Cohort Participant Introduction

Hi, Everyone!
My name is Mary Ann Boger, and I am an itinerant TVI in Gwinnett County Public Schools in the Atlanta, GA area. I support several students who experience difficulties with reading. One student is learning braille due to the progressive nature of her visual impairment. I am passionate about reading, viewing it as a basic human right. Because I lacked an understanding of the reading process led me to earn an endorsement in dyslexia from the University of Georgia as part of my Educational Specialist degree. Completing the dyslexia endorsement was a game changer for how I now teach braille and work with students with low vision who experience difficulties with phonological awareness and consequently, reading. As part of the dyslexia endorsement coursework, my class completed the Orton Gillingham training, which I loved! The reason I am enrolled in this co-hort is two-fold: I’d like to stay current in best practices in teaching reading as well as learn more about the reading process for students with visual impairments. Look forward to meeting y’all!

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Hi!
I’m Liz and I am a TVI in California. My youngest student is 6 and oldest is 16. I am excited to learn more about tactile graphics.

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Hi! My name is Hannah Geller, and I am a TBVI in Arlington, VA. I have a small caseload of students, including one 1st grade braille reader. I am excited to dive deeper into the research about reading instruction for students who are blind/visually impaired.

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Hello! My name is Erin Scafone and I am a TVI in Lincoln Park, MI. I run a categorical classroom at Lincoln Park High School. My students are grades 9-12. They have a VI hour once a day and then they attend their general ed classes which I assist them with. I am brand new to this profession. This was my first year doing this work, and before that I spent 13 years teaching high school English in the general education setting. I love what I am doing now so much but it has been a great adjustment. I have so much more to learn! I am excited to take a breath after this crazy year, regroup, spend some time with my family and plan for a new start next year.

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Hello everyone! My name is Jennifer Nangle and I am a TVI & COMS from New Hampshire. I serve students ages 3 to 22 in two public school districts and have a wide range of students with low vision, blindness, CVI, a couple of students losing their vision, etc… I could go on and on! I am looking forward to learning more about reading opportunities for our students and to see if there are any new or current trends that support best practices. See you all in July!

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Howdy Johanna! GREAT to see a familiar “face!”

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Hi, my name is Yin Yin Htay. I am a Resource Teacher Vision from Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand. I serve 11 severe low vision to low vision early childhood students and 1 deaf-blind early childhood student. Two of my severe low-vision students have CVI, and I want to learn more about strategies and resources for CVI. I really appreciate APH for sharing valuable professional materials on this accessible platform. Thank you very much!

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Hello Everyone! My name is Gabrielle Popp and I am a TCVI in metro Detroit, Michigan. I work with three local school districts and have 25 students ranging from 3-20 years old on my caseload. They all have varying visual needs. Currently, I have two braille learners on my caseload. I am excited to learn more about specific strategies related to literacy instruction for students who are blind and visually impaired. I also look forward to collaborating with fellow TCVIs during this course.

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Hello everyone! My name is Cynthia Dils and I am a TVI in Florida. I work as a site-based teacher at a middle school and an elementary school. I also teach another middle school student 2 times a week online. I have a total of 6 students, including my online student. 5 of my students receive daily, intensive instruction in braille. I am looking forward to learning about various strategies related to literacy instruction and connecting with colleagues throughout the country.

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Hi, my name is Libby Friedhaber. I am a TVI/COMS with school age students in Pittsburgh, PA. I do not currently have students that I am teaching braille, but I have in the past. I am looking forward to learning more about teaching reading to students with visual impairments!

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HI. My name is Charlene Laferrera. I am a teacher of students with visual impairments. I have been teaching for 37 years. I work with students birth to 22. The last 32 years I have worked for Perkins School for early intervention (part time) and I also work part time in school districts. Braille is the reason why I joined the field. I look forward to learning more strategies for introducing braille at the early intervention level and also how to teach braille to a typical developmental kindergarten student who I might be getting this September.

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Hi! My name is Melissa Kenderes. I’m a TVI and COMS in Pittsburgh, PA.
I work with a variety of school age students; in their local schools or center schools.
I am excited to learn about the reading process for students and how to make our students successful!

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Hi, my name is Sally Knight. I am a K-2 special education teacher in Southwest Missouri. I teach students with multiple disabilities. I have taught students in the past and presently that have visual impairments. I currently have one student with a diagnosed visual impairment. I am also a parent advisor for MSB in their MOSPIN program. I am really excited to learn more about science of reading and how it comes to together for a student with visual impairments. Looking forward to gaining new skills and understanding on how to teach a child with visual impairments reading skills.

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Hi, everyone. It’s great to see so many representatives from all over the country! My name is Jeff Doran and I’m a TCVI for Oakland County in Michigan. I’m wrapping up my fifth year in the VI field. Before this, I worked for twelve years as a 9th-grade resource room teacher and co-instructor of English. My current caseload consists of all ages from birth to 26. While I currently do not have any braille users, I anticipate gaining at least one next school year, and I have worked with braille users in the past. Traditionally, much of the professional development I have been required to attend has had very little relevance to my profession, so I’m very excited to learn anything and everything this cohort offers.

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Hi, Erin. I was in your shoes five years ago at Livonia when they gave me the VI classroom. Welcome to an amazing profession. Say “hi” to Gabe Popp for me.

Never mind. I see she’s here.

Good to see you, Gabe. Hope all is well!

Hello everyone! My name is Wendy Bailey, I am a Certified TVI in West Virginia. I am also certified to teach DHH students as well. I was an itinerant in a small county for eight years. My role changed two years ago when I took on a new position as K12 Outreach with the West Virginia Outreach Center for the Deaf and Blind. I now provide assistance and support to school districts across the state of West Virginia. This past year our state pushed out a statewide literacy initiative based on The Science of Reading to increase students’ literacy skills across the state. Part of my job as an Outreach Specialist will be to provide training and support to TVIs in providing literacy instruction to students with visual impairments. I am so excited to have this opportunity to learn more about the strategies that best support the literacy skills of our students and provide them with tools for greater independence. I am looking forward to collaborating with all of you this summer!

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Hi All. My name is Liz. I am a vision resource consultant for the Ministry of Education in Ontario Canada. I am based out of W Ross Macdonald School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Brantford, ON. I travel across Ontario - support VITs, assess students and make recommendations on educational programming and equipment.

While I have been in the field of vision for 25 years, I supported students with learning disabilities for last 5 years and learned SO much about reading intervention (UFLI, Heggerty, Lexia, Corrective Reading, Empower), the Science of Reading, Scarborough’s Rope…
While I have been able to apply some of that knowledge in my new role as vision resource consultant, I am most excited to learn from the APH Hive to further differentiate for students with vision needs who are struggling to acquire literacy skills.
I look forward to learning alongside you all.

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Hello Everyone! My name is Matt Spencer and I am a Teacher for the Visually Impaired serving Prince George’s County Public Schools located in Maryland. I serve a range of students ranging from preschoolers to eighth graders. I serve a number of students where there only disability is in the area of vision, as well as some students who have multiple disabilities as well. I do have one braille reader, who will be a rising seventh grader for the 2024/2025 school year, enrolled in the honors track. Over the summer, I am excited to learn about how the science of reading specifically impacts our braille readers as my braille reader has experienced difficulties in the area of reading. I would love to learn how I can better support him as well as other braille students I will have in the future!

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