Lisa Johnston

Lisa Johnston


  • M.A., University of Arizona, Signed Language Studies, 1995
  • B.A., Gallaudet University, Linguistics, 1991
Short Biography

Lisa Johnston holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from Gallaudet University. After completing her B.A. degree, she took 36 graduate credits in linguistics at Gallaudet, then completed a master’s degree in Sign Language Studies from the University of Arizona with a focus on Signed Language and Deaf studies, Curriculum Development and Pedagogy, and American Sign Language. Her thesis, which explored the process of acquiring ASL as a second language for teachers of deaf students in academic settings, was published in the Library of Congress.

Lisa’s major academic interests include ASL literature; Deaf culture; teaching ASL as a first and second language; linguistics of signed languages; ASL Assessment and Diagnostics; Curriculum Development and Pedagogy; and first and second language acquisition. She has taught courses at all levels of ASL, and created a number of courses.

Lisa holds Professional certification from the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) and has been a long-time ASLTA evaluator. She served on the Deaf Women of Rochester board, the Greater Rochester chapter of the American Sign Language Teachers Association, and the Education/Training subcommittee of the National Center for Deaf Health Research at the University of Rochester.

Prior to joining the faculty at NTID, Lisa taught at Gallaudet University; Riverside Community College, California; and the University of Arizona, Tucson. For ten years Lisa was a Senior Lecturer in the ASL Program at the University of Rochester, NY. While at the University of Rochester, Lisa co-developed and implemented a new ASL degree program. As Coordinator of the ASL program, Lisa hired and supervised adjunct instructors of ASL and taught a number of advanced courses:  “Teaching ASL as a Second Language;” “Narrative and Poetic Styles in ASL;” “Advanced ASL;” “Current Trends in Deaf-Related Careers;” “Assessment and Diagnosis of ASL Competence;” and “Methods of Teaching in ASL.” As part of her work in the ASL Program, Lisa also developed an ASL Teacher Certification track, which involved both creating curriculum and supervising students during their teaching internships.

In her current position, she teaches ASL courses to interpreting majors and serves as the Team Leader for ASL 2. In addition, she serves on the ASLIE Curriculum Committee and as advisor for the NTID ASL Club. Lisa is actively engaged in curriculum development as part of the ASLIE E-Curriculum initiative, working to incorporate student outcomes that meet the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ standards and implement best practices in using technology to teach ASL and assess ASL competency.

Lisa has given invited workshops and presentations on ASL, pedagogical methods and curricular resources for ASL teachers, and signed language assessment tools.

She enjoys travel and water-related activities. Her two children are being raised in combined Deaf, Greek, and American cultures.


First & second language acquisition; sociolinguistics of ASL; ASL Literature; Deaf culture; ASL assessment & diagnostics; and curriculum development and pedagogy


Professional Certification from the American Sign Language Teachers Association