Mission & Values

VASLA is a deaf-owned and deaf-led business committed to education justice for deaf students. The team are all deaf and have various educational experiences and backgrounds. We are passionate about improving the educational system and, consequently, outcomes for deaf people worldwide, as we know what it is like to be shut out of educational opportunities.

We’re a research-based, community-driven company building a truly accessible bilingual education resource marketplace, including tutoring, curriculum resources, and genAI tools to power learning. 

Meet the Team!

Thadeus E. Brown

Thadeus is Deaf, grew up attending a mainstream environment, and graduated from Gallaudet University with a Psychology degree. He worked in Deaf Education for several years in mainstream, residential, and itinerant settings. He has witnessed firsthand the inequities and lack of resources in the system. Thadeus saw an opportunity to address these inequities when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the reorientation of education to a virtual format, and VASLA was born. He currently works as a Deaf Interpreter.

Sean A. Maiwald, MPP

Sean is Deaf, grew up in a mainstream environment and is a serial entrepreneur, founding three businesses and a nonprofit before joining the VASLA team. Currently, Sean teaches at Gallaudet University, providing a unique understanding of what deaf students need when it comes to being prepared for college.

Sean believes that there is a significant resources gap, especially for mainstreamed students. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from The George Washington University and is a deaf education policy expert. Formerly, Sean worked at an education research lab, with an unique understanding of the challenges of deaf education.

David T. Uzzell

David is Deaf, and grew up in a mainstream environment. He has extensive experience in business management including being the manager of a restaurant where he gained significant experience in people operations and business operations. David comes from a culinary background of excellence, where he worked for multiple Michelin starred establishments and a few celebrity chefs in a variety of roles in the kitchen. David is also a history buff with a Bachelor’s in History from Gallaudet University, often tutoring for VASLA! He is the main operations lead for VASLA, doing much of the day-to-day work.

Brienna Herold

Bri is deaf and grew up in various educational settings, ranging from being the only deaf student in a mainstream rural school district to being part of a fully inclusive environment at a school for the deaf. Bri has also experienced a range of higher education settings, including earning a Bachelor’s in biology from Gallaudet, completing a Master’s in data science from RIT, and working as an adjunct instructor at Gallaudet. Bri currently works as a data engineer at The New York Times. In all of these settings, Bri has witnessed first-hand the obstacles that signing deaf people face in STEM environments. At VASLA, Bri is leveraging her expertise to develop tools and resources to improve this experience for others at scale.

Gabby Humlicek

Gabby Humlicek holds an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry with a minor in public health, and a master’s degree in mental health and vocational rehabilitation counseling. Gabby is also Commission on Rehabilitation Counseling Certified.

With over 10 years of experience, Gabby specializes in working with deaf, hard-of-hearing, and DeafBlind individuals of all ages. Her roles have included quality assurance specialist, lab technician, research assistant, youth programs ambassador, deaf mentor, tutor, outreach coordinator, and vocational rehabilitation counselor.

Having grown up in varied educational settings due to a rural upbringing–from being the only Deaf student in a mainstream classroom with an ASL interpreter to attending a Deaf school with a dual immersion approach, Gabby utilizes her experience to provide optimal services to all Deaf, Hard of Hearjng, and DeafBlind individuals. Gabby has firsthand experience facing education and employment related barriers leading to her passion of providing equitable access to resources.