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Maryland School for the Deaf Announces Superintendent Finalists


The Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the following individuals as finalists for the position of  Superintendent of MSD: Ms. Taiyabah Naeem and Mr. John A. Serrano. After thoroughly reviewing their qualifications and experience and meeting with the candidates in interviews,  Ms. Naeem and Mr. Serrano were enthusiastically recommended by the MSD Superintendent Search Committee.

The next step in the process is for the finalists to visit MSD campuses and interview with the Board of Trustees. These activities will occur in person over three days of December 13, 14, and 15. The finalist visits will include campus tours and meetings with students, staff, and administrators. In addition, the school and the larger community will have an opportunity to meet and learn about each finalist during a community forum held on the evenings of December 13 and 14.  Candidate interviews with the Board will be held the morning following their respective community forum on December 14 and 15.

The Maryland School for the Deaf Board of Trustees wishes to recognize and thank the MSD Superintendent Search Committee members for their commitment to and support of this process,  as well as the MSD staff and community members who are contributing to the search process.  Additionally, we are grateful for the guidance and assistance from our partners from the executive search firm Innivee Strategies, Inc.

About the Finalists:

Taiyabah Naeem (she/her) has worked for several years as a teacher, project manager, researcher, and education leader. She has a wealth of experience developing policies for school organizations and several research publications. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, to Pakistani Punjabi immigrant parents, Taiyabah worked as the Lead Science Teacher at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. Later, she worked as a project manager at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. Taiyabah currently works as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, supporting educators, staff, and deaf and hard-of-hearing students from all races, ethnicities, and language backgrounds. Taiyabah volunteers at Cascadia Deaf Nation, where she shares her expertise and knowledge on the systematic health inequities and their impact on Deaf, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. Taiyabah holds two bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry with a minor in Psychology, University Honors from Gallaudet University, a Master of Science degree in Deaf Education from McDaniel College, and a Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University. Her career is founded on the pedagogies of equitable leadership, inclusiveness, and student and family-centered learning.


John A. Serrano (he/him) is currently the Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Gallaudet University. Prior to his current position at Gallaudet University, he served as the school-level superintendent of Atlanta Area School for the Deaf (AASD), a day school serving over 150 Deaf/DHH students in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, he worked at the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) for thirteen years. At TSD, he began his career as an elementary teacher before transitioning to administrative leadership roles such as the High School Principal for four years and the Director of Academic Affairs for five years. A New England native, he graduated from American School for the Deaf (ASD) and attended Gallaudet University, majoring in Elementary Education and Deaf Education. He currently serves as a governing board member for both the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) and the American School for the Deaf. John A. resides in Maryland with his wife, Melly, and three children, Natalia (14), AJ (13), and Matthew (6).



Please watch for updates about the Maryland School for the Deaf Superintendent search at the following website:

If you have questions about the search process, please contact Innivee Strategies at

About Maryland School for the Deaf
Founded in 1868, Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) is a state-funded educational institution serving deaf and hard-of-hearing students from birth to 21 years. MSD serves and supports over 450 students and their families at two campuses: Frederick, established in 1868, and Columbia, established in 1973. The MSD strives to provide an equitable and exemplary education for all students in a nurturing, engaging, and challenging environment, ensuring that students achieve personal excellence and responsible lifelong learners. The mission of MSD is to provide American Sign Language (ASL) and English language models for early acquisition and to provide linguistically enriched ASL and English environments for the attainment of fluency of both languages. The Board of Trustees of the Maryland School for the Deaf is the policy-making body responsible for the school’s governance and strategic operations and oversees the superintendent’s work.

About Innivee Strategies, Inc.
Innivee Strategies, Inc. provides organizations with systemic frameworks that enable them to build strong strategic decisions toward their desired vision. We engage leaders and stakeholders in collaborating together to choose the best governance model, set leadership, staff, and volunteer expectations, align and optimize resources, and manage change. Innivee Strategies is a leading search firm in the recruitment and placement of executives and leaders of organizations that serve the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Our services also include Effective Governance, Organizational Assessment, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Executive Support Systems, Leadership Development, and Guided Facilitation. Please visit our website at to learn about our clients and their testimonies about how our services have benefited their organizations.