By DANIELLE BANG
The silence in UHS’s administration office beckons anyone coming through the door to be quiet. In the middle is a long, narrow hallway connected to many offices, ending with the DHH administration office. The openness and neatness of the DHH administration office welcomes its visitors. At the right is Mr. David Longo (Admin.)’s office, the new DHH Principal.
Longo is fairly new to UHS, as he started his term during November of 2015. He has worked at many different schools for the deaf all over the United States, the most recent being the New Mexico School of the Deaf in Santa Fe.
Initially trained as a school psychologist, Longo is currently getting his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of New Mexico. He has experience in working in administrative roles. “Most recently, I’ve coordinated all the support services like speech and language services, occupational therapy, audiology as well as admissions at the School of the Deaf in Santa Fe,” said Longo.
Longo’s current vision is to make sure students leave the DHH program with some understanding of what their strengths and interests are so that the other DHH staff have the opportunity to help equip each of their students with the skills needed to achieve their goals.
Ever since he was twelve years-old, Longo has known sign language. “I have a deaf brother who is younger than me,” said Longo. “That’s how I got involved in the deaf community in general.” He then described how he’d always been involved in schools and summer jobs related to deaf education. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he got a job as a teacher’s assistant for a school for the deaf and recognized his love for deaf education right away.
Longo has a passion in trying to help deaf students pass a statistically common educational barrier, in general. “The typical deaf student graduates high school with about a fourth grade reading level. It’s always been a passion for me to get students above that ceiling or that block,” said Longo. He described how that grade level was approximately when students went from “learning to read to reading to learn.” He continued, “once you get past that, your world gets a lot more abstract.”
As of now, due to the short time Longo has been at UHS, his primary goal is getting to know the school. Longo said, “I’ve only been here for two months, so I’m just trying to introduce myself to the team, the students and families to develop a trust in what I’m aiming to do.” (This interview took place in January).