Meet the Board

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 will highlight several members at a time, so please stop back and see the many professions from across the states who are working to make Penn-Del AER a leader in the field.

We are most pleased to present this outstanding group of new Board members for your consideration. 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 2018–2021) 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 has just retired from the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children where she has been the Director of the Early Childhood Program for the past 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, presently serving as Past-President.

Venetia Hayden (Term 2019–2022) is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS) currently working at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children in the Outreach Department serving children ages kindergarten-12th grade. She received her M.Ed. Degree in O&M from U.Mass, Boston and her TVI certificate from the University of Arizona. She has been in the field for 19 years. Prior to moving to Pennsylvania 4 years ago, Venetia resided in Tucson, Arizona and was an active member of the Arizona AER chapter, serving as vice-president, president and past president. She served on the International AER board from 2008-2010. While in Tucson she worked as a TVI/O&M teaching preschool for the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind for 8 years. She then worked as a TVI/O&M for the Amphitheater School District. She enjoys working with and learning new technologies for individuals with visual impairment. She is the parent of a visually impaired daughter and has a true passion for giving back to the community that did so much for her family and her daughter.

John Hofmeister (Term 2019–2022) is a Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Previously, he was a contributing Board Member-At-Large of Penn-DEL AER. He was a start-up team member of both the Advanced Low Vision Clinic at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and the Augusta Blind Rehabilitation  Center at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center as an Orientation and Mobility Blind Rehabilitation Specialist. While in Georgia, he held many roles from Board Member to President in Georgia AER. He is a 1994 Western Michigan University graduate whom earned a Masters in Blind Rehabilitation: Orientation and Mobility. His passion is adaptive sports where he loves to introduce people with disabilities to the world of adaptive sports.

Angela Humbertson, President (Term 2018–2020) 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.

Kelly Lauer (Term 2017–2020) is currently working as a Teacher for the Visually Impaired for the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. For the last 14 years, she has held a variety of instructional roles within Overbrook School for the Blind, most recently as Technology Specialist. Following her completion of Kutztown University's TVI program, Lauer received a Master’s in Educational Learning Differences from Cabrini College, in 2016 completed an Assistive Technology Certification from California State University Northridge (CSUN), and currently obtaining her Special Education PreK-8 Certification from Cabrini University. Additionally, she is an Apple Certified Teacher, OSMO Certified Ambassador, Certified Microsoft Innovative Educator, and Google Educator. In February of 2017, Lauer was appointed to a district-wide Website Redesign Committee by the Superintendent of the Marple-Newtown School District, the district of residence for her four sons.

Maria Lepore-Stevens (Term 2018–2021) has been working as a COMS for Division for the Visually Impaired in Delaware for 3 years. In addition to her work at DVI, Maria teaches Disability Studies in the Kinesiology department at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Maria spends her summers directing and coaching at Camp Abilities educational sports camps for athletes with visual impairments in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and New York. 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 is now pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Policy, Planning, and Administration from West Chester. 

Kerry Lueders, Secretary (Term 2018–2020) 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 (Term 2017–2020) 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 2018–2021) holds a M.A. from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and is currently 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 2018–2022) 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 2018–2020) 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 the Visually Impaired at Western PA School for Blind Children, and serves school-aged students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. After working in the corporate sector as a communications specialist and volunteering in afterschool programming for nearly a decade, Ashley decided to pursue her passion for teaching. She earned her Instructional I and M.Ed in early childhood education from Carlow University in 2012, and continued to complete the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments certification program through the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. Ashley has experience in early intervention, as well as providing instruction to children ages birth-5. She is currently pursuing Orientation & Mobility certification. Ashley resides in North Huntingdon, PA, an eastern suburb of Pittsburgh with her fiancée.

Dr. Rebecca Renshaw, Past President, (Term 2018–2020) has been a member of AERBVI since 1999 and served on the Penn-Del Board of Directors and as the Membership Committee Chair from 2007 to 2010. She is a dually certified teacher of the visually impaired and O&M specialist who has worked with a variety of populations – birth to 3, school-aged children with additional disabilities, and adults with visual impairments. In 2010, Dr. Renshaw graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a PhD. in Special Education and a Masters in Studies of Law from Pitt Law School. She also has an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership and Management from the Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame University. She has experience working at the American Foundation for the Blind Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. where she attended hearings on Capitol Hill, wrote Issue Briefs, and met with individuals in the Senate and the House of Representatives. She has taught numerous courses for the TVI and O&M programs at both Pitt and at Salus University. She worked for 12 years at the Western PA School for Blind Children as a TVI, O&M, and ultimately Education Director. Currently she is the Executive Director of Lavelle School for the Blind in Bronx, New York.

Holly Russell, President-elect (Term 2018–2020) 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 (Term 2017–2020) 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 2018–2021) is currently working as an itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired 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, PA with her husband Ned. Together they raised 4 boys, have 2 grandchildren, 2 dogs and 20 llamas.