Our Deaf Mentors

Deaf Mentors

Meet our team of highly qualified and passionate staff who strive to provide families of deaf/hard of hearing children the tools they need to succeed in life, education, and the pursuit of happiness.

Cassandra Bell-Jones

Cassandra Bell-Jones

Deaf Mentor for Northern Arizona

When I first joined Deaf Mentor program in November 2019, this journey has been nothing but an inspiring and exciting journey for me! A little about me: I was deaf at the birth but did not identify me as deaf until about 3 months old. I’m an ASDB alumni. I used to live in dorms in ASDB from age 5 to 15 years old before I became a day student. I attended Gallaudet University before I got sick which forced me to return home. Before this job, I worked as Teaching Parent for the residential program of K- 12 in ASDB Tucson campus for 6 years. I joined Deaf Mentor program because I want to invest my efforts, my passion of ASL to this program and serve the families of deaf children of birth to age 5 with multi goals as such as to arise communication access between the families, their deaf family member and language acquisition for the children, provide the support in family dynamics and etc. I enjoyed seeing kids get excited to be able to communicate with their beloved parents! My desire is to see this program expand and its team and continue serving the families of deaf or H/H children in Arizona. .

Nicole Moots

Nicole Moots

Deaf Mentor for Central Phoenix

I joined the Deaf Mentor Program in December 2018. For the past 10 years, I worked various jobs working with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and hearing children from Birth to 18 years old. Also, I taught American Sign Language (ASL) at a community college for 6 years. As a Deaf Mentor, I serve families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in the Phoenix area. My passion is to work with children to increase their education, language and communication skills. I do this by teaching and sharing resources about ASL and Deaf culture and encourage parents to advocate for their child and help them understand their child’s right.

In addition to being a Deaf Mentor, I am a mother of 3 girls and enjoy being outdoor- hiking, mountain biking, swimming, and exploring new places.

Sabrena Lillybridge

Sabrena Lillybridge

Deaf Mentor for Southern Arizona

Hi my name is Sabrena Lillybridge I am a Deaf woman. I became Deaf when I was roughly three year old due to Spinal Meningitis. I was raised in a hearing home where the majority of the language spoken was English and Spanish. But ASL has been my personal primary language. I am currently employed at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind as a Instructional Aide.I have been working there for the past 5 years longside working for Southern Arizona Family Service, which is a company I’ve been with for 11 years. Most of my adult life I’ve worked with children and people with disabilities. I absolutely love teaching and helping out as many people as possible.
Estefenia Peña

Estefenia Peña

Deaf Mentor for Southern Arizona & Tucson

“It takes a village to raise a child” is a quote I sometimes share with families; especially when the child is Deaf or hard of hearing. Having worked with tens of families from diverse backgrounds over my 9 years as a Deaf Mentor, I remind families that they are not alone and that there is actually a whole new world out there eager to welcome them with open arms. That new world is the Deaf Community with its own beautiful language, history, and culture. It is my job as a Deaf Mentor to teach American Sign Language at each family’s own learning pace, share my personal stories growing up as a Latina Deaf woman, and share authentic, hard-to-find ASL resources. I also serve as a liaison between families and the Deaf Community whenever they are ready to meet amazing Deaf/HOH people and see in them their child’s potential to become happy and well-rounded bicultural individuals. It is my only wish to provide families a new way to see the world from a different lens.
Masa Nakama, M.A.

Masa Nakama, M.A.

School Counselor, M.A. Deaf Mentor for Northwest valley (Surprise, Peoria, Youngtown)

I am excited to serve the families of the Deaf Mentor Program, and I work as a school counselor for K-12 grades at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf and part-time as a Deaf Mentor. I am passionate about working with deaf children, identifying student needs, and developing programming to ensure student success. My students expressed their frustration at home, where they have no language or use gestures with their families. One of the reasons why I want to work as a Deaf Mentor to collaborate with family and educate/navigate them into our Deaf world. My ambition is to develop a healthy relationship between deaf children and their families.

Jennifer Hensley, Ph.D.

Jennifer Hensley, Ph.D.

Deaf Programs Director

As the Director of Deaf Programs I am tasked to support families and students outside of the traditional classroom setting, with special programs like the Deaf Mentor Program. In addition to families, I support ASDB’s partnership with the deaf community and other community organizations; I work with different groups to create and support new programs and opportunities for growth of deaf and hard of hearing children, throughout their childhood into adolescence (asdb.az.gov/CampLEAP), striving to promote healthy identity growth and development! It’s my goal to improve understanding and awareness of deaf related areas of interest inside and outside of the agency.

Joseph Ponte

Joseph Ponte

Deaf Mentor for East Valley, Southwest Valley (Buckeye, Goodyear)

As a Deaf Mentor, I’m given an opportunity to serve families who may otherwise find it difficult to navigate a world vastly different than a child with normal hearing. Coming from a small town in Massachusetts my parents had to learn and educate themselves in order to ensure I would receive all opportunities to be successful. With my upbringing and career arc, I have learned to see and understand the imperativeness of parents to be able to communicate with their children, have an understanding of Deaf Culture and have access to resources. My innate passion to serve and advocate has guided me through 20 years of service to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

Christina Vorreyer-Davis, M.S.

Christina Vorreyer-Davis, M.S.

Deaf Mentor Program Coordinator

As I enter my third year as the Deaf Mentor Program Coordinator, I strive to provide top quality services to the families through training, coaching, and mentoring the Deaf Mentors and seeking for funds to support the families and the deaf mentors’ learning opportunities. The journey has been nothing but exceeding beyond my expectations for success. Therefore, I am quite proud to be part of the Deaf Mentor Program. Also, I am pleased to share that we have certified visual communication and sign language assessment evaluators on the team to monitor young children’s American Sign Language development. I continue to strive to expand and improve the Deaf Mentor Program to best serve the families and their deaf/hard of hearing children from birth to five, especially with providing a language-rich environment and quality interaction during the first five years of a child’s life.
On a personal note, I am a mother of a first grader and a wife of 21 years to Mr. Kristopher Davis. We both enjoy outings with our family friends on weekends. My husband and I enjoy tending our vegetable garden and varieties of plants. Our lives are filled with interesting journeys and would love to welcome you into our lives.