ABOUT

Welcome to Florida AER

 

On behalf of the Florida Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (FLAER), the Officers, Board Members at Large, Committee Chairs and Members, we welcome your visit to our new website!

Here you will find information about our chapter, news and activities that we are involved in or are planning. Please check back with us often so that you don't miss anything! You will also find contact information for our Board of Directors and our Committee Chairs. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments that you might have.

Our vision is to strive to reach the highest standards of knowledge and excellence through member benefits and services. If you are not yet a member, we would love to have you join us.

 

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors at FAER

Board of Directors

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President

Jessica Alessio

 

Jessica teaches Orientation and Mobility and Visual Rehabilitation Therapy itinerantly at The Lighthouse of Broward. She additionally teaches assistive technology and smartphone training. Jessica has worked in the public school system in Miami-Dade County and has an understanding of both education and rehabilitation systems for vision professionals. Jessica also is proud to work as the State Liaison for Florida at the University that she completed both her undergrad and graduate degrees at: the University of Massachusetts Boston.  Since 2017, Jessica has developed and been President and 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.  Jessica is always looking for ways to develop and expand her education and creativity. Jessica stated “I am proud to be a part of AER and hope to share innovative ideas and opportunities to continue to advance the organization. AER provides a solid foundation with resources for vision professionals to build on and explore new possibilities in our field and to network. I have learned so much from AER during my term on the board, and I am truly honored to serve as President of the Florida AER Chapter.”

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President Elect

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Past President

Peta-Gaye Yee Kee

 

I hold 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, I have worked with students with visual impairments, autism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional handicaps. I have been employed as a TVI for the St. Johns County School District for the past 17 years, and am the lead teacher for our team. I have been a member of AER for 17 years, and assisted FAER in the facilitation of the AER International Conference in Jacksonville.

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Treasurer

Sandy Lewis

 

Sandy is a Professor in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University. She 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.

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Member at Large - Rehabilitation

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Secretary

Member at Large-Rehabilitation

Sue Glaser

 

Sue Glaser has been a TVI and O&M instructor in the field for 22 years and FAER secretary since 2020. She has served the field in a variety of roles including TVI/O&M instructor for Hillsborough County Public Schools, Satellite Program Coordinator for Florida State University’s Visual Disabilities Program at St. Petersburg College, and Transition Program Coordinator at the Lighthouse for the Blind & Low Vision in Tampa.  Currently, Sue works for the Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired as a Statewide Educational Specialist providing student and family events such as the Florida Braille Challenge and Florida Cane Quest.  She continues to coordinate the Transition Program at the Lighthouse, working with teenagers and young adults.  

Rachel Hage

 

Rachel Hage holds a B.A. in both Entrepreneurship and Marketing with a Minor in French Studies from Florida Atlantic University.  She has been an Assistive Technology Instructor for Lighthouse of Broward since 2016.  She began by teaching Assistive Technology to the transition students at Lighthouse of Broward before instructing AT for the adult 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, within both the vocational rehab as well as independent living programs.  


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

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Member at Large - Education

Member at Large - Education

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 programs through UMass Boston to prepare professionals for the CATIS credential through ACVREP. Additionally, she is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) in the Assistive Technology Certificate Program at UIC. She was a Co-Strand Advisor for ATIA 2019 and ATIA 2020 for the Vision & Hearing Strand.

 

Rachael holds a B.A. degree in Special Education and a Masters of Health Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Florida. She has also earned an Educational Specialist and a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University’s College of Engineering and Computing in Computing Technology in Education. She was the recipient of the Florida AER award for Outstanding Rehabilitation Professional for the Blind Award (2017). Rachael is serving as the member-at-large Rehabilitation for Florida AER since 2018 and she also serves on the Accessibility Committee for AER. She is a Google Chromebook Accessibility Ambassador and she was a member of the Subject Matter Expert (SME) Committee for the development for the Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments (CATIS) through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP).

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

 

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.