Creating A Place of Educational Freedom and Justice for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Who I am What I do

Following the model form of organization for not-for-profit, independent schools, CAD’s Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of the school in accordance with its mission, bylaws and the Texas law regulating nonprofit organizations.

The Board of Trustees of the Christian Academy of the Deaf is headed by Board Chair Lewis Lummer, an experienced Deaf educator and current professor in the Deaf education program at Baylor University.


Ben Saage

Ben Saage and his wife Audrey have been married for twenty years and have two children.  They live in Riesel, a small, rural town east of Waco in Central Texas. Ben and Audrey’s children attend school at Riesel I.S.D. Ben’s hobbies include camping, hunting, and fishing. The family raises goats and chickens, and have a small garden on their acreage in the country. Ben graduated from Baylor University with his Bachelors and Masters degrees in education. He also received additional certifications in education through Sul Ross State University, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Tarleton State University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. The early part of his career was spent teaching emotionally disturbed students at several residential treatment centers. Ben then moved into school administration serving in roles as a Director of Federal programs, Associate Superintendent for Finance and Operations, and finally as Executive Director over school transportation, special education, and alternative education programs. After retirement in 2014, Ben works part-time as the Coordinator for the Regional Day School Program for the Deaf with the Waco I.S.D. He considers his current position to be the most rewarding, allowing him to pull together experience in special education and school administration to serve the deaf and hard of hearing students in the Waco and surrounding communities. Ben continues to serve on several boards of directors including the Central Texas Education Network at the Texas State Technical College, Chalk Bluff Water Supply Corporation, Riesel ISD School Board, and Hoops for Hope International, a local mission organization reaching children around the world. Ben is excited to bring these experiences to the Christian Academy for the Deaf as we work to develop this new educational opportunity for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Wayne Hampton

Wayne Hampton, a native of Houston, Texas, graduated from Baylor University in 1977 with a BS, majoring in Geology with a minor in History. Mr. Hampton taught Geology and American History at Midway High School for 5 years before going back to graduate school to work toward an MBA degree. His career took him to Korea and Japan for 8 years where he taught various business and management courses for the U.S. military troops stationed throughout Japan. After returning to the United States in 1991, Wayne and his wife Akiko, with the backing of an angel investor/partner, started Waco Composites in 1996. Waco Composites specialized in the manufacture of bullet resisting building products and became one of the leaders in this industry. Waco Composites up-armored more than 7,000 military vehicles for the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004 until 2012. Mr. Hampton retired from his career as President of Waco Composites in 2015 and is currently an adjunct professor of Business for McLennan Community College, Tarleton State University, and Baylor University. He is a devoted father to 4 children, and serves as the minister of music and Sunday school teacher in his Baptist church. His interests and hobbies include helping others start new businesses, golf, marathon running, and piloting single engine airplanes. Mr. Hampton and his family currently reside in Waco, Texas.

Melvin Rueffer

Melvin Rueffer was born in the small town of Weinert in North West Texas. His brother and two sisters helped work the family farm. Melvin joined his sister at Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) when he became school age. After graduating from TSD and an exciting courtship he married the love of his life, Ruby, on March 3, 1972. Melvin worked at the Munday Times in Munday, Texas and the Abilene Reporter News in Abilene, Texas before moving to Waco, Texas to begin working as a typesetter and hot lead lino-type operator. Melvin saw many changes in the printing industry before retiring with 37.5 years at the Waco Tribune Herald. After enjoying a few years of retirement, Melvin began working as a paraprofessional at Dean Highland Elementary in Waco, Texas. He and Ruby have enjoyed camping and traveling in their travel trailer, gardening, and crafts since her retirement from Texas Farm Bureau in Waco, Texas. The two of them are active in the local Deaf Senior Citizens organization, Waco Association of the Deaf, and the Texas Association of the Deaf. Melvin organized a Deaf Boy Scout Troop and was their Leader for many years. Melvin enjoys woodworking, carpentry, fishing, hunting, wood burning, grilling, and teaching ASL. Perhaps Melvin and Ruby’s most famous role is as Mr. and Mrs. Clause. They have elaborate costumes that they put to good use playing Deaf Santa. Two generations of Deaf children have told him in ASL what they want for Christmas. Melvin has become the standard by which all Santas are measured, as deaf children recognize the fake Santa as the one who cannot sign.

Kathy Bartlett

Kathy Bartlett and her husband Steve are blessed with four adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. Joey, their third child and only son, was identified as deaf at the age of 14 months. So began the exciting journey of discovering the Deaf World. The need to learn to communicate with Joey led Kathy to McLennan Community College and an Associate’s degree in interpreting. After working several years as an interpreter Kathy returned to school, earning a BA in Deaf Education from Baylor University and certification as a deaf education teacher. She has taught at Waco ISD in the Regional Day School Program for the Deaf for the past seven years. For twenty-five years Kathy has prayed for a Christian school for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. With God’s blessing, that prayer is coming true with The Christian Academy for the Deaf.

Lewis Lummer

Dr. Lewis Lummer is a certified Deaf Educator and is an integral member of the team that oversees the Deaf Education undergraduate program, where he teaches courses in Deaf Education and American Sign Language (ASL). Dr. Lummer also mentors the Deaf Education majors during their student practicum and meets weekly with the students during their internship. Dr. Lummer joined the Baylor faculty in 2010. Prior to coming to Baylor, he spent seven years as a classroom teacher in Deaf education at multiple K-12 settings as well as eleven years on faculty at the university level. Dr. Lummer’s wealth of knowledge and experience as an educator in both K-12 and university settings makes him a rare and valuable resource for students, and he is happy to share his knowledge and experience to help develop the next generation of leaders in ASL and Deaf Education. Dr. Lummer’s education includes: A.A.S. (Civil Technology), Rochester Institute of Technology, B.A. (Communication Arts with International focus), Gallaudet University, M.S.Ed. (Deaf Education and Deaf Studies), Lamar University, Post-Secondary Education Training Certificate (Post-Employment Training-Deaf), San Diego State University, Ed.D. (Reading Specialization, Curriculum and Instruction), Northern Illinois University Dr. Lummer is proud to be a native of Chicago where he was raised by Deaf parents; his mother immigrated to America from Germany during World War II. Dr. Lummer and his beautiful wife of 20 years, Dr. Cynthia J. Plue, have two adorable children. Outside of the office, he enjoys biking, hiking, snow skiing, and going on adventures with his family.

Larry Umberger

After graduating from Gallaudet University in 1995, Larry started work at Central Texas Council of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. as Interpreter Intern Program coordinator conducted mentoring project, seminars, statewide workshops, lab activities, and self-evaluations, and as Specialist Computer Programmer constructed office billing computerized system. He also worked at Sign of the Times, Inc. as Programs Director, and Vocational Training Workshop Coordinator/Instructor presented workshops, taught and advise clients.He currently serves as the ASL Lab Assistant at Baylor University. Larry manages the video library, produces ASL DVDs, and maintains the video laboratory equipment. In addition, Larry provides support to the ASL instructors in the classroom. In 2002, Larry, along with a colleague on Deaf Mission Trip to La Cedia, Honduras, developed LESHO, Honduran Sign Language, dictionary video. In serving the greater Waco community, he is a member of the Advisory Committee for MCC’s Interpreter Preparation Program. He served as President of the Waco Association of the Deaf for 10 years and remains a member of this organization. He is the liaison between the ASL students and the local Deaf community. Larry has taught ASL classes, for credit and continuing education, at MCC. A few of his hobbies include editing videos, working on classic and going on camping. He currently resides in Texas with wife, Paula, and young adult daughters, Sophia and Alissa.

Brent Burns

Brent Burns has been working as the Coordinator for the deaf and hard of hearing students at Texas State Technical College for 24 years. Prior to working at Texas State Technical College, he worked as a Communication Specialist with the Deaf Unit at Westborough (Massachusetts) State Hospital. Brent got his first job as a Language Support Specialist at Texas State Technical Institute and worked there from 1983-1988. He has two adult children, one lives in Austin and another one lives in Waco.  He was born in Lawton, Oklahoma and then he and his parents moved to Houston before moving to Rochester, New York where he graduated from Rochester School for the Deaf. Brent received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Gallaudet University and later received his Master of Science in Education (Educational Psychology) from Baylor University. He served on the Central Texas Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for several years and had been a member of Waco Association of the Deaf.  He has been teaching Sunday School for Deaf adults at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.

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We do not charge tuition for our students and instead rely on the generous support of local and national partners to make this education possible. Please consider how you can bless this ministry.