About Us

Nour Ellakis has been working at Sign Language Center as a teacher and
tutor for two years. She graduated Lexington School for the Deaf. This
June, Nour will graduate from LaGuardia Community College with an
Associate degree in Childhood Education. She is planning to work
towards a double major degree in International Studies and Education.
In the future, Nour want to become a pre-school or elementary teacher
for the deaf in the United States of America. Her goal is to teach
children in other countries that need support and better education.
She will keep fighting for the rights of deaf and hard of hearing
children. Nour believes that a bilingual education for deaf and hard
of hearing children are important. Many deaf children are language
deprived, but this could be avoided if their hearing parents learned
sign language and exposed their children to sign language. Years ago,
hearing researchers and educators tried to manipulate language and
education to serve deaf and hard of hearing children, but there were
many limitations that prevented them from succeeding. If their
approach was changed from a monolingual to a bilingual approach more
deaf and hard of hearing children would be more confident using both
ASL and English and could be more successful in their educational and
personal lives. She loves to work with all people and teach them new

About Us / Teachers Bio

Welcome to the Sign Language Center (SLC) .

We are proud to introduce to you a company with a number of incredible instructors teaching American Sign Language. Our goal is to provide YOU the student, an enriching experience learning the beauty of ASL and Deaf culture; we welcome all levels from beginners to advanced students. We also offer one on one tutoring sessions, on site classes for corporations, and variety of workshops. 

Sign Language Center was established to bridge the communication gap between the hearing and the Deaf communities. We do this creating a comfortable and interactive environment. All of our instructors are "Native" Deaf individuals coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Our instructors strive to teach our students to have a better understanding about ASL and Deaf culture in a non-competitive, conversational setting. We hope you will join us in for a fun-filled learning experience!

Sign Language Center is located in the heart of New York City. We offer day, evening and weekend classes to fit your busy schedule. We at the Sign Language Center welcome you to come in and sign up for a class, or browse the "Class Schedule" page. We offer secure on line registration for your convenience. Whether you're a new student or a more experienced signer- we can help you take the next step in developing your ASL skills. 

Alan Roth

CEO of Sign Language Center (SLC of NY) since September 10, 2001 leading to our 15th year. Born hearing, became Deaf at the age of 4 from Spinal Meningitis. Born and raised in Long Island, NY.  Attended hearing school from K-12, during my college years attended NTID (National Technology Institute for the Deaf) In RIT , Rochester NY for a year then attended CSUN (California State University in Northridge) studied business administration. CSUN also had services for the Deaf including ASL interpreter. Immersed myself in the Deaf community and learned ASL since the age of 6. Founded SLC with my partner Brian Blais who is also Deaf, making us the only Deaf owned ASL school in the nation. We marked by CBS NYC to be one of 7 top language schools in NYC in 2012. 

Alexandria Wailes

Alexandria Wailes has been working for SLC for nearly a year and half. Aside from teaching ASL, she's a teaching artist with IDEAS, a docent for the Intrepid, LES Tenement Museum and an educator at the Whitney. Ms. Wailes is an actor and has worked on Broadway and upon stages around the world, in addition to making appearances on television and in independent films.

Brian Blais

Brian Blais has worked in education, teaching within many programs for over 20 years. He has been working at Sign Language Center since its inception 14 years ago. Brian was born and raised in Port Alberni, British Columbia Canada. He attended school at Jericho Hill Deaf Insititute in Vancouver and Gallaudet University. Brian worked at Lexington School for the Deaf,  Fanwood in White Plains, Clerc Group Home working w Deaf individuals with special needs.

Carmen King

Carmen King is currently an adjunct ASL instructor at SLC. She has more than 5 years of academic experience with prestigious institutions such as New York University , Columbia University, Helen Keller Service for the Blind and LaGuardia Community College. Her devoted advocate for the Deaf community is continually demonstrated by her involvement in many Deaf-oriented civic programs. Future students will benefit greatly by being able to exploit her rich and multi-layered foundation in ASL.

Patricia Ordonez

Patricia Ordonez has been tutoring and teaching at the Sign Language Center for two years. Everyone calls her “PattyO .” Patricia has professional degrees in both the fine arts and fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and the Lenior-Rhyne College in North Carolina. She currently works as an art educator at the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York while also designing costumes for several theater productions throughout New York City. Patricia has her own sustainable fashion design business and she gives your old used clothing a facelift, adding personal touches with a whole new vibe.  She'll repurpose nostalgic T-shirts or outdated dresses, transform a pair of jeans into a great new skirt, or dress you up in her sought-after original designs. Her site is on the web at:  www.pattyodesigns.com


Alan Abrams

Alan Abrams has been with SLC since 2011 and has had taught signs for Free University, a branch of the Rochester Institute of Technology.  In addition, he conducts a culinary workshop called "Cooking With a Twist" for SLC. He has a culinary arts degree from Newbury Culinary College and has run his own firm, "ATABLE" catering for the past 20 years. Alan says, "It's great to witness SLC students leaving class after building their sign language knowledge.  It makes me feel that I have done something good".  Just like Martha Stewart would say---"It is a good thing".


Garrett Zuercher


In addition to the courses he teaches at SLC, Garrett Zuercher works as a freelance ASL instructor in New York City for various organizations and also teaches English to Deaf students at LaGuardia Community College.  For the last several years, he has been part of a groundbreaking project with PepNET Northeast, teaching English long-distance via webcam to Deaf adults in remote areas of Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Massachusetts.  Also a professional Deaf actor, director, and playwright, Zuercher’s work has been seen on stages and screens around the world and he has served as an ASL consultant for many other productions.  He graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with degrees in both English and Theatre.


James Guido

JW Guido started teaching for SLC at the beginning of 2014. In addition to teaching ASL, he has been a professional actor for many years. JW is also the Artistic Director for the non-profit organization, New York Deaf Theatre, a position he has held for almost three years. While working as an actor/director, JW is also the ASL consultant for the production, using his studies and experience to oversee and assist all ASL translations. He graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology and New York University with degrees in Theatre and Educational Theatre. 

John McGinty

John McGinty has been teaching at SLC for one year. On the other hand, he is a deaf actor, who recently graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 2009 with a degree in Finance. Also, he will be interpreting two Broadway Across America's Jersey Boys and Mary Poppins in Boston in the year of 2011. He is thrilled to be working with different classes at SLC.

Shelly Guy

Shelly Guy has been a teacher at SLC for over a year.  Shelly is originally from Haifa, Israel and is fluent is ISL, Hebrew, ASL and English. She has a bachelors degree in Social work and a Masters degree in Deaf Education from University Of Northern
Colorado.  Shelly's passion for teaching American Sign Language began at The University of Anchorage
in Alaska. After numerous jobs throughout Alaska and Colorado she decided it was time to pursue her passion in New York. Her goal here is to expand and enrich her approach to teaching ASL and to spread awareness within the hearing community. She spends a great deal of her time at SLC helping to develop the current curriculum.

Robert DeMayo

Robert DeMayo, an actor, educator, and ASL consultant, is a Connecticut native. He currently resides in Philadelphia, PA. Robert is a crusader for sign language and teaches ASL Total Immersion programs in Connecticut and Arizona. Formerly, he taught ASL classes for all ages (Mommy & Me Sign Language to Adult Learning) at The Expressive Hand in Philadelphia, PA.  He have done a lot of ASL tutors and help them to meet the requirements from their school. He have work with interpreters at Juilliard school for training to learn the method of interpreting the Broadway shows.  Robert is currently teaching at Sign Language Center in New York City this year. 

Christina Cogswell

Christina Marie, Chrissy, has been working at Sign Language Center as teacher and tutor since October 2016. She is a deaf actor and dog walker who works primarily in New York City but lives in Connecticut. She was raised in Chicago, Illinois then moved to Rochester, NY for college, once she completed that she moved to West Hartford, CT to work for National Theatre of the Deaf for six seasons. She uses sign language as her native language and she also work as ASL coach for various of theatre companies. 

Karen Romano

Karen Romano is currently our teacher at SLC.  She is originally from New Jersey. She currently resides in New York City. She is fluent in ASL and English. She has a Bachelors degree in English Language Arts. She is currently studying for Masters in Deaf Education at Cuny Hunter College. She is expected to graduate with Masters in Deaf Education in May 2017. Karen has a passion for teaching.  Working at SLC helped her gain confidence in teaching. She enjoys working with people and helping them learn ASL Her goal is to help hearing community gain awareness about Deaf community and share Deaf culture. Karen has taught Karen has done a lot of ASL tutoring during her time at SLC and She enjoys working with her tutoring clients.

Robert Flaucher

Robert Flaucher was born deaf and went to Fremont School for the Deaf at a young age. He then enrolled in a mainstream school until graduation. He spent most of his life in the Bay Area California and moved to New York City to be close to his roots. He is now studying an MBA in Sustainability at Bard College. In his free time he enjoys socializing, traveling, and food! He's been at SLC for two years and is happy to be part of the team. ASL all the way! 

Robert Parcells

Robert J. Parcells Jr has been working for Sign Language Center as instructor for a year. Currently, He is a student at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, New York. On June 8th 2017, he will graduating from LaGuardia Community College to purse get Associate of Arts degree in Deaf Studies major. Then, he will planning to transfer to University to purse get BA degree in American Sign Language and Physical Education. He is very patient, enjoys working with hearing community to spread awareness about deaf community and culture. Since he working at SLC helped his gain knowledge, improve more knowledge of American Sign language and analyze himself how to teaching. On the other hand, he is a CrossFitter, who want to become certified as a CrossFit trainer because he wants all of the Deaf community to have access. Also, he wants to be involved in CrossFit competition. The trick to achieve your goals is stay focused and be patient, and keeps in mind that the most important thing is that you remember what you’re working towards. My deafness doesn’t hold me from achieving my goals!