2019 GaAER Conference Presenters

Mark Armstrong

Mark Armstrong is the Senior Adult Program Specialist for Helen Keller National Center. His work focuses on seniors, age 55 and older who have combined vision and hearing loss. He facilitates the Confident Living Program, offered twice a year at the Helen Keller National Training Center in Sands Point, NY, and On-the-Road throughout the United States. Mark is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT). He served as the Georgia AER President from 2014-2016 and is current serving as Secretary for AER National Aging Division 2018-2020. Mark is also a member of ACVREP Subject Matter Expert Committee in VRT, 2018-2020. Mark is retired from the Marine Corps and served in “The Commandant’s Own,” The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. He resides in Augusta, Georgia and has been married 30 years to his wife Kay.

Carson Cochran

Carson Cochran has 20 years of experience working as an assistive technology specialist in the school systems. He came into education as a speech language pathologist with database management experience from the National Institutes of Health. Carson currently works for the GaDOE Georgia Instructional Materials Center where he consults with local districts on the improvement of delivery for accessible text for all students.

Christopher Delano

Christopher Delano is the coordinator of Audio Description services at AMAC Accessibility, a unit of Georgia Tech, where they provide accessibility for every disability with a focus on educational material. With extensive experience in writing and training from industry experts, he has helped create the AMAC style for audio description.

Cristina Dumitru

Cristina Dumitru has an associate degree in Nursing with Emphasis in Social Work from Carol Davila College Bucharest- Romania, Bachelor’s Degree in Exceptional Education from Bucharest University- Romania, Master’s in education- Visual Impairments from UAB – USA, COMS Certified. She has 13 years of experience teaching in public school from which 6 years are in Visual Impairments and O&M. Cristina Dumitru taught in South Carolina, Boston and presently she is working in Forsyth County GA. Mrs. Dumitru had presented in the past for AER and GVEST.

Tracy Fitch

Tracy has been a Teacher of the Visually Impaired for 13 years. She received her Master’s Degree in Low Vision Blindness from West Virginia University in 2011. She has served students of all ages, ability levels and degrees of visual impairments. She is a Cortical Visual Impairment Mentor for Georgia and has had her Perkins-Roman CVI Endorsement since the Spring of 2016.

Jang Hee

Jang Hee I is an educational technology researcher who has largely influenced his field. An impressive set of accomplishments includes tactile graphics, digital games and media to innovate Braille literacy and computer science education for blind and visually impaired students, and adults. Exceptional academic qualifications includes a Master of Arts in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Lauren Herring

Lauren Herring graduated from Florida State University with her Bachelor and Master degrees in Special Education-Visual Disabilities. While in college she volunteered at several summer Lion's Club camps for the visually impaired. She has taught for 17 years in Florida and Georgia public school systems and is presently employed by Forsyth County Schools, Cumming, GA. She has previously presented at Ga AER and GVEST.

Danny Housley

Danny Housley is the Assistive Technology Acquisition Manager with Tools for Life, Georgia's Assistive Technology Act Program overseeing Credit-Able, Georgia's Alternative Financing Program. He finds funding solutions and resources for people with disabilities to increase or maintain their independence.

Danny is an executive board member of the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia's Atlanta chapter, is a board member of the Disability CDFI Coalition, he serves on the board of disABILITY LINK, the Center for Independent Living that serves the Metro Atlanta area and serves on the Community Advisory Council for the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University. Previously, Danny has worked at disABILITY LINK, to support people with disabilities to live in the community of choice. Danny is a graduate of Georgia State University, where he received his MA in Applied Linguistics.

Donna Liska-Johnson

Donna Liska-Johnson, aka L-J, has been a teacher for 10 years. She began her teaching career as a substitute teacher, special education parapro and finally earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Georgia in 2008, shortly after turning 40. In 2016, L-J earned her Masters from Brenau University while teaching full time. She has taught every grade level from pre-k through high school in special education, the majority of it in middle school where she taught resource and co-taught language arts classes. Her journey of becoming a teacher of students with visual impairments began several years ago and she now works with both elementary and high school students as a TVI in Gwinnett County public schools. She lives in Loganville with her husband Steven, 2 step-daughters, and 3 cats.

Robin Garrett

Robin Garrett graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor Of Science in Early Childhood Education in 1992. She began her career teaching general education in grades K-4 in 1992. Robin earned her Masters in 1993 while teaching full time. She then completed her General Education ! & 2 and Adaptives program in 2013 and taught resource in grades K-3 and Significant Developmental Delay Kindergarten for a year and a half. She was awarded Teacher of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year. She then pursued certification teaching students with visual impairments and has been working as an itinerant TVI for the past 13 months. She has taught for 25 years in general education, special education, and visual impairments.. Robin lives in Dacula with her husband and a Shih Tzu named Waldo. Robin has two daughters who attend the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern. Both girls will graduate from college this November and next May.

Zel Murray

Zel has been a Teacher of the Visually Impaired since 1996 and an Orientation and Mobility Specialist since 2004. In addition, she is certified to teach students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. She has worked both as an itinerant teacher and for the Department of Human Resources. She came to the Smokey Powell Center in 2011 as an Outreach Consultant serving students with visual impairments and their teachers throughout the state. In 2017 she became the State Vision Consultant and serves the state of Georgia in that capacity along with her Smokey Powell duties.

Nancy Parkin-Bashizi

Nancy is a COMS and a CVRT who has worked at VRS for 25 years. In addition to teaching, she has collaborated in program development at VRS, building their Job Readiness, Counselling and Transition programs. She is a board member and volunteer with GA Blind Sports and enjoys introducing sports and leisure activities to anyone interested in trying something new.

Toni Prahl

Toni has been a Teacher of the Visually Impaired since graduating from Illinois State University in 1975. She has worked as both an itinerant teacher and as a resource room instructor in Florida and Georgia. She came to the Smokey Powell Center in 2011 as an Outreach Consultant serving students with visual impairments and their teachers throughout the state.

Marty Schultz

Marty Schultz is a mentor-speaker, angel fund investor, award-winning innovator and has bootstrapped and grown over five companies in his career.

His current hobby is building accessible audio games for the blind. To date, his company, Blindfold Games, has released over 80 games that promote learning through gamification. The games are enjoyed by over 25,000 people from 7 to 70 years old, and recently surpassed the 500,000th download.

Marty is a co-founder of ObjectiveEd, a new company whose mission is to maximize educational outcomes. Marty holds degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and a certificate from Harvard Business School.

Michael Silverman

Michael Silverman, M.Ed, has worked in the field of blindness for 12 years. After graduating from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Blind Rehabilitation, Michael was first employed at the Smokey Powell Assistive Technology and Low Vision Center during the startup period/early years. Michael then worked as an itinerant TVI/O&M specialist for a large metro Atlanta K-12 school system.

Currently, Michael works as a Program Specialist at the Georgia Department of Education. Michael’s role includes coordinating the production of Braille, large print, and electronic textbooks for K-12 students who are who are blind or visually impaired. Michael is a subject matter expert on testing accessibility and assistive technology. In addition, Michael teaches a braille literacy course to teachers pursuing their TVI endorsement.

Martha Veto

Martha received her M.Ed. in Special Education- Visual Impairment at the University of Pittsburgh and has worked at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind as a classroom teacher, the Virginia Beach Public Schools as a Vision Resource Room teacher, and with the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind Outreach Department as an Orientation and Mobility Instructor. In 2004, she began working for the South Carolina Interagency Deaf-Blind Project as Project Manager. Since moving to Georgia in 2008, Martha has worked for Georgia's Deaf-Blind Project, GSAP. She is a Perkins-Roman Endorsed Specialist in the CVI Range.

Carmen Willings

Carmen Willings is a full-time TVI and the founder and developer of the web resource Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, found at teachingvisuallyimpaired.com. She has taught students with special needs for 24 years, with the last 20 years working with students that are blind and visually impaired. She received her certification as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments from the NCCU Visual Impairment Program.

She began her career in the vision field as a classroom teacher at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since 2003, she has worked full time as an itinerant teacher in the public school systems including North Carolina, Ohio, and currently with the Forsyth County Schools in Cumming, Georgia.

She is a GaAER board member, a 2018 APH Scholar, and has recently published resources for fellow TVI's including the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC and several supporting Grab & Go Supplement workbooks.