Special Education

History of the NYS School for the Deaf

New York State School for the Deaf:
An insight into the history of our school
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Picture of Alphonso JohnsonSummer 1874 - Mr. Alphonso Johnson, a deaf graduate of the New York Institution for the Deaf and a teacher there for some time, came to Rome to establish a school. Mr. Johnson was assisted by Dr. Thomas Gallaudet, who later became a trustee of the school.

March 22, 1875 - The initial building, a rented house at 107 North Madison Street (now 515 North Madison Street) was formally opened, with an attendance of four pupils. Mr. Johnson was both principal and teacher.

September 1, 1875 - The first academic year of the school, then called the Central New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes, begins with Mr. Johnson as principal.

Picture of Edward Beverly NelsonSeptember 1, 1876 - Mr. Edward Beverly Nelson, a graduate of Harvard and for several years a teacher at the New York Institution, assumed the principalship.

1878 - Enrollment had reached nearly 100 pupils necessitating the ground breaking for additional permanent buildings.

Picture of Elbert A. Gruver1879 - The boys’ building was completed.

1881 - The girls’ building was completed.

1887 - The Legislature of New York State appropriated a $40,000 grant to the Institution for the construction of the main building (later named Gallaudet Hall); a hospital; a boiler house; and a principal’s residence.

Picture of Otis Allen BettsJanuary 7, 1890 - The main building was occupied for the first time.


August 1, 1909 -  Mr. Nelson retired as principal and was succeeded by Mr. Elbert A. Gruver, a graduate of Pennsylvania College.

Picture of John Butler HagueAugust 1, 1919 -  Mr. Gruver resigned as principal of the Institution to accept the Superintendency at the Iowa School for the Deaf and was succeeded by Mr. Otis Allen Betts, a teacher for 13 years at the Institution.

1931 - The school name was changed to become the Central New York School for the Deaf.

Picture of Fred Sparks, JrAugust 1, 1936 - Mr. Betts retired as principal of the school and was succeeded by Mr. John Butler Hague, who at the time was Chief of the Special School’s Bureau, State Education Department, Albany, New York.

December 20, 1946 - Mr. Hague retires. Mr. Fred Sparks, Jr., was appointed acting principal.

Picture of Charles G. RawlingsJanuary 20, 1947 - The position of principal was changed to that of Superintendent, and Mr. Sparks was appointed to the position, which he held until his resignation in 1961.

1961Mr. Charles G. Rawlings, a former principal at the school, was named Superintendent.

Picture of J. Jay FarmanJuly 1, 1963 - By act of State Legislature, the school becomes a state facility with powers transferred from a corporation to the jurisdiction of the State Education Department and the Board of Regents. The name of the school was changed to the New York State School for the Deaf.

Picture of Dr. Andrew RossettiMay 1965 -  Mr. Rawlings resigned as Superintendent.

August 1965 - Mr. J. Jay Farman, who had been serving as headmaster of the Austine School in Vermont, was appointed Superintendent.

Picture of Robert SeiboldFall 1965 - Plans began for the development of a new school campus. With a multimillion-dollar appropriation from the State Legislature, construction was begun on the preprimary building.

September 1967 - Preprimary building occupied.

Picture of Philip E. CronlundOctober 1967 - The Superintendent’s residence was completed.

1969 - The dormitory-infirmary complex was completed.

September 1971 - The administration-education complex completed.

Picture of Dana Chapman1972 – 1975  - Landscaping of school grounds and the development of outdoor recreation and athletic facilities.

1978 - Mr. Farnam retired as Superintendent and Dr. Andrew Rossetti serves as Acting Superintendent until the appointment of Mr. Robert Seibold who served from 1978 to 1980.

1980 -  Dr. Rossetti again served as Acting Superintendent.

Picture of Nancy ClarkJune 15, 1981Mr. Philip E. Cronlund is appointed as Superintendent.

August 1999  - Mr. Cronlund retires and Mr. Dana Chapman,
Head of the Secondary Educational Department, serves
in the position of Acting Superintendent.

Picture of Mr. Carey2000s

August 2000 - 2004  - Ms. Nancy Clark was appointed to the position of Superintendent. Ms. Clark made NYSSD history as being the first female Superintendent at NYSSD.

August 2004 - Mr. Greg Carey was appointed as Interim Superintendent.

Ms. Cariann RayDecember 2005 - Ms. Carriann Ray was appointed to the position of Superintendent.



September 2012 - Mr. Daniel Roberts was appointed to the position of Interim Superintendent.

March 2013 - Mr. Clifford Moses was appointed as Interim Superintendent.

August 2013 - Mr. David Hubman was appointed to the position of Superintendent.

Last Updated: April 18, 2016