GA-AER Board Member Bios

Georgia Chapter of AER Officers:

Sarah Bussey is a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist, Certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. She earned her undergraduate degree in Vision Disabilities from Florida State University and her two Master’s Degrees in Orientation & Mobility and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy from Hunter College CUNY. Over the past 9 years, Sarah has worked with state agencies, non-profits, and school districts to provide vision services to their consumers. She has taken the opportunity to work with both children and adults who have visual impairments and teach them how to thrive in their home, school and community environments. Sarah enjoys working alongside her colleagues with the goal of sharing professional experiences and teaching techniques which take students to the next level.

Sarah Bussey

President Elect: Tracy Fitch (2022-2024)

Tracy has served students as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired since 2006 and has experience working with students across all ages, degree of visual impairment and ability level. In addition to her years of experience, she completed her Masters in Low Vision Blindness in 2011. She had two students compete and reach the National Level Braille Challenge. She has served the state of Georgia as a CVI Mentor since 2015 and received her Perkins-Roman CVI Range Endorsement in the Spring of 2016. She serves early intervention students as well as provides assessments through the Georgia PINES program and is a trainer for their programs. She has taught the Essential Assessments course for the Middle Georgia RESA Visual Impairments Cohort. She has provided support to parents, teachers and school districts through assessments, educational planning, teacher to teacher collaboration and trainings. She has presented both locally and at state level conferences for several years. She is currently working as an Independent Contractor.

Tracy Fitch

Immediate Past President: Carmen Willings (2020-2022)

Carmen Willings is a TVI and is also the founder and developer of the web resource Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, at www.teachingvisuallyimpaired.com. She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and added on her certification as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments through the North Carolina Central University Visual Impairment Program. She has worked with children with special needs since 1994. Carmen 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 passionate about supporting fellow vision professionals through development of teaching resources and sharing instructional strategies through her website and through workshops. Carmen is also one of the 2018 APH (American Printing House for the Blind) Scholars. Carmen recently published TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind and Visually Impaired along with Grab & Go ECC Resources. She also currently serves on the Georgia Vision Educators Statewide Training committee (GVEST).

Carmen Willings

Stephanie has been a TVI and COMS for over 10 years and is employed with Forsyth County Schools. While working on her master’s degree in VI, she was a Helen Keller Fellow in the 1st cohort. Prior to working with students with visual impairments, she received a master’s degree in School Psychology and worked in various capacities for UAB School of Optometry, Vision Science Research, Education and Outreach modules for over 14 years intermittently. She is the Georgia AER secretary and is looking to make a difference for not only students, but for the organization as well.

Stephanie Hardwick

Secretary: Jamie Marks (2022-2024)

Jamie Lee Marks is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Assistive Technology Specialist, and Educational Consultant. Formerly, as a Special Education teacher, she worked with children and families through early intervention, special needs pre-school, and as a teacher of students with motor, sensory, and learning differences. In 2012, Jamie added the VRT certification from Salus University. She completed her fieldwork at Helen Keller Services in Brooklyn and internship at Vision Rehabilitation Services of Georgia (VRS). She worked as a CVRT at VRS from 2014- 2018. During this time, she was involved in developing and implementing several successful programs that addressed independent living, access technology, job readiness, transition skills, and Diabetes/Low Vision Wellness. Currently, Jamie is an independent contractor and works with individuals who are blind/low vision through the VA, iCanConnect, and the Visually Impaired Foundation of Georgia. She is an Adjunct Professor at Salus University and enjoys collaborating, sharing resources, and connecting within a great community.

Jamie Marks with Frenchie, her dog guide, with New York City in the background

Georgia Chapter of AER At-Large Board Members:

Linda is a certified TVI. She holds a BS from the University of Tennessee (secondary math education and deaf education), MEd from Georgia State University (secondary math education), EdS from University of West Georgia (multi-handicapped), TVI add-on from Florida State University, and Ed. Leadership add-on from Mercer University. She began her teaching career in 1974 at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf where her students eventually included students who were deafblind. In 1988 she moved to Rockdale County Public Schools where she taught hearing impaired and eventually vision impaired students throughout the county on an itinerant basis. She retired from “brick and mortar” in 2013 and now serves as a consultant for the Georgia Cyber Academy to meet the needs of their hearing impaired and vision impaired population. In the virtual setting, much of her responsibility is assessment (functional vision and learning media assessments) and finding appropriate assistive technology for each individual student. She’s also teaching braille on-line to several legally blind (but not functionally blind) students—quite a challenge! Linda has been married to Johnny for 44 years. They have three grown children and three grandchildren (and three “bonus” grandchildren). Linda has served on the GA-AER Board for 14 years and has served as Secretary since 2006.

Linda Williams

Board Member At-Large: Marsha Farrow (2022-2026)

Marsha Farrow. Marsha Farrow, M.S., CVRT Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Marsha resides in Summerville, Georgia. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Married to Bob Farrow and they have one son and one daughter/son-in-law, one grandson and two granddaughters. -Active in faith-based service initiatives in her Christian Church. -Member of the Trion, Georgia Lions Club. Member of the American Council of Blind Lions an Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. -Treasurer of the Georgia Council of the Blind and Past President. First woman to be elected as President (2002-2006) of the Georgia Council of the Blind which was chartered in 1956 Presently, Secretary of the Floyd County Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind Elected in July 2008 and served four years on the Board of the American Council of the Blind and the first woman from Georgia to serve on this National Board. Prior to Marsha’s election, Georgia had not had anyone on the ACB Board for more than thirty years Currently employed with Vision Rehabilitation Services located in Smyrna, Georgia and this Agency serves over 32 counties in North Georgia. -Graduated with an Associate of Science Degree from Georgia Highlands College of Rome, A Bachelor of Science Degree from Covenant College of Lookout Mountain., Georgia, and a master’s degree from Florida State University of Tallahassee, Florida. -Member of the Association for the Education and the Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired -Served for over twenty-eight years with the Georgia State Merit System as a Mental Health Professional from 1978-2006. - Leisure time is often spent with family traveling and camping at their Alabama lake property.

Board Member At-Large: Shelby Noeth (2022-2026)

Shelby Noeth is a certified teacher, certified orientation & mobility specialist, certified teacher of students with visual impairments and just completed a program for vision rehabilitation therapist. She earned her graduate degree in education and specialized in autism and behavior disorders. She completed her teacher of visual impairments endorsement through Georgia RESA, an orientation & mobility degree through UNC Chapel Hill in NC and just completed a degree for vision rehabilitation therapy through the University of Boston. For the last 7 years, Shelby has worked as a teacher in a state school, school systems and as an itinerant for non-profits to provide vision services to their consumers. She has worked with both children and adults who have visual impairments and teaches them how to thrive in their home and community environments. Shelby is passionate about collaboration with colleagues, the sharing of knowledge and working as a team toward the goal of becoming more educated, serving our students with visual impairments and encouraging others to come into the field.

Board Member At-Large: Rachel Mellendorf (2022-2026)

Rachel Mellendorf is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired. She has worked in the field of Visual Impairments since 2007. The educational area of visual impairments is a passion for Rachel. She has an undergraduate degree in Education and Masters in Special Education Low Vision/Blindness. Rachel has worked with every grade level, various visual impairments, and various other disabilities. She enjoys both the complexity and consistency that comes from working with students with visual impairments. She has also worked with braille readers and enjoys finding creative ways to engage her tactile learners. In addition to her work with students, she has helped mentor other teachers of the visually impaired new to the profession. She has presented at the state-level and helped train other professionals on the local level that work with students that have visual impairments. She is currently employed by the Coweta County School System..

Board Member At-Large: Mindy Urech (2020-2024)

Mindy Ureche is a former Special Education Administrator supervising hearing, vision, and O&M services in Illinois. She is a Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Special Education Teacher, and newly minted Teacher for the Visually Impaired. Serving four years on committees via the Illinois Vision Leadership Council (administrators of programs and services for those who are blind or have visual impairment) has been a passion and she would like to similarly support GA AER’s committee goals. She has been a member of the IL AER for four years and this is her second year as a member of GA AER.

Board Member At-Large: Mary Ann Boger (2020-2024)

Mary Ann Boger. I am an itinerant TVI working in Gwinnett County Public Schools. I earned a Master’s degree in Visual Impairments from North Carolina Central University in 2019. I earned a Master’s degree in Special Education, Adapted Curriculum from Western Carolina University in 2017. Currently, I am working towards an Educational Specialist degree in Special Education which will also include an endorsement in dyslexia from the University of Georgia. Prior to becoming a TVI, I was the co-owner and chief bottle washer of a vineyard and winery in Northeast Georgia, working in the wine industry for over a decade. I am very interested in assistive technology as well as dyslexia within the BVI population. Personally, I’m the mother of 3 grown sons including twins and happily live in Atlanta with my husband and Jack Russell terrier named Larry.