculum development.

Ms. Padden came to the country as an immigrant, knowing no English. She worked in the corporate environment as an auditor and financial analyst before embarking on her journey in education, serving as a teacher, then a curriculum leader, and ultimately an assistant principal.

She earned a dual Bachelor of Science in Finance and Biology from Gallaudet University, an Educational Leadership certificate from Hood College, a Master’s in Deaf Education from Gallaudet, a Master’s in Business Administration from Rutgers, and she has completed her first year as a doctorate student at the University of North Florida Educational Leadership program. Ms. Padden, her spouse, and three-month-old son, as well as their three dogs, live in Florida.  She enjoys mountain biking, swimming, and reading.

Mr. J. Jack Johnson

Jason “Jack” Johnson, whose sign name is “J3,” is a Deaf leader in education with over twenty-five years of experience in various roles to guide young deaf or hard of hearing children to become contributing members of our society. Jack has served as a teacher, a school principal, a curriculum specialist, an interventionist, a trainer, a public speaker, and a director. A strong believer in the power of positive thinking in the workplace, Jack regularly connects with other individuals to empower creative solutions to challenging situations. 

With a heart of a teacher, Jack is passionate to mentor others to grow future leaders. Jack loves to laugh and thrives on spreading joy among his colleagues with his infectious smile. As a family man, Jack is devoted to Jennifer, his wife of 27 years, and to their three children, Caleb, Ethan, and Hannah. Jack enjoys a good Netflix binge but can also be found on long motorcycle rides on hilly country roads if he is not out hiking with his beloved sweetheart hunting for waterfalls.


Mr. Rayburn Boland

Rayburn is currently a secondary principal at Arkansas School for the Deaf. It is his seventh year; however, he has over 25 years of experience working in Deaf Education. For 15 years, Rayburn was a teacher of Deaf various from K-12 grade at Alabama School for the Deaf. Last seven years, Rayburn has been a Middle School English teacher.

After obtaining his Ed.S., he got his first principal job at Indiana School for the Deaf. After that, he was like an army, which moved around until he settled in Arkansas in 2015. Rayburn has worked at Louisiana School for the Deaf as principal and New York School for the Deaf as a curriculum director for a brief stint, then secondary principal. He is working on Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University. Rayburn resides with his wife, Elaine, and two sons in Little Rock.


About the Georgia Department of Education

The Georgia Department of Education oversees public education throughout the state, ensuring that laws and regulations pertaining to education are followed and that state and federal money appropriated for education is properly allocated to local school systems. The department also informs parents, teachers, government officials, and the media of education-related news.

About the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf

Atlanta Area School for the Deaf is a day school serving over 170 deaf/hard of hearing children ages 3 – 21 in the metro Atlanta area and beyond. AASD’s mission is to provide a language-rich, student-centered learning environment through America Sign Language and English for the purpose of empowering our students to live independent, fulfilling lives and to become productive, contributing members of society.

About Innivee Strategies, Inc.

Innivee Strategies, Inc. provides organizations with systemic frameworks that enable them to build a strong strategic direction toward their desired vision. We engage leaders and stakeholders in collaborating together to choose the best governance model, set leadership, staff, and volunteer expectations, align and optimize resources, and manage change. Innivee Strategies is a leading search firm in the recruitment and placement of executives and leaders of organizations that serve the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Our services also include Effective Governance, Organizational Assessment, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Executive Support Systems, Leadership Development, and Guided Facilitation. Please visit to learn about our clients and their testimonies about how our services have benefited their organizations.