About Heather

I was born and raised in the Central Area of Seattle, WA. I received my B.A. from The Evergreen State College in 1991, my Interpreting Training Certificate from American Sign Language and Interpreting School of Seattle in 2003, and Masters and Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Washington in 2007 and 2010 respectfully.

My graduate school research explored how individuals in the Pacific Northwest, who identify as African American and Deaf, navigate their many cultural identities.  One of the primary questions explored was do these individuals feel more affinity to the hearing African American community using hearing African American vernacular, or to the white Deaf community using mainstream American Sign Language or do these individuals create their own unique African American Deaf community.

The impetus for becoming a consultant and working with Independent Schools around issues race/ethnicity and privilege came from a former Rainier Scholar student of mine who attended a local Independent School.  She shared with me that a classmate of hers, who was assigned to work with her, refused to because of her race/ethnicity and gender. When she went to tell the teacher what happened the teacher simply told her to work alone. The student was upset that the teacher did not confront the student or the situation. It was at that point that I decided to work with teachers at Independent Schools to help them become more comfortable with addressing issues of Racial Literacy head on.

Since that time I have worked with several local schools and organizations. What keeps me passionate about this work is to see faculty and staff gain the necessary skills, and to have students thrive in any educational environment.