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Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter, Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired

Doug Williams (Term 2019–2022) is an Educational Consultant with Vision specialization in the Harrisburg Office of the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN). He has worked as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist with the Nevil Institute in Philadelphia, (later ASB), and at the Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12 in south central Pennsylvania as an O&M Specialist.

This page is dedicated to introducing you to the members who serve on the Board. We are most pleased to present this outstanding group of Board members. Each has graciously agreed to serve on the Penn-Del AER Board of Directors for the upcoming term.

Nancy Ashley (Term 2019–2022) has recently retired from the Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18. She was an Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired for almost 37 years with Luzerne IU 18. Her students varied from Early Intervention to 21 years of age. Ms. Ashley developed pertinent ties with the local Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, developing professional relationships with the caseworkers, and encouraging parents to connect their children with this agency. She also developed communication with the Local Blind Association, and once again encouraged her students to participate in their activities and events. Ms. Ashley was hired by the Luzerne Intermediate Unit in the fall of 1978. She obtained her Master Equivalency Degree through IU courses and graduate level courses through Wilkes University. She continued as an Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired with LIU 18 until retirement at the end of the school year in June 2015.

Mary C. Daubenspeck (Term 2019–2022) is currently certified through PDE and ACVREP as a TVI/COMS. She is a graduate of KSU with a BS in El Ed and BVI Ed. O&M Certification from Pitt 1984. Mary currently works as a TVI/COMS for PA CAIU 15. She worked closely with BSO and the Optimist Olympics to promote and develop sports and activities to develop skills and provide recreational opportunities for children, adults and their families. She served as a member of the board to the Pennsylvania Association of Blind Athletes, the Penn Del AER and Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania where she is currently a member of the Programs and Services Committee working with other members to continue and develop programs for the visually impaired population in this area. She anticipates retirement from service as a school age provider for 32 years at the end of the current school year.

Brenda Egan (Term 2021–2024) earned a master’s degree in education for students who are blind and visually impaired and supervisory certification from the University of Pittsburgh. Her undergraduate degree is from Slippery Rock State College in Special Education/Elementary Education. She retired from the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children where she had been the Director of the Early Childhood Program for 24 years. Prior to her current position she was a classroom teacher, and a project coordinator for a federally funded deaf-blind grant. She was also employed by Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12 as a classroom teacher and was instrumental in launching the Orientation and Mobility Program at the IU. Brenda is an active member of the Penn-Del AER Chapter.

Angela Humbertson, Past-President (Term 2020–2022) is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Teacher for the VA NJ Healthcare System in Lyons, NJ. Angela has worked in the field for 15 years. She started her career in Bethlehem as a Case Services Assistant at the non-profit organization of Visual Impairment and Blindness Services (VIABL) and then became the CVRT on staff after her graduation from Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University). From there she went to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Allentown as a Caseworker and part-time CVRT. After a year, she moved on to the NJ Commission for the Blind as an itinerant CVRT out of the Newark office. After three years of state government, she moved on to work for the Veteran’s Administration in Lyons, New Jersey.

Maria Lepore-Stevens (Term 2021–2024) has worked as a COMS for the Division for the Visually Impaired in Delaware and Chester County Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania. In addition to her work as a COMS, Maria is dual certified as a Certified Adapted Physical Educator and is a professor of adapted PE in Rowan University's in teacher prep program. Maria spends her summers directing Camp Abilities educational sports camps for athletes with visual impairments in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Maria earned her BS in Health and Physical Education (concentration in Adapted PE) from West Chester University, her MA in O&M from the University of Arizona, and her EdD in Educational Policy, Planning, and Administration from West Chester. Her dissertation research focused on using summer sports camp programming to foster self-determination skills in youth with visual impairments.

Kerry Lueders (Term 2020–2023) is an Assistant Professor and the Co-Director of the Low Vision Rehabilitation at Salus University, formerly the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO). She is also a Low Vision Therapist at the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center at The Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA. Kerry graduated from PCO in 1999 with a Master of Science in Orientation and Mobility, and subsequently added certificates in Education of the Visually Impaired and Low Vision Rehabilitation. Prior to her current appointment, she provided O&M services for the Delaware County Intermediate Unit and the Montgomery County Association for the Blind. She also served as District 6 Director of AER's O&M Division 9 from 2002-2004. Kerry is proud to be a Penn-Del AER member and will bring her creative and innovative spirit to the board.

Melodye May, Secretary (Term 2020–2022) is a social service administrator for the Independent Living Services program at the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI). She received her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development/Human Services from Virginia Tech in 1995. She joined DVI in 1998 and spent 15 years training consumers who are blind and visually impaired how to use assistive technology to accomplish their goals. During her tenure as a trainer, she introduced several new programs to the agency, including a sensory garden program, workshop series and a monthly assistive technology e-newsletter. She is interested in joining the Penn-Del AER board to have the opportunity to network with other professionals in the field of visual impairments and have a positive impact on consumers that are blind and visually impaired. She believes that board membership will provide her with invaluable leadership experience and the privilege to serve on a board that supports a mission that she is devoted to. She enjoys gardening, leading a wonderful group of Girl Scout Brownies and spending time with family. She currently resides in North Wilmington with her husband, Demond and daughter, Lauryn.

Mary Nelle McLennan (Term 2021–2024) holds a M.A. from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and retired as the Executive Advisor to the President of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). As one of her responsibilities in that role, she serves as APH’s representative to the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) and holds the position of BANA’s Vice Chair. Before moving into her current position, Mary Nelle served as the APH’s Vice President of Products and Services. Earlier, she served as the Braille Editor at APH after fifteen years as a classroom teacher at the Tennessee School for the Blind. Mary Nelle is active throughout the vision field in state, national, and international arenas. She served as President of the Kentucky Chapter of AER, Chair of AER’s Division 12, and Chair of international AER’s Council of Division Chairs. In addition to chapter and division leadership, she served six years on the AER International Board of Directors, four of those as AER Secretary. Mary Nelle has served on the Penn-Del AER Conference Planning Committee as Conference Presenter Coordinator since 2007. Mary Nelle’s contributions have been recognized by her peers through a number of awards, which include the Mary K. Bauman Award, AER’s highest award for leadership in education of students who are blind or visually impaired. For her 16-years of work as creator and editor of the quarterly column “SPRINGBOARD” in the professional journal RE:view, she was awarded the 2010 C. Warren Bledsoe Special Recognition Award for excellence in writing and publication. She also received the 2011 Pennsylvania-Delaware AER Chapter’s Outstanding Service Award and earlier the Exceptional Service Award from the Kentucky Chapter of AER. In 2011, Mary Nelle was honored by her colleagues and friends with a stone on the Wall of Tribute which is associated with the Hall of Fame housed at APH.

Jo Ann McNamee (Term 2019–2022) has been working at Overbrook School for the Blind since 1986. She began her career as a Classroom Teacher then was the Coordinator of the Elementary Program and currently she is the Coordinator of the Therapy/Orientation & Mobility Program. She also works with the Eye Institute to provide a monthly Low Vision Clinic at Overbrook for children in the Early Intervention Program and students in the school age programs ages 5 through 21. Jo Ann earned her B. S. in Special Education from Bloomsburg University and received her MEd in Education and TVI Certificate from Pennsylvania College of Optometry (currently Salus University).

Vince McVeigh, Treasurer, (Term 2020–2022) has been involved providing both educational and rehabilitative services to persons with visual impairments for forty years and throughout much of that time have been actively involved in professional organizations serving these populations including AER and CEC. He has served as an officer at the national level for CEC-DVH, the state level for Pennsylvania CEC and have been an active Penn-Del AER member for many years. Vince has recently retired from Chester County Intermediate Unit.

Ashley Popojas (Term 2019–2022) is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist at Western PA School for Blind Children. She serves school-aged students with visual impairments primarily within Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties through WPSBC Outreach Department. Ashley proudly earned her Bachelor's Degrees in Corporate Communications and Business Management from Carlow University, followed by an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. Ashley graduated from the University of Pittsburgh's Vision Studies Program with dual TVI and COMS certifications. Ashley resides in North Huntingdon, PA, an eastern suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, son, and two puppies.

Holly Russell, President (Term 2020–2022) is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, and Certified O&M Specialist, who has worked in the field for 25 years. She is currently working with Western PA School for Blind Children in the Outreach Department, servicing children from kindergarten to high school in a variety of school districts. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Vision Studies Program, and also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development, and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Holly has been a member of the Penn-Del AER for over 20 years. She has been serving on the Communications and Conference Committees for the past 8 years. Holly has served on the Penn-Del Board of Directors from 2009-2012. In 2016, Holly was honored to receive the Penn-Del AER Richard L. Welsh Service Award.

Erin Weaver, President-Elect (Term 2020–2022) is the Statewide Coordinator of Education Services for the Visually Impaired, Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired. She earned her A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education at Villa Maria College of Buffalo, B.S. at Michigan State University in the areas of Elementary Education, Special Education, and Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired, and an M.S.E.D. at St. Bonaventure University in Childhood Literacy. A few highlights of Erin’s career include her involvement with Camp Abilities where she received the Jim Burch Above and Beyond Award, Camp Abilities Saratoga Above and Beyond Award, and had the opportunity to work on the following publications: Visual impairment and physical education: Steps to success, Gross Motor development for Children With Visual Impairments, Teaching Gross Motor Development to Children With Visual Impairments, and Staff Training for Physical Education for Children With Visual Impairments. Erin worked in the Western New York area as a Teacher of the Blind & Visually Impaired, Special Education and Elementary teacher for 25 years. Vacationing on the beaches of Delaware with her husband and three children encouraged Erin’s relocation to Delaware last year.

Tracy Whitehead (Term 2021–2024) is currently working as an itinerant teacher of students with visual impairments for BLaST Intermediate Unit #17, teaching in all of the school districts in Bradford and Tioga Counties. She has been in this position for 33 years. Her passion is keeping up with the newest technology for students with visual impairments. She is also serving on the Penn-Del Conference Planning Committee since 2011 where she chairs the Handout Committee, and she sits on the Presenter Committee. Tracy received the Elinor H. Long Educator of the Year Award in 2013. She is a proud graduate of Kutztown University. She resides in Canton, Pennsylvania with her husband Ned. Together they raised 4 boys, have 2 grandchildren, 2 dogs and 20 llamas.

Jeanne Aaron (Term 2020-2023) has been working with blind and visually impaired persons from birth through adulthood for over 25 years. As a teacher of the blind and visually impaired, she has provided services to infants, toddlers and preschoolers through early intervention programs and school-age students through the Delaware County Intermediate Unit. She educates families, professionals, and the public about the abilities of children and adults living with visual impairment and advocates for their independence. She received her bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University in Education of Students with Visual Impairments. She began working as a PA Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired in October of 1994 for the Delaware County Intermediate Unit delivering instruction and consultation to teachers to ensure equitable education for visually impaired students. She received her master’s degree in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy from Salus University in October 2019; Magna Cum Laude. She completed her Vision Rehabilitation Internship at the Montgomery County Association for the Blind to maximize the independence of adults who are blind/visually impaired. During that internship, she also worked at the IDEAL summer camp teaching students age 14–21 adaptive skills of daily living at the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She is currently working on a certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation at Salus University with an internship at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center during the summer of 2020.

Becky Knaub (Term 2020-2023) has worked for the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services since 2013. Her career began in the Wilkes-Barre District Office as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. In 2017 Becky was transferred to the Special Programs Division, where she assists in creating instructional materials, checking for accessibility on websites and documents, training staff on the use of assistive technology, assisting with the development of Assistive technology and VRT curriculums for Summer programs and training BEP clients in both VRT and Assistive technology. Becky also works the Summer Academy and Junior Summer Academy programs teaching both VRT and assisting with the instruction of Assistive technology. Becky is currently working towards her certification as a teacher of the visually impaired. Becky has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Spanish from Edinboro University and a master’s degree in Vision rehabilitation Therapy from Salus University. She received her Vision Rehabilitation Therapy ACVREP certification in early 2013.

Greg Lazur (Term 2020-2023) is an educational consultant with the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) and is assigned to the Pittsburgh office. He joined PaTTAN after starting his career at Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, where he served multiple roles as a behavior specialist, teacher of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility specialist, and administrator for the residential program. He holds multiple degrees from the University of Pittsburgh including a master’s degree in early intervention and special education, certification as a teacher of the visually impaired and is a certified orientation and mobility specialist. As of the summer of 2020, he will also hold a Pennsylvania principal certificate through California University of Pennsylvania. He considers it an honor to serve on the Penn-Del board and is looking forward to working with everyone.

Lachelle Smith (Term 2020-2023) is currently an Assistant Professor and Program Director of the Professional Preparation Program for Vision Rehabilitation Therapy in the College of Education and Rehabilitation at Salus University. She is also the founder and sole proprietor of InSights Vision Rehabilitation Services; the practice consisting of clients referred from State, non-profit agencies, and private clientele who seeks her trademark holistic approach to rehabilitation services. Lachelle continues to operate in her practice while teaching at Salus ensuring to bring pragmatic experience to the classroom. In addition, Lachelle is the founder and president of Blind Blessings, Inc., a 501(c) 3, not-for-profit organization created to meet the vision rehabilitation and spiritual needs of those seeking vision rehabilitation services. Lachelle is a 2003 PCO alumni (now Salus University) graduating with a M.S. in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy while achieving the highest honors possible. She holds her certification in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy through ACVREP. Lachelle is committed to the advancement of all individuals who live with disabilities and dedicates her time to serving on Boards and Committees that share that vision, including ACVREP, VRT SME, AER Recruitment and Retention Committee, and Association of Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (AVRT) to name a few. She is enthusiastic about the opportunities available to her in making a difference in the lives of those she serves, whether in the vision rehabilitation field or in the classroom.

Oluyomi (Yomi) Koya (Term 2021-2024) is a certified teacher of students with visual impairments. Originally from Nigeria, Yomi earned his Master of Education in educational management. Yomi started his career in the field of blindness and visual impairment working at Overbrook School for the Blind as a one-on-one support staff. This position inspired him to further his education at Salus University to obtain his Master of Education in blindness and vision impairment. While completing his degree, Yomi began working as an itinerant teacher for the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI). Yomi has worked at DVI for five years where he had the opportunity to mentor new teachers and assisted with planning and leading youth programs. He was a pioneer member of the National Federation of the Blind, Teacher of Tomorrow program. This summer, Yomi will begin his course of study at University of Massachusetts, Boston to obtain a certificate in Orientation and Mobility. He currently resides in Philadelphia, PA with his wife, three children, and a dog.

Alexis Morrison (Student Representative) was born in Manhattan, New York. She graduated from Berks Catholic High School in Wyomissing, PA. She attended Hampton University, a Historically Black University, as a Nursing major for two years before entering the United States Air Force (AF) in 1994 at the age of 21. In the AF Alexis spent 10 years at Travis Air Force Base (AFB) in Northern California serving as a dental specialist. After her first 10-year tour Alexis decided to enter into the Air Force Reserve as a military recruiter. Alexis recruited for 5 years while stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, NV. In Las Vegas, Alexis placed over 100 civilians into the AF Reserve in under 4 years allowing her to rank as one of the Top Fifty Reserve recruiters in the country. After her recruiting tour Alexis served as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Dental Services at Horsham Air National Guard Base in Willow Grove, PA which led her to her retirement after 21 years of honorable service. Upon retirement Alexis was accepted into the Rehabilitation and Human Services program at Pennsylvania State University in which she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA in August 2020. After graduation Alexis decided to pursue her passion to work with disabled veterans along with wanting to give back to the military community.

In August 2020, Alexis was accepted into the Blindness and Low Vision program at Salus University. Alexis is projected to graduate in 2023 with a Master of Science in Low Vision Rehabilitation and with a certificate in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy which will allow her to work at the Veterans Administration fulling her passion. Her hobbies include yoga, meditation, hiking, and cooking. She has one son who is a Psychology major at Pennsylvania State University main campus. Alexis resides in Montgomery county, PA.

Meet the Board