Board of Directors

07-17-20: Call for Membership Director

About the NAIE Board

The NAIE Board will act on behalf of the association by actively participating in organizational planning and decision making, acting as trustees of the association assets, and ensuring a sustainable future by practicing sound, ethical, and legal governance.

The NAIE Bylaws outlines minimum qualifications to be a board member while the Policies and Procedures Manual (PPM) describes roles, responsibilities, and expertise necessary for each board position to fulfill NAIE’s mission. 

Board Members

Stephanie Zito, M.S., NIC

Stephanie (aka “Zito”) hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and currently works for the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC). After receiving her Bachelor’s in American Sign Language Interpreting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Ms. Zito went on to earn her Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She  has served on various local, state, and national boards/committees for over 10 years.  

Susie Zoah Spainhour, M.Ed., NIC
South Carolina 

Susie Zoah Spainhour resides in Starr, South Carolina where she has gained over 15 years of educational interpreting experience. Currently, Susie is the Project Coordinator for the South Carolina Educational Interpreting Center where she administers the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA), coordinates professional development, and provides mentoring services to all registered South Carolina Educational Interpreters. Susie holds a Masters of Education Divergent Learners degree from Columbia College and a Bachelor of Science Education Interpreting degree from the University of Cincinnati. Susie has served several years on the South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf board of directors. During her career, she has achieved several awards such as: Spartanburg’s Woman of the Year Award and Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf President’s Award.

Pat Himes, Colorado, AEI


Pat currently serves as an EIPA Proctor in the State of Colorado.  She also serves as a mentor for Educational Interpreters through the Colorado Department of Education and as a resource to CDE on issues related to Educational Interpreters.

Deborah Cates, Ph.D.


Dr. Cates (Deb) is the Sign Language Program Coordinator at the Iowa School for the Deaf. She oversees staff sign language development, the administration of the SLPI program, and educational interpreter professional development in the state of Iowa. Deb has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Davis, where she studied sign language structure and processing under Dr. David Corina. She has a long-time affiliation with Gallaudet University’s Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2). Her research interests include the relationship between form and meaning in signed languages, bilingual education, and the cognitive demands of simultaneous interpreting. She actively develops research-based practices for interpreter skill development. Deb also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Deaf Studies with an Interpreting Emphasis and a Master’s degree in Linguistics from California State University, Northridge. She has been in the field of educational interpreting in middle school, high school and university settings since 2003. She is a licensed interpreter in the state of Iowa with her EIPA score of 4.7 in Secondary PSE, as well as a licensed interpreter in the state of Nebraska with her Mid-America QAST Level V in Interpreting.

Angie OBleness, M.A., Ed:K-12

Angie is an interpreter with 30 years experience in a variety of settings ranging from Broadway, VRS, and community. The bulk of her experience is working with children in the K-12 setting. Angie received her MA in Interpreting Studies through Western Oregon University studying the self-efficacy of the interpreter in education. Angie is RID: K-12 certified and currently teaches at the Spokane Falls Community College and is the member director of the National Association of Interpreters in Education (NAIE). Angie loves to read and spend time with her husband and 2 children and enjoys working with practicing interpreters in education.

Tobi Gordon, B.A.Sc., Ed:K-12

Tobi is beginning her 10th year as an educational interpreter in an Oklahoma City metro public school district. She received her A.S. in American Sign Language and A.A.S. in Sign Language Interpreting from Oklahoma State University-OKC, her B.A.Sc. in Sign Language Interpreting from Siena Heights University and recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Missouri State University. Tobi has worked with practicum students from the OSU-OKC ITP for 7 years, serves as a mentor interpreter for the Oklahoma RID and is a proctor for the EIPA Written test.

Kristen Guynes, Ph.D., Ed:K-12

Kristen is a full-time instructor in the School of Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University. She began her professional career as an educational interpreter while obtaining her degrees in Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) education. She taught DHH students from pre-kindergarten to adult education. During the last 5 of those years, she also served as a public-school DHH program coordinator, working closely with educational interpreters across the district. She maintains her teaching credentials for multiple states and continues to teach K-12 students online. Her primary research area is related to roles and responsibilities of educational interpreters, and she advocates for a paradigm shift in which they are considered fully contributing educational team members.


See more about the History of NAIE