Who We Are
Meet the Team
Lissa Ramirez-Stapleton, Ph.D.
Lissa Ramirez-Stapleton is a highly qualified educator, author, and founder of The Black Deaf Project. She's a passionate advocate for equity, access, and identity development, with a focus on Black Deaf communities. Lissa holds a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on Higher Education and Social Justice. She has worked extensively with Deaf College Students of Color and is actively involved with the Southern California Black Deaf Advocates organization. Lissa currently serves as an Associate Professor in Student Affairs at California State University, Fullerton, and resides in Southern California with her wife, Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton, and their daughter Kalia. Learn more on her personal website.
Member At Large
Ashlea Hayes is a talented actress who was born and raised in Compton, CA. Her passion for storytelling began as a child and led her to pursue acting in 2009. Ashlea joined the SAG-AFTRA union in 2011 and has been working diligently to perfect her craft ever since. In addition to her acting career, Ashlea has been actively involved in the Deaf community for 27 years. She has been a part of various community organizations with the goal of empowering the Deaf community and educating the Hearing community about Deaf Culture. When she's not busy volunteering or working on a new production, Ashlea can be found teaching ASL at Fusion Academy and El Camino College.
Member At Large
As a resident of Compton, CA, Michael Agyin was previously unaware of the daily challenges faced by the Deaf community. However, upon attending California State University Northridge, he discovered a passion for advocating for the Deaf and American Sign Language (ASL). Michael is committed to breaking down barriers between the Deaf and hearing communities and has been awarded the prestigious CSUN National Center on Deafness Outstanding Humanitarian Award for his work. He believes that ASL promotes self-confidence, cultural identity, and Deaf pride. Michael tirelessly advocates for accessibility and inclusion and founded the Compton ASL Club with the aim of teaching and spreading Sign Language from a BIPOC perspective in urban communities
Jaleesa Herrington is a dedicated higher education professional, currently serving as Program Manager for Student Involvement and Leadership at the University of Michigan-Flint. With her M.A. in Higher Education Leadership and BA in Deaf Studies, Jaleesa is committed to promoting student success and inspiring others to achieve their goals. She is a hard worker who takes pride in her work and strives to make a lasting impact on higher education. With her expertise in student involvement and leadership, Jaleesa is a valuable asset to the University of Michigan-Flint and the higher education community.
Flo Ashlee’ McHenry
Chair of the Board
Flo Ashlee' McHenry, a renowned American Sign Language Interpreter with impressive academic credentials, holding an M.A. in Higher Educational Leadership and a B.A. in Deaf Studies. Her research centers on the intersectionality of Deaf people of color, particularly within Black Deaf communities, and their access to higher education. McHenry's work is both inspiring and vital. Her expertise in American Sign Language interpretation, coupled with her leadership role, offers unique insights. Her commitment to improving access and equity in education for marginalized communities, including her focus on the challenges faced by Black Deaf individuals, demonstrates her dedication to driving positive change in this critical field.
Shana Gibbs is an accomplished advocate for education and inclusivity. She specializes in Text-to-ASL Translations, Higher Education, and Theatre, having completed prestigious training programs in these fields. Shana holds a Master's degree in Deaf Education and Educational Leadership, Administration, and policy from Boston University. She has taught in Interpreting Training Programs at several universities, including Northeastern University, University of Southern Maine, University of North Florida, and Framingham State University. Currently, Shana serves as the Director of Diversity and Special Programs at the American School for the Deaf. When not working, Shana enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time outdoors on her family's homestead in Upstate NY.Top of Form.