The San Diego chapter of American Sign Language Teachers’ Association held its first general meeting on March 25, 2000, at the UCSD campus. The following SD ASLTA members were present:

Sharon Allen, Barbara Buchanan, Jennifer Carmean, Shannon Casey, Bill Clary, John Crouch, Olin Fortney, Pat Griffith, Joe Halcott, John Hill, Tom Humphries, Mary Kane, Simone Laubenthal, Yoon Lee, Peggy Lott, Chuck Mason, Shelby McKenzie, Jade Morris, Colleen Smith and Melissa Smith.

Founding members (Allen, Buchanan, Casey, Fortney, Griffith, Halcott, Humphries, Laubenthal and Lee) drafted the original by-laws for the organization on December 10, 1999. Laura Thomas, the chapter liaison from the national ASLTA office, reviewed the by-laws and reported that they were “great”!

Membership fees for the San Diego Chapter were set at $10 per year (National ASLTA membership was $25 at the time).

At the first SD ASLTA meeting, nominations were made for officers, a video about ASLTA certification was shown, and Tom Humphries provided a guest lecture about the history of professional ASL teacher organizations. After these presentations, a general election was held and the following officers were selected by the membership:

President:Yoon Lee
Vice President:Colleen Smith
Secretary:Sharon Allen
Treasurer:Pat Griffith
Bylaws Chair:William Clary and Joseph Halcott, co-chairs
Nominations Chair:Olin Fortney
Professional Development Chair:Peggy Swartzel Lott

Current Officers


Do you teach ASL to hearing students (at a K-12/college/university setting) or use ASL with deaf students?

Are you simply fascinated with the language itself?

Are you an interpreter or studying to become one?

Do you want to promote or to preserve the language?

Then, you’re at the right place. Please join this San Diego American Sign Language Teachers Association (SD ASLTA) organization. The fee is ONLY $10, and it’s good for a year (August 1st to July 31st the following year).

“Why,” you may ask, “should I join this organization? What’s in it for me? What are the benefits of being a member?”

The answer is simple: If you support the cause of this organization which is to promote and to preserve ASL through various means such as workshops, social gatherings, events, then it is a good reason for you to join!

To join, please click here for the membership form, or contact our treasurer at sdasltatreasurer@gmail.com. Thank you!


To download the bylaws (PDF), click here.


Quality American Sign Language instruction is highly valued and crucial to the preservation of American Sign Language (ASL) and the culture of Deaf People.

Article I – Name

The Organization shall be known as the San Diego Chapter of ASLTA, hereafter referred to as the San Diego Chapter.

Article II – Objectives

  1. To promote:
    • The official recognition of ASL as a language,
    • Professional quality in American Sign Language instruction, both regionally, statewide and in connection with the national ASLTA,
    • Provision of professional development for local ASL teachers,
    • Certification of American Sign Language instructors by ASLTA.
  2. To provide on effective avenue for the exchange of information regarding methods and materials in the instruction of American Sign Language locally.
  3. To function as a clearinghouse and network for the ASL teachers and programs locally.
  4. To support ASLTA objectives and activities.
  5. To represent the San Diego Chapter to the ASLTA.
  6. To provide input to the national ASLTA on standards and procedures for the teaching of American Sign Language.
  7. To develop and maintain a regional directory of certified and noncertified members and to assist the ASLTA in their development and maintenance of a directory.

Article III – Affiliation

The organization shall be a cooperating member of the ASLTA.

Article IV – Membership

  1. Membership in the San Diego Chapter shall be open to instructors of American Sign Language and other professionals interested in the teaching of American Sign Language.
  2. Dues for individual membership in San Diego Chapter shall be ten (10) dollars per year. Dues may be changed at a regular business meeting of the chapter.

Article V – Meetings

  1. Regular meetings open to all members shall be held at least two times per year.
  2. The Executive Board or the President may call special meetings open to all members at any time.
  3. Prior to any meeting, the president shall prepare a written agenda, which is to be attached to the meeting notice. In any meeting, any member may submit items for the agenda as time permits.
  4. Notice of each meeting shall be given in writing, and shall state the location, date and hour of the meeting. Notice of special meetings shall also include the purpose(s) for which they are being called, and shall indicate who is calling the meeting. Notice of any meeting shall be given personally, by email or by regular mail at least fourteen (14) days in advance.
  5. At any meeting, a Quorum shall consist of 25% of all current members but no less than 6 members.
  6. The President, or in her/his absence, the vice President, or in her/his absence, the Secretary, or in her/his absence, the treasurer shall preside at the meeting.

Article VI – Executive Board

  1. The Executive Board shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Chairperson of each standing committee. The Board shall be responsible for the day to day business of the San Diego Chapter between regular meetings.
  2. The President and a majority of the Executive Board shall be Deaf.
  3. All incoming and outgoing monies of the San Diego Chapter, notices of elections and meetings, dissemination of materials, and the like shall be handled through the Executive Board.
  4. The Executive Board shall elect a temporary officer to fill any vacancy on the Board, which may occur subject to the approval of the members at the next regular meeting of the San Diego Chapter, with the exception of the office of President, which shall be filled by the Vice President according Article IX, Section 2.
  5. The Executive Board must approve any financial expenditures, which are not budgeted items, up to $100.00. The members must approve any non-budgeted expenditures over $100.00.

Article VII – Committees

  1. Standing committees shall be the Professional Development, By-laws, and Nominating Committees.
  2. Upon approval of the Executive Board, the President shall appoint committee chairs. The President may select members of any committee or may defer the selection to the committee chair. Each committee chair shall give those names to the Executive Board.
  3. Standing committees shall consist of at least two (2) current members.
  4. Special committees may be appointed by the President with approval of the Executive Board on an as-needed basis.
  5. Committees shall submit a report of their activities at regular meetings.

Article VIII – Officers

  1. Officers of this organization shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
  2. Officers shall be elected every two (2) years by ballot at the first meeting of the year.
  3. During the election meeting, a slate of nominees shall be proposed by the Nominating Committee and additional nominations shall be accepted from current members from the floor.
  4. Any current member with ASLTA certification or a minimum of two (2) years of American Sign Language teaching experience currently active in the field of American Sign Language instruction shall be eligible to become a candidate for office. Any member who is absent due to reasons of emergency may be nominated if her/his written acceptance is submitted.
  5. The immediate past President shall serve in a non-voting ex-officio capacity on the Executive Board for up to one (1) year following the end of her/his term.
  6. The President must be a member in good standing of ASLTA.

Article IX – Duties of Officers

  1. The President shall preside at all meetings of the San Diego Chapter and the Executive Board. S/he shall have a working knowledge of the affairs of the San Diego Chapter and serve as a liaison between ASLTA and the San Diego Chapter.
  2. The Vice President shall serve in the absence of the President. In the event of a vacancy in the office of President prior to the expiration of her/his term, the Vice-President shall succeed to that office. S/he shall be the liaison between the Executive Board and the Committees of the San Diego Chapter, and shall oversee committee activities.
  3. The Secretary shall record the minutes of all San Diego Chapter and Executive Board proceedings. S/he shall handle San Diego Chapter correspondence and inquiries as assigned by the President.
  4. The treasurer shall monitor the financial affairs of the organization and submit a report at each regular meeting. S/he shall surrender to her/his successor all records belonging to the San Diego Chapter within thirty (30) days after election.

Article X – Financial Activities

  1. No funds shall be raised or solicited on behalf of the San Diego Chapter without the consent of the Executive Board and/or by vote of the members.
  2. No indebtedness shall be contracted on behalf of the San Diego Chapter without consent of the Executive Board and/or the members.
  3. The Executive Board may accept, on behalf of the San Diego Chapter, any contribution, gift, bequest or device for the general or special purposes of the San Diego Chapter, and shall notify the membership of such events.

Article XI – Amendments

  1. The Bylaws of the San Diego Chapter may be amended or altered by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of members present at a meeting open to all members. Notification of the proposed amendment(s) shall be mailed to all members in good standing at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting at which the vote will be taken.
  2. The Executive Board shall have the authority to make changes to the By-laws in order to comply with the By-laws of the ASLTA. However, changes which may substantially affect the By-laws of the San Diego ASLTA must be presented to the membership according to Section 1.