The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the individuals who have been selected as finalists for the CSDB Superintendent role: Dr. Janet Dickinson, Chris Kaftan, and Tera Spangler, following a nationwide search by consulting firm Innivee Strategies and a first-round interview process.
More information will be provided regarding the second round of interviews soon. All the finalists will be present in person at the CSDB campus in Colorado Springs, CO. We anticipate the community will be able to meet the candidates and observe the final interviews in progress.
The CSDB Board website will post information with the meeting agenda and Zoom links at: #
The CSDB Board of Trustees expresses gratitude to the CSDB staff and community for their valuable insights. The CSDB Board of Trustees were able to take the information provided by our community which has enriched the search through their participation in facilitated focus groups and surveys and use that information to develop the CSDB leader profile. The unwavering dedication and support throughout this pivotal process and decision has been important. Special thanks are also extended to our partners at Innivee Strategies for their invaluable guidance and assistance.
Your involvement and commitment in shaping the future leadership of the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind are sincerely appreciated. We look forward to the continued collaboration of all stakeholders as we take this next significant step in selecting the future Superintendent who will contribute to the success and growth of our school.
Meet the Finalists
Dr. Janet Dickinson grew up loving school and dreaming of being a teacher. While in college, she was injured in a car accident resulting in a very quiet voice. Her limited ability to speak led her to a new love for American Sign Language and teaching Deaf students.
With a master’s degree in deaf education from Gallaudet University, she began her career in teaching. Soon after, she founded a chain of early childcare centers and established a private school in Pennsylvania. Dr. Dickinson taught at the University of Pittsburgh where she completed her doctorate in Administration and Policy Studies in Education.
Returning to her love of teaching, she taught at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) as a middle and high school literacy teacher, as well as serving as Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator supporting both the School for the Blind and the School for the Deaf. Since then, she has successfully led three wonderful schools, including Rocky Mountain Deaf School, New York School for the Deaf, and most recently serving eight years as the Superintendent of Arkansas School for the Deaf. While in Arkansas, she collaborated closely with the Arkansas School for the Blind and directly supervised departments serving both schools.
As an author, her book, Deaf Education: Voice of Children for Inclusion Settings, was published by Gallaudet University Press. Dr. Dickinson says her passion for children is emboldened by her own large deaf family, including a child with vision loss.
Christopher Kaftan’s career in education spans more than twenty years. Chris began as a high school Social Studies teacher at Model Secondary School for the Deaf. He went on to grow his educational leadership experience as Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Maryland School for the Deaf, then as Secondary Principal at Marie Philip School and most recently as The Learning Center for the Deaf’s Director of Student Services. During this time, Chris has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in education.
Since starting his career, Chris has put inclusion and innovation at the forefront of his values and actions. Chris is known for his unrelenting advocacy and for taking responsibility in ensuring all students receive an equitable and excellent education. In all the positions he has held, he has focused on operational excellence, ensuring the flow of instructional resources to classrooms, and supporting teachers and students.
As a model for continuous improvement, Chris fostered his professional growth by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and History and a Master’s degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University, as well as a graduate certification in Special Education Supervision and Administration from Johns Hopkins University. A father of two children and a dog dad, Chris is passionate about the outdoors, reading, and doing woodcraft projects.
Tera Spangler, born and raised in a small Iowa farming town, became Deaf at age 10. Graduating in 2000 with a double major in Elementary Education and Deaf Education from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, she initially taught preschool in Omaha. Relocating to Colorado Springs, she spent five years in Falcon School District 49 as an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf before earning her Masters in Deaf Education from the University of Northern Colorado.
In 2006, Tera joined The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, embarking on a multifaceted journey. She held various roles, including Elementary Teacher, Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator, Principal, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and presently serves as the Interim Superintendent. Alongside her professional roles, she pursued an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Oakland University.
Tera’s commitment to advocating for Deaf, Blind, and Deafblind students remains unwavering. Her leadership strives for language access and equitable opportunities, endeavoring to create educational environments where students have equal access to language and visual information.