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Who We Are

Since 1980, we have taken our collective commitment to this field and its advancement seriously by compassionately crafting networks, programs and insights. In 2001, we doubled down on this commitment when OPTION Schools was incorporated as a nonprofit organization. Nine years later we proudly launched the LSL Data Repository to quantify our work and impact. 

With growing support from schools, programs, higher education institutions and professionals, we continue to bring together experts dedicated to shepherding LSL leaders forward, ushering in the next generation of innovation and positive outcomes. 

1980 - Dr. Wallace Bruce (Sunshine Cottage) devised the idea to bring private Listening and Spoken Language schools together to share resources and overcome challenges.

1981 - George Fellendorf obtained a small grant for the purpose of inviting the directors of auditory-oral programs to meet. The organization was named OPTION Schools.

This original group of founders and key individuals included:

  • Sr. Joyce Buckler (St. Joseph’s Institute for the Deaf)
  • Edgar Lowell (John Tracey Clinic)
  • Bill Blevins (Clarke School for the Deaf)
  • Doris Leckie (Montreal Oral School for the Deaf)
  • Etta Fisher (Oralingua School for the Hearing Impaired)
  • Kathy Sussman (Jean Weingarten Peninsula Oral School)
  • Karen Rossi (Omaha Hearing School for Children)

2001 - OPTION Schools incorporated as a 501(c)3, non-profit organization.

2008 - The first full-time staff (Co-Executive Directors) are hired to work closely with the Executive Board and the membership to continue the excellence of service and high standards envisioned by the founders.

2010 - With systems in place, OPTION Schools, Inc. returned to its reliance on a volunteer board with administrative support.

2010 - The Listening and Spoken Language Data Repository (LSL-DR) is launched.

2013 - OPTION Schools, Inc. launches a newly redesigned website.


 - OPTION's Annual Meeting was held in collaboration with the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD). The joint sessions grew out of the work of Common Ground, a collaborative project between OPTION and CEASD.

 - OPTION joins social media with it's own Facebook page.

2019 - Re-branding OPTION Schools, Inc. with a new logo

2020 - OPTION convened thought leaders to develop best practices for operations and service delivery during COVID-19. 

  • Decibel - Regeneron Logo
    Decibel - Regeneron Logo