MRS. VALERIE WARD

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, TEACHER OF AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE, JAPANESE AND SPANISH

Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language, University of Rochester
Bachelor of Arts in Japanese, University of Rochester
vmueller@theacademybuffalo.org

I have always loved learning about how different languages were structured, and how to properly say different phrases in other languages. In high school, I was eager for a new challenge, and Japanese seemed the perfect fit—a new alphabet (or three!), and a new culture. When I entered the University of Rochester, I was fortunate enough to travel to Japan to study abroad. Being immersed in the culture brought me a whole new perspective on life, as well as improving my speaking abilities. After having the experience of living in Japanese culture, I now have a bit of an innate sense of cultural phrases that are difficult to map onto English. I am thrilled to bring that mindset to the classroom at The Academy, where I hope to inspire my students through my own passion. As for American Sign Language, it has always fascinated me that deaf people could communicate in silence. Because Rochester has the largest population of deaf people in the country, I was able to learn natural ASL from skilled deaf professors. Again, the immersion in the language played a key role in my understanding of both the language and deaf culture. For this reason, my ASL classes at The Academy are taught entirely in silence. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and creative writing. Music is also a big part of my life—I have played the flute and piccolo since age 9. Music is a language in itself, and so I enjoy finding creative ways of expression. Working closely with the students at The Academy, I hope to inspire students to find their voice—in whatever language they can—and express themselves in a satisfying way. BACK TO STAFF PAGE