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Joni Kerby
Teacher and Innovator

Elena Moran

        This Spring marks the end of an era for the American Sign Language, ASL, teacher at our school. Since the fall of 2002, Joni Kerby has worked hard teaching and positively influencing the students of Ayala. Kerby has worked diligently in making ASL the amazing program we have today and changing the lives of those she teaches. Said Kerby, “I’ve been lucky to have so many memorable moments as a teacher.  I love coming to work every day and everyday something great happens. Whether it’s a comment, a light-bulb coming on in a student’s mind, student’s showing the same passion I have for the language; everything is special.”

          For years, Kerby dreamed of becoming a teacher. Said Kerby, “My grandma and several aunts were teachers and I always wanted to follow in their footsteps.” She received a degree from Cal State Northridge and began teaching Deaf students at the California School for the Deaf in Riverside. Then, in 2002, she was offered a job on our campus to start the ASL program. That is when it all began. In the beginning, she started with only a few students. Since then, the class has been in high demand. Many of her students have gone on to study ASL and Deaf Studies in college and eventually obtain careers in the field. 

           Kerby looks forward to her future as a retiree. Retirement will give her more time to spend with her family, especially her ten-month old grandson, Axel. Kerby has had such an impactful influence on both her students and the Deaf community as a whole. Her hard work and dedication for the ASL program will be remembered fondly for years to come. She looks admiringly on the memories she’s had teaching at Ayala and looks forward to what the future holds. 

        A final message Kerby had for her students was, “Take advantage of using your skills. No matter if it’s teaching baby signs or making someone’s day by signing a few words to them.”
         We’ll miss you Mrs. Kerby, but we are excited for you to finally have some time to spend on yourself and your family. We know that you will continue to do great things for many others. Have a happy retirement!