TAER O&M Division
Chair: Stephanie Walker
Hello, My name is Stephanie Walker and I am an Educational Consultant for Visual Impairment and Orientation and Mobility for Education Service Center Region 11 (Fort Worth). I started my teaching career in Monahans as a Junior High Special Education Teacher in 2001. I earned my Master’s degree from Texas Tech University in Visual Impairment and Orientation and Mobility in 2005. After becoming certified as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and O&M specialist, I moved to Colorado Springs for three years. My family and I moved back to Texas to be closer to family. When I returned to Texas, I worked with Bluebonnet Co-op for Students with Visual Impairments until I took a consultant position with Region 11 in 2012. I have a very large blended family with 6 children ranging in age from eighteen to six. I was enticed into the field of VI and O&M when looking for a specialty as a graduate student. After being in a classroom that was becoming more and more driven by testing, it was a breath of fresh air to find a job that focused on the life skills needed to be independent. I have been blessed to work with wonderful people throughout my career that have shared their expertise with me and pushed me to become more involved in all aspects of this field.
Vice Chair: Andrew Bernet
My name is Andrew Bernet and I am a COMS at the Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth. I first found out about the field of Orientation & Mobility when I went blind at the age of 22. I am a graduate of Stephen F. Austin and am currently working on a master’s degree in Adapted Physical Education at Texas Women’s University. I have experience as both a dog and cane traveler, but currently prefer using my cane. I play beep baseball every summer with the BCS Outlaws and enjoy pretty much anything outdoor related. I also have a love for learning about new assistive technologies especially when they can be applied to O&M.
Secretary: Carrie Istre
I have been in the field of visual impairment for 18 years. First as a certified O&M specialist (SFA graduate), then as a certified teacher of students with visual impairments (TTU graduate). I taught in a classroom for three years and also added my university certification (TTU) as a teacher of students with a dual sensory loss (deafblind). I love the field of visual impairment and truly enjoy each of the students that I teach. I live and work right outside of the Houston area and enjoy spending my free time outdoors with my husband, son, and dogs. I am currently the TAER Division 9 secretary.
Newsletter Editor: Vance Lankford
I am Vance Lankford and have been an Orientation and Mobility Specialist for approximately 32 years. I began working with all ages at the West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind. I have been at Education Service Center Region 15 for the past 29 years. In addition to O&M, I have also worked in the area of Adapted PE. However, O&M takes up most of my time. I have five children: two in public school and the other three pursuing their careers in various areas. One of my children is a teacher of the visually impaired. Our family enjoys sports and some of us still play summer softball together. I have held various offices with the TAER O&M Division - nine boards over the years. I have taught classes for Stephen F. Austin State University as an adjunct professor. O&M allows you to get to meet many people and assist people in many ways. The field has been good to me. I have been the recipient of the Best Practices Award (1999) and the Bob and Bill Leadership Award (2018). I believe that a lot dedicated O&M specialists deserve to receive these awards.
Member-at-Large: Rick Eubank
Member-at-Large: Laurie Mayor
Best Practice Award Winners