Aaron Kelstone

Born in Kansas, Aaron Kelstone attended Kansas School for the Deaf, where students would tutor each other in subjects that were their strong suits.

"I started helping with English, and my teachers predicted I would become a teacher later," he says. "I rebelled and avoided a teaching career to do other kinds of work, but my teachers were correct, and I became a teacher."

Kelstone recently successfully defended his dissertation and earned a doctoral degree in Education with a focus on curriculum leadership.

"I'm happy to have finished a goal that I set many years ago," he says. "It was an amazing journey for me."

Before giving in to his inevitable teaching career, Kelstone was a licensed practical nurse; helped establish a social service agency providing interpreting, counseling, job placement, relay services and community outreach; and worked with Cleveland Signstage Theatre as an actor, general manager and artistic director.

An associate professor in NTID's Cultural and Creative Studies Department, Kelstone began his career at RIT/NTID substitute teaching for now-retired professor Patrick Graybill.

"I enjoyed it a lot, and a year later the college contacted me and asked me to return," he says.

Kelstone also is the program director for NTID's Performing Arts program, serves as co-chair of the Signing in Public Spaces Committee and is a representative on the NTID Faculty Congress.

He soon will be a representative on the Performing Arts Task Force established by RIT Provost Jeremy Haefner in response to a university goal of increased performing arts programming throughout the campus.

"Many people think of the performing arts as an opportunity to be an actor, yet the technical side of performing arts—sets, lights, costumes, scenery—offer wonderful dependable careers for individuals," he says.

There also are management positions that can be rewarding and challenging career experiences within performing arts."

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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