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Message from the President

December 2023

President’s Message

Happy New Year! A big thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the 2023 FAERing Well Together conference, especially our amazing sponsors: Ability2Access and the Center for Assistive Technology Training. The conference was a resounding success with 95 attendees, 16 vendors, 14 sessions, and one ice cream sundae social. Many raffles were won, including a free AER membership donated by Lee Sonnenberg, Executive Director of AER. Lee also shared updates about AER’s new strategic plan and the 2024 AER International Conference being held July 24-28, 2024 in Charlotte, NC.


New and reelected board members were announced for 2-year terms beginning January 1, 2024: Susan Garner, Member-at-Large Education and Samantha Kelly, Member-at-Large Rehabilitation. The FAER General Scholarship in the Field of Visual Impairment was awarded to Maria Napoli, a student in the FSU Visual Disabilities program. Unfortunately, the Purvis Ponder Honorarium was not awarded since there were no applicants. Please spread the word about these scholarship opportunities, as we would love to have applicants for both in 2025. Four individuals also received awards recognizing their service to the field: Outstanding Volunteer - Lynnette Taylor, Visual Aid Volunteers of Florida President; Outstanding Educator of the Blind - Samantha Kelly, Vice President of Programs at Lighthouse of Broward; Outstanding Rehabilitation Professional for the Blind - Eric Barrette, Director of Assistive Technology at Lighthouse of Broward; and Outstanding Achievement by a Person with a Visual Impairment - Joe Strechay, Television/Movie Producer and Consultant. Up to 10 awards can be given every conference year, so start thinking about who you might want to nominate for 2025!


FAER is a unique organization made up of VI professionals supporting one another. In the coming years, the board hopes to find ways to increase membership by building pathways and strengthening relationships between the organization and its Florida members. How can FAER better serve its members? To do this we need you, your participation, and your voice! Although 2024 is not a conference year for FAER, we are planning to continue virtual networking opportunities and are always seeking new members to contribute to our various committees, such as Communication, Legislation, Conference, and more. This is your opportunity to get involved and have a say in FAER’s activities! If you are interested in any of these, have comments or suggestions, or would like to learn more, please email the FAER board at We hope to hear from you soon!



Liz Anderson FAER President 

Board of Directors

Elizabeth Anderson


Elizabeth Anderson

Liz is the supervisor 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.

Tiffany Conrad

President Elect

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.


Past 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.

Sandy Lewis Photo


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


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.

Rachel Hage

Member at Large-Rehabilitation

Rachel Hage


Rachel Hage holds a B.A. in both Entrepreneurship and Marketing with a Minor in French Studies from Florida Atlantic University.  She currently works as an independent contractor for Allied Instructional Services as an Assistive Technology Specialist.  She first began training as an Assistive Technology Instructor for Lighthouse of Broward from early 2016 until late 2022. She began by teaching Assistive Technology to the transition students at Lighthouse of Broward before instructing AT for the adult rehab programs.  Rachel has been a Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist (CATIS) through ACVREP since 2019.  She is dedicated to helping those who are blind and visually impaired to use screen readers, magnification programs, braille displays, computers, smartphones, tablets, and various AT devices.  She assisted in teaching those within both the vocational rehab and independent living programs, as well as training those striving towards their academic goals. 

Rachel has served as a member on the FAER Communications Committee since 2020. 


Member at Large - Rehabilitation

Samantha Groth

Samantha is a leader in our field, serving as the VP of Programs for the Broward Lighthouse. She is a problem solver, a level-headed thinker and someone who cares about the future for all clients and instructors. Sam has extensive experience in both rehab and education settings bringing a unique perspective to our board.

Jessica Smith

Member at Large - Education

Jessica Smith

Jessica has been working in the field of visual impairments for 6 years. She started as a vision specific paraprofessional in Cirtus County while attending classes to become a teacher of the visually impaired at FSU’s satellite campus at St. Petersburg College. She then moved to Hillsborough County and continued her role as a paraprofessional working with students who have visual impairments and brailling materials. She graduated from FSU’s visually impaired education program in December 2020 and continued on to finish her Master’s degree in December 2021 to become an orientation and mobility specialist. She has worked with teens at the Lighthouse for the Blind & Low Vision during the summer transition program as well as year-round activities. She worked as a TVI/O&M in Hillsborough County until May 2022 and is now teaching in Brevard County as a TVI and O&M instructor. 

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.

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