Iowa School for the Deaf inducted two alumni into its hall of fame Saturday as part of its homecoming activities.
The induction ceremony was held at 11:30 a.m. in the Lied Multipurpose Complex community room.
Honorees have traditionally been nominated and voted in by ISD alumni. Inductees in recent years have included Loretta Derby, who assisted deaf customers and raised employee awareness of deaf needs as an employee of Northwestern Bell, worked at Communication Services for the Deaf, twice chaired the Iowa Association of the Deaf Conference and co-founded Council Bluffs Deaf Seniors; and Roy Chapman, who provided interpreting services and taught sign language and deaf culture in the Defiance, Ohio area.
Gruver, as the eighth ISD superintendent (1919–1925), had a major impact that continues to benefit ISD, according to a press release from the school. During his tenure, Gruver sought and succeeded in having ISD develop an athletic program and join local schools in interscholastic athletic competition.
Back in the early 1890s, football was banned from ISD after a brutal game. The ban continued until 1921, when Gruver re-established the ISD football team — once he was satisfied with the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s football safety rules. Nearly 100 years later, ISD’s football program still exists.
In 1920, Gruber started basketball teams for both the boys and girls. Through his efforts, ISD was accepted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association in 1922. After developing teams, he successfully sought to join local high school athletic leagues. ISD has enjoyed competitive games against public schools and schools for the deaf for years.
Having been a leader of other state schools for the deaf, Gruver was a seasoned administrator. In addition to the athletic program, he modernized the vocational program by adding more trades, hiring the school’s first vocational principal and vocational teachers, instead of shop foremen and forewomen.
He was instrumental in converting the hospital built in 1905 into Primary Hall, an all-purpose building for ISD primary students, by adding two new wings — one for a dormitory and the other for a dining room and classrooms.
Even though Gruver’s time at ISD spanned only five years, his reorganization skills promoted ISD’s lasting importance in deaf education.
Luanne Sara Barron
Luanne Sara Barron is a third-generation alumnae of Iowa School for the Deaf, graduating in 1978. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet University and later master’s degrees in deaf education from Western Maryland College and from the University of Kansas and Emporia State University, with educational administration endorsements.
Barron’s lifelong dream has been to teach and serve deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Her more than 32-year career in deaf education has included teaching at Model Secondary School for the Deaf and Iowa School for the Deaf.
For the past 25 years, she has held a variety of administrative positions at Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe, including high school principal, director of student services, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent.
In August 2018, the Kansas Board of Education voted unanimously to give her permanent status as the superintendent of KSD. Her long journey from classroom teacher to becoming the 29th superintendent of Kansas School for the Deaf has allowed her to attain her dream.
In her new leadership capacity, Barron said she “believes in a quality education for all students in Kansas, and my every intention is to ensure KSD continues to expand its programs. Every child has the right to a top-notch education and full access to language. KSD’s reputation is not only for its outstanding academic excellence and extracurricular programs but also for the positive and healthy relationships between staff and students.”