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Postdoctoral Researcher of Language and Literacy, University of Tennessee

Leala Holcomb (they/them/theirs) is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Language and Literacy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Leala was raised in an American Sign Language (ASL) and English bilingual household and attended California School for the Deaf in Fremont (CSDF).

After graduating from CSDF, Leala earned a bachelor's degree in International Education and Development from Gallaudet University and a master's degree in Deaf Education from National University. Leala returned to their alma mater to be an early childhood educator where they were instrumental in developing ASL/English bi-literacy resources for deaf preschoolers. Since then, Leala has taught at Kapi’olani Community College in Hawai’i, the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Leala enjoys presenting at national and international conferences in addition to providing professional consultations and developments in schools.

Leala is a co-founder of Hands Land, a company that releases nursery rhymes in sign language on Amazon Prime. Leala is committed to the anti-oppression work and aims to eradicate systemic inequalities within the education system. Leala continues to be in a bilingual household with their hearing partner, deaf stepson, and hearing stepdaughter and loves exploring the dynamics of hearing-deaf interactions.


  • –present
    Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee, University of Tennessee