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Message from the President

February 2022

Dear Colleagues and Florida AER Members:

 

Greetings and a Happy New Year to all of you!  It seems that life as we know it is slowly returning back to normal.  Kudos to all of you who have continued to provide the very best service to your clients and students during these extraordinary times.

AER International is in the process of finalizing plans for the 2022 AER Biennial International Conference to be held in St. Louis, MO July 20-24, 2022.  The conference theme is “Gateway to Community.”  The call for proposals has closed, and presentations are being reviewed.  Conference registration will be open this month.  I hope many of you will be able to join me in St. Louis for this long-overdue opportunity to meet and learn from the leaders in our field.

In other International news, AER is accepting nominations for several Board of Directors positions for the 2022-2024 Biennium.  Deadline is March 1.  Also, the nomination process is open for a number of awards presented by AER in recognition of the outstanding achievements of individuals working with the blind and visually impaired.  Nominees are accepted through April 1.  Finally, AER offers educational scholarships for individuals in the field who wish to continue their education.  Deadline for submission is April 15.  More information on these exciting opportunities can be found on their website https://aerbvi.org/.

As we continually seek to improve our skills in serving our unique population, AER offers a number of online courses which enable you to earn CE Hours for a nominal fee.  Check it out at https://www.aerelearning.org/.

Closer to home, the Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired (FIMC), has several upcoming training opportunities free of charge.  See their website at https://www.fimcvi.org/events for more information.

Finally, we hope to see an increase in membership to FAER.  This can only be accomplished by you, the members, promoting the many benefits and opportunities available through AER to your colleagues. 

Take care and stay safe!

Peta-Gaye Yee Kee

FAER President

Board of Directors

FAER Logo

President

Peta-Gaye Yee Kee

Peta Gaye holds a B.S. from Florida State University in Visual Disabilities and Orientation and Mobility, and an M.Ed. from the University of North Florida in Emotional Handicaps. Employed in the field of Special Education for 29 years, she have worked with students with visual impairments, autism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional handicaps. For the past 17 years, Peta-Gaye has been employed as a TVI for the St. Johns County School District, and is the lead teacher for the VI team. She has been a member of AER for 17 years, and assisted FAER in the facilitation of the AER International Conference in Jacksonville.

Elizabeth Anderson

President Elect

Elizabeth Anderson

Liz is program coordinator for the Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired (FIMC-VI).  At FIMC-VI, her mission is to ensure both high quality instructional materials and professional development are provided to stakeholders statewide.  As a certified teacher of the visually impaired and certified orientation and mobility specialist (COMS), Liz has taught in Hillsborough County Public Schools and several agencies.  She is also a member of the Florida Virgin Islands Deafblind Collaborative Advisory Board and the American Printing House for the Blind Product Review Committee.

Jessica Alessio

Past President

Jessica Alessio

Jessica is the Florida Coordinator for Orientation and Mobility at AIS. Jessica is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and a Certified Visual Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT), and teaches assistive technology and smartphone training. She has an understanding of both education and rehabilitation systems for vision professionals. Jessica also works as the State Liaison for Florida for the University of Massachusetts Boston, and mentors the VRT students in Puerto Rico. Jessica is Founder & CEO of the nonprofit organization See the World Education; with a mission to provide inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities in the areas of art, recreation, and travel.

Sandy Lewis Photo

Treasurer

Sandy Lewis

 

Now a professor in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University, Sandra Lewis previously worked as an educator of individuals with visual impairments of all ages in a variety of educational, home, and community settings. Dr. Lewis is known for her publications and presentations that support quality services to meet the needs of adults and children with visual impairments and edited a book on strategies for teaching the expanded core curriculum. She serves on numerous national, state, and local committees and was honored as the Mary K. Bauman award recipient—one of AER’s highest honors—in 2010. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.

Sue Glaser

Secretary

Sue Glaser

 

Sue Glaser has been a Statewide Educational Specialist for Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired coordinating events and workshops for students, families, and teachers since 2008. She has been the Transition Program Coordinator at the Lighthouse for the Blind & Low Vision in Tampa since 2002, planning and implementing year-round school-to-work programming for students with visual impairments aged 14 and up. Sue also taught as a TVI and O&M instructor in Hillsborough County Schools for 12 years and was the coordinator of Florida State University’s Satellite Program in Visual Disabilities for 17 years, recruiting, advising, and teaching future teachers of students with visual impairments.

Amy Johnson Photo

Member at Large-Rehabilitation

Amy Johnson

 

Amy has a B.S. degree from FSU with a major in visual disabilities and a specialization in orientation and mobility. She also holds an M.A. from Boston College in Rehabilitation Teaching for the Blind. Currently, For the past 38 years, Amy has been employed by the Vision Education and Rehabilitation Center in Jacksonville as a mobility specialist and home instructor. She holds ACVREP certification in both Orientation and Mobility and Vision Rehab Therapy.

Amy has served on the board in a variety of capacities for the past 14 years. She is the FAER newsletter editor and the awards chair in addition to representing FAER as a member at large. Our board members are dedicated and goal oriented and I am honored to serve with them.-Amy

Rachael Sessler-Trinkowsky Photo

Member at Large - Rehabilitation

Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky

Rachael Sessler Trinkowsky, Ph.D., CRC, CATIS is the Technology Training and Vocational Coordinator for the Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches. She is the Program Coordinator for the Assistive Technology for People with Visual Impairments program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has developed this program through UMass Boston to prepare professionals for the CATIS credential through ACVREP. Additionally, she is adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) in the Assistive Technology Certificate Program at UIC. She has been a Co-Strand Advisor for the Vision & Hearing Strand for ATIA since 2019. For more information, visit Rachael’s faculty webpage.

Tiffany Conrad

Member at Large - Education

Tiffany Conrad

After receiving both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Visual Disabilities from Florida State University, Tiffany served as an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired and orientation and mobility specialist in various counties in Florida including Broward, Lee and Hillsborough. She is currently the Coordinator for Hillsborough County’s Visually Impaired Program. She is a Nationally Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals. Tiffany has spent over 15 years dedicated to providing access and increasing levels of independence for all students with special needs and is honored to serve as the new Educational Member at Large for the Florida Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Susan Yarbrough Photo

Member at Large - Education

Susan Yarbrough

 

Susan Yarbrough was recently awarded her Ph.D. from Florida State University and has eagerly joined the FSU Visual Disabilities Program faculty, for which she is teaching courses in O&M, reading, and working with children who have multiple disabilities. She is a TSVI and COMS with experience teaching at a residential school. She is especially interested in improving ECC instruction for students with visual impairments and developing the capacity of caregivers to teach their children.