June Newsmaker: Robin M. Feder

Robin+Feder

CHRIS MALACARNE

Robin Feder

ELLEN FUTTERMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

After a total of 50 years at Central Institute for the Deaf (CID), including 18 as executive director, Robin M. Feder will begin a phased retirement on June 7. Under her leadership, school enrollment grew from 82 students in 2003 to 235 students in 2018. She expanded professional development to reach more than 4,000 educators annually. As development director, she had spearheaded a successful $31 million capital campaign to build a new campus, which opened in 2000. In 2014, she led a successful effort to raise $25 million for endowment and renovations in the CID 2014 centennial campaign. That same year, board members established the Robin M. Feder Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Feder is mother to Rabbi Amy Feder of Temple Israel, where she attends.

According to a release, Feder first visited CID in the early 1950s in the womb of her mother, Joy Melman, at the time a teacher in the school. As an undergraduate student in psychology at Washington University, Feder volunteered to pick up residential students at the airport. She earned her master’s degree in the then-CID-based Washington University deaf education program in 1975, studying under longtime CID director S. Richard Silverman. For the next 12 years, she worked as a CID teacher and parent educator.

In 1987, at the request of then-executive director Dr. Donald Calvert, Feder became CID’s coordinator of development and public information. In 1989, she organized a campaign to help alumni, families and colleagues throughout the world fundraise and celebrate CID’s 75th anniversary: “CID Parties International.” Starting with file boxes of 3×5-inch cards, she built a robust electronic database and initiated the CID Sponsors $1,000+ program, which has raised more than $46 million over 34 years.

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Feder became CID director of development in 1994. The same year, she created the first CID Ultimate Picnic gala, later rebranded CID OUT LOUD! These events have raised more than $5.7 million over 26 years.

In 2003, the CID board of directors named Robin Feder executive director. In that role, Feder has implemented a culture of continuous improvement through strategic planning along with concerted data collection and evaluation. Her collaborative work with staff led to increased parent/caregiver and staff satisfaction from year to year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she oversaw the school, professional development and pediatric audiology programs as they pivoted to remote learning, and sometimes even parking lot services, and safely back into the classrooms. Her leadership ensured educational continuity and positive outcomes for the students and their families.

As executive director, Feder has implemented a culture of continuous improvement through strategic planning along with concerted data collection and evaluation. Her collaborative work with staff led to increased parent/caregiver and staff satisfaction from year to year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she oversaw the school, professional development and pediatric audiology programs as they pivoted to remote learning, and sometimes even parking lot services, and safely back into the classrooms. Her leadershiop ensured educational continuity and positive outcomes for the students and their families.

“CID is a special organization, with a distinctive culture and broad reach,” Feder said. “It has been part of my life for more than 50 years, and it’s near and dear to my heart. As I think about CID’s future, I believe Heather Grantham’s (the next executive director) passion for deaf education, her appreciation for CID’s rich history and her bold vision make her uniquely qualified for this position. I’m confident in her leadership and look forward to working with her to sustain CID’s reputation for excellence and innovation.”