Exclusive interviews with contemporary newsmakers                  

Angela McCaskill
Chief Diversity Officer, Gallaudet University

On January 3, Dr. Alan Hurwitz, President of Gallaudet University, appointed Dr. Angela McCaskill Deputy to the President and Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion. She is a well-known figure in the Deaf Community, having worked at Gallaudet as a teacher, administrator, and leader for 23 years. She made history on May 14, 2004, when she became the first African-American alumna of Gallaudet to earn a Ph.D. Her older sister, Carolyn, became the second one the following year. Both doctorates were in Special Education Administration.

She recounts her story:

I grew up in Mobile, Alabama. My parents were Willie McPherson (deceased) and Janie McCaskill, currently living in Mobile—both hearing. They never married; basically, I grew up in a single-parent household. I have three sisters and one brother. The first three are deaf and the last two are hearing. My oldest sister, Carolyn, is deaf and was the first Black Deaf Miss Gallaudet in 1976. She is a professor in the Department of ASL & Deaf Studies at Gallaudet and resides in Largo, Maryland. Jacqueline, who is also deaf, graduated from Gallaudet in 1978 and currently lives in Mobile. I am the third sibling and I am hard-of-hearing. My youngest sister, Sharrell, is hearing and currently works as the Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Officer at Gallaudet. My brother is the last sibling, also hearing, and currently resides in Mobile.

I initially attended segregated public schools in Mobile during the 1960s and ’70s. My first experience with integration occurred in middle school where I attended Azalea Middle School and W.P. Davidson High School, both predominately white schools. I was very active and ran track. Even though I have always had a passion for cheerleading, I was not allowed to try out for the cheerleading team due to household chores after school (cleaning, cooking, babysitting, etc.)

I graduated from Davidson High in May 1976 and immediately enrolled at Alabama State University during the summer. In May 1980, I received my Bachelor of Science Degree [in Social Work]. I was very active at ASU. I ran track, played on the softball team, and was a cheerleader. My experience at ASU was the best days of my life. I moved to Washington, D.C. in 1980, immediately after graduating from ASU, and moved in with Carolyn. This was the beginning of a new era for me. I grew as a person when I became immersed in Deaf culture and the Deaf world. It has been my life since. I love it! Even though I have two Deaf sisters, I didn’t know American Sign Language growing up. I was fluent with the manual alphabet. I begin to learn ASL and made many new deaf friends. Ruth Reed and Pamela Baldwin were the two deaf friends that I met upon arrival in Washington. They took me under their wings and taught me ASL. I am forever grateful for their friendship and support, and we remain friends to this day, 31 years later!

After arriving in D.C., I was hired to work at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. I worked at a variety of positions at Gallaudet as Assistant Principal, Program Manager, Coordinator of Residence Education and Academic Advisor, and several others. All helped me to grow as a higher-education professional.

In August 1981, I enrolled in the Social Work program at Howard University and graduated in May 1984 with a Master of Social Work degree.  After earning my MSW, I immediately began taking classes towards a doctoral degree.
I took one class here and there and increased the number of classes over time. I also married and had two sons.  My marriage ended when they were ages 2 and 3, so that slowed my progress towards working on my Ph.D. It took me 10 years to finish, but I graced the stage in May 2004! What matters most is not how long it took me to finish my degree, but that I completed it, considering all the things I was juggling.

I worked for the U.S. Department of Education from 2000 to 2007. My primary charge was to oversee the States’ implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). During my tenure there, I did not oversee the full No Child Left Behind Act. I did monitor a portion of it as it related to deaf children.  The goal was to ensure that all children with disabilities, including deaf children, participated in district-wide and statewide assessments, which I supported. Schools were reluctant to [comply with] this because they believed that not just deaf children but children with disabilities lowered their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). I was charged with making sure the schools were in compliance with the law. I think my role there helped from having a Deaf person’s perspective and understanding the importance for schools to meet the educational needs of Deaf and hard-of-hearing children and to ensure that whatever accommodations provided during the classroom instructions were also provided during the district-wide and state-wide assessments.

Today, Deaf children of color have better opportunities to achieve their education. There are more role models for Deaf children of color to emulate. It is critical that schools provide the tools for them because the world is becoming smaller and more globalized. Deaf and hard-of-hearing adults have to pass the torch to Deaf children of color. The future is theirs. In the not-so-distant future, I envision seeing an increase in the number of Deaf people of color as lawyers, politicians, administrators, teachers, faculty, authors, scientists, and even a university president! There are no limitations as to what they can achieve. I was the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. from Gallaudet University (2004) and Carolyn was the second (2005). Finally I would like to add that if you can conceive it, you can achieve it. It takes faith, hard work, perseverance, and determination to visualize your dream.

Deaf Person of the Year
Robert Davila
John Yeh
Luke Adams
Robert Davila
John Yeh
Luke Adams
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2019
January 2019
February 2019
March 2019
April 2019
May 2019
June 2018
Laurene E. Simms -  Deaf Person of Year phototab
Nadmionor Caisano phototab
Storm Smith phototab
Robb Dooling phototab
July 2019
August 2019
September 2019
October 2019
November 2019
December 2019
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2018
January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
May 2018
June 2018
July 2018
August 2018
September 2018
October 2018
November 2018
December 2018
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2017
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017
July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017
November 2017
December 2017
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2016
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2015
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2014
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2013
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
John Yeh
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2012
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
John Yeh
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2011
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
John Yeh
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2010
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
John Yeh
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2009
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
John Yeh
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2008
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
Robert Davila
Kevin Frost
Ed Bosson
Leon Lim
John Yeh
Marlee Matin
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
Deaf Person of the Month: archives 2007
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
Robert R. Davila
Lizzie Sorkin
E. Lynn Jacobowitz
Joey Baer
Donald Tinsley, Sr.
Howie Seago
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
Bernard Bragg
Alice Hagemeyer
Carole Lazorisak
Ben Soukup
Tony Saccente
Fred Beam

Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns you’d like to share?  Contact us at editor@deafpeople.com.
Copyright © 2007 - 2018 MSM Productions Ltd. All Rights Reserved.