TAER O&M Division Board
Chair: Vance Lankford
My name is Vance Lankford and have been at ESC Region 15 as an orientation and mobility specialist for the past 25 years. Before going to Region 15, I worked with the West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind also in San Angelo. Orientation and mobility takes up most of my time but I also assist with Adaptive PE and in the past worked with the Ropes training courses. In 1985, I graduated from Stephen F Austin State University with orientation and mobility and received a Masters in Visual Impairment from SFA in 2007. Jessica and I have been married for 25 years with five children, Emily, Katie, Ethan, Kaleb and Joshua. We still play sports and the older kids and Dad are playing co-ed softball together. I am a grandpa now with little Avalee, wow how time flies. Katie is planning to go into the VI profession. It is so wonderful when our students can go out in the world (whatever part of the world that is) and show people their skills, independence and determination to do things themselves.
Vice Chair: Heather Munro
Heather Munro received her M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism studies from SFASU, and B.S. in Rehabilitation with a concentration in Orientation and Mobility. She is dually certified as an O&M Specialist and Teacher of the Visually Impaired, and has worked in the field of blindness for 14 years. Mrs. Munro was formerly employed with the Texas Commission for the Blind in Austin, providing O&M service to adult consumers, and went on to work with children with visual impairments in public school settings (including early childhood intervention) in the Houston area and around east Texas. Mrs. Munro currently serves as faculty for the Visual Impairment Program at SFASU, and also works with the university's O&M students who are undergoing blindfold training. She is a member of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), and presently serves as Vice-Chair of the Orientation and Mobility Division of Texas AER.
Secretary: Lori Graham
My name is Lori Graham and I am from Chandler, Tx. I am a proud SFA Lumberjack and received my Orientation and Mobility certification in July of 2011. I am also a Registered Nurse since 1995 after graduating from the University of Texas in Tyler. I currently work at Brownsboro ISD, where I serve as a COMS and School Health Services Coordinator. I have 2 wonderful sons that are my pride and joy. Logan is 19 and attends the University of Texas at San Antonio where he is a member of the Air Force ROTC. Landon is 21 and just graduated from SFA in August with a degree in Orientation and Mobility and will take his certification exam soon. My inspiration in this field comes from the accomplishments, big or small, that my students make each day and the joy it brings to them and their families. I have loved this new journey in my life and look forward to serving in this field for many years to come.
Newsletter Editor: Stephanie Isbell
Hello, My name is Stephanie Isbell 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 fourteen to two. My 15-year old nephew moved in with us this May – which brings our family up to 7 children. 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.
Member-at-Large: Scott Addison
I am an Orientation and Mobility Consultant doing direct delivery at Region 14 Education Service Center in Abilene. I will complete my eighth year working as an orientation and mobility specialist this summer. Prior to becoming “certified” I worked as a residential instructor, teaching assistant and substitute at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. I have also coordinated and worked many summer camps for youth with visual impairment. I completed my O&M coursework and M.Ed. at Texas Tech. I enjoy travel, should be no surprise coming from a COMS! I walk, hike, bicycle, go to the gym and drive really cool fast cars! No spouse, kids or dogs!! My influential event would have to be my initial hiring at TSBVI. I hired on as a “house parent” at then Texas School for the Blind in 1985. I was seeking state employment after completing an undergrad in psychology when I landed on the TSB campus. I was immediately interested in mobility, just took me a few years to get around to it! I believe strongly in self-sufficiency and independence. Everyone has the right to the areas of learning that will enable the individual to rise to their own highest level of independence. I truly enjoy teaching in one of those areas, orientation and mobility!
Member-at-Large: Karen Abney-Marsh
My name is Karen Abney-Marsh and I currently work for Bluebonnet Co-op for Student’s with Visual Impairments (serving 25 school districts west of Fort Worth) for 7 years. I am the Coordinator and also have a full caseload serving both as a CTVI and COMS. I graduated from Stephen F. Austin in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Certification in O & M. I started my career at the Lighthouse for the Blind in Fort Worth in 1988 and worked there for 5 years. I then went to Houston and worked at the Lighthouse for the Blind for 6 months and then returned to the Lighthouse for the Blind in Fort Worth for a year. From 1992-1996, I contracted with several school districts in the Fort Worth area, Division for Blind Services and Federal Prisons (men and women). During my time at both Lighthouses, I worked with adults and transition students. Working with adults has helped me prepare my current and past students obtain the necessary skills to become independent travelers. I became a CTVI in 2004 and Masters in Visual Impairment from Stephen F. Austin in 2006. I feel two important aspects that VI students must learn: 1. Social Skills and 2. Orientation and Mobility, with these skills they will achieve a productive and successful life. I’ve been married 19 years, no children (just Dogs!!). My husband hears about my students’ success regularly and knows I am passionate and that I motivate my students’ to the best of their ability.
O&M Division: Best Practice Award Winners
BEST PRACTICE AWARD - LIST OF RECIPIENTS BY YEAR
Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind – 1997
Vance Lankford - 1999
Marjie Wood – 2000
Gene Healy - 2003
Cindy Haughn – 2004
Carolina Martinez – 2005
Christy Householter – 2006
Beverly Jackson - 2007
Edward Mullen - 2008
Susan Waltrip - 2009
Emily Leeper – 2010
Diane Barnes – 2011
Ruth Ann Marsh – 2012
Burnsteen (Bernie) Smith – 2013
Rebecca Kilian-Smith – 2014