Home Page

2016 Award Recipients 

Educator of the Year

Joanna Hendrix

Joanna Hendrix graduated from California State University Fresno with her BA and Masters in Deaf Education, and has been a member of CALED for 17 years. Joanna has worked for the Santa Barbara County Education Office as a Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing for 15 years. She currently teaches preschool/kindergarten.

Joanna is a leader among her colleagues in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing program. She has served as a master teacher as well as a BTSA provider for new teachers. In 2005 she was selected as the Special Education Teacher of the Year by the Vocational Training Center in Santa Barbara County.

Joanna is passionate about her role in educating Deaf/Hard of Hearing students. She stands out as an educator due to her organization, creativity in the classroom, dynamic teaching, and her ability to reach each student. Her classroom is a bright, cheerful, and an engaging language-rich environment.

Joanna works as a strong advocate for both her students and families, connecting them to local resources and educating general education teachers and administrators about the needs of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students. Joanna also has a special way of connecting with each family she works with, creating a strong bond between the school and home.



Educational Interpreter of the Year

William “Bill” Sylliaasen-Lee

William “Bill” Sylliassen-Lee is currently an educational and freelance interpreter as well as the owner of Access Language, an interpreting agency which provides services to the surrounding Sacramento areas.

Bill interprets for students, teachers, instructional aides and other staff members. Not only does he interpret for students in the K-12 setting, he also makes sure the students understand and gets the correct information from their teachers and encourages students to advocate for themselves.

As the owner of his own interpreting agency, Bill assigns quality interpreters to the schools. He truly understands the importance of making sure students have access and when needed, he covers assignments himself so that the deaf and hard of hearing population are provided with the services they deserve.

Outside of the educational setting, Bill often interprets for community functions, organizes, plans and teaches interpreting workshops and also volunteered his services at the CAL-Ed Conference in 2010. 




Contributor of the Year

Senator Cathleen Galgiani

Senator Galgiani authored Senate Bill 210, which was supported by CAL-ED. SB 210, which is co-sponsored by the California Association of the Deaf and the California Coalition of Options Schools, requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to select benchmarks for tracking the progress of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in language and literacy development.

Because of Senator Galgiani contributions, California is the first and only state that has a law formally recognizing the value of ASL for Deaf children. With this enforcement of early-on language benchmarks, the linguistic outcomes of Deaf children will dramatically improve.  



Contributor of the Year

Matt Brink, Owner of Butte Publications, Inc.

Matt Brink is a successful publisher, leader, businessman, community volunteer, and philanthropist. In 1993, Matt formed his own company, Butte Publications, Inc. Matt’s vision at Butte Publications is that he does not limit the kinds of materials published. He listens carefully to others and realizes the need for up to date materials and resources for speech and hearing, special education, interpreters, early intervention, early childhood and many other areas. He helps raise awareness among many professionals of the availability of materials that teachers, professionals and parents need for their work with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population. Butte Publication also has an active and resourceful website which keeps individuals informed about national, state and regional conferences.

Matt has generously kept publishing the much needed materials in a very small market. He clearly sees that he is meeting the vital needs of teachers, parents and professionals. He promotes materials through extensive travels to conferences, workshops, in-service training sessions, schools, colleges and universities. Butte Publications, Inc. is a beacon for the low-incidence population of DHH and DHH with multiple disabilities.