Invision Services Team Members

Meet a few of the many experienced professionals who serve with Invision…

 

Julie Bardin, Ph.D., Director of Professional Development & Programs, Lead Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Julie grew up in Columbus, Ohio, but in search of warmer climates, she earned her bachelors, masters, and doctorate in Visual Disabilities from Florida State University with specializations in orientation and mobility, transition, and personnel preparation.  She also completed the Elementary Education Certification Program at Florida A&M University. 

A TVI since 1997 Julie has experience as both an itinerant and resource program teacher at schools in Florida and North Carolina.  When not working with children, she teaches online courses for Florida State and West Virginia University’s TVI programs.

Julie is the author of the chapter, “Independent Living,” in a recently released publication from AFB Press, entitled, “ ECC Essentials: Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments ,” which prepared teachers to address the unique learning needs of children and adolescents who are blind and visually impaired.

In addition to her book chapter, Julie is the author or co-author of multiple peer reviewed journal articles. Julie has presented at national and international conferences on topics including low vision, academic engagement of learners with visual impairments, braille methods, and a paper compatible abacus. 

As a TVI, Julie loves having to think outside the box to help students access materials and learn the curriculum.

 

Laura Buttrum, Library of Congress Certified Braillist

Laura, a native of Randolph, New York, attended the State University of New York in Alfred, New York. An exceptional braillist knowledgeable in all braille software technology, Laura has provided material production services since 1998.

In 2009 Laura joined Invision with her expertise at turning printed materials into braille and producing tactile graphics for the clients we serve. She also enjoys creating braille music for visually impaired band and chorus students. Laura has her National Braille Certification from the Library of Congress.

Laura enjoys seeing the visually impaired students she has helped over the years graduate from college and land jobs in their chosen fields.

 

Mike Corbett, Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Mike, a graduate of Western Michigan University, has been an accomplished Orientation and Mobility Specialist for 43 years. He has served as the State Orientation and Mobility Coordinator for Indiana, an Orientation and Mobility Specialist in the Blind Children’s Program at Peabody College, and later as the Director of Peabody College’s training program for O&M Specialists in Nashville. In North Carolina he served as the State Orientation and Mobility Coordinator for the Division of Services for the Blind. 

Mike’s interest is Electronic Travel Aids for the blind (ETAs). He has taught certification courses in ETAs for Orientation and Mobility Specialists around the country and worked with a manufacturer to develop their ETA. 

Retired from full-time work, Mike helps Invision problem-solve and meets short-term O&M needs. See our Spotlight on Mike .

 

Jan Elder, Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Jan graduated from Meredith College with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and certifications in both Early Childhood Education and Social Work. She taught in regular education at Wake Forest Elementary School for 6 years before she became a stay-at-home mom and later the Director of Wake Forest Baptist Preschool for 11 years.

Jan’s desire to work with VI students took her to the Visual Impairment Training Program at North Carolina Central University, where she studied to become a Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS).  She also holds current teacher licensure with North Carolina Public Schools.

Jan thoroughly enjoys spending time with her family at the lake and teaching Orientation & Mobility with Invision in the public schools.

 

Kelly Fort, Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Kelly began her career as a licensed Teacher of the Visually Impaired with the Governor Morehead preschool in 1994. She pursued an undergraduate program in K-6th grade, birth to 21 years in visual impairment, birth to kindergarten, and infant massage certification.

Kelly served birth to 5-year-olds itinerantly and taught in the classroom for rising kindergarteners on the Governor Morehead School campus for 7 years before taking a hiatus to raise her own children.

Since 2008 Kelly has served with Invision in the public schools near her home on the coast, where for 6 years she has run a surfing camp she founded for VI kids from North Carolina and beyond.

 

Jill Fowler, Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Originally from Ohio, Jill has lived in NC since 2004 and has served itinerantly with Invision for several years.

Jill received her education degree at the University of Toledo in Ohio and is certified in Visual Impairment and Special Education: Mild/Moderate Disabilities.

Jill enjoys seeing a visually impaired child become independent and filled with confidence. Starting her 9th year of teaching as an itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, she calls her work “the best job in the world!”

 

Joe Greene, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Joe Greene is a dually certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialist. Joe has a BA in English Literature and an M.Ed., vision specialization, both from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2012, he earned a Reading Specialist certification from the University of Akron, OH. Joe has worked as part of a county consortium of special education services in Ohio from 2004-2013. He provided itinerant services in both vision and O&M.

In 2013 he accepted the position of Manager of Education Services at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind in Miami, FL. During his tenure, he was responsible for transition services for teenagers, supplementary education in braille and technology to elementary students, and started a basic adult education and English classes for more than 40 adults with visual impairment and blindness.

In 2015, Joe decided he loved teaching more than management, and moved to Fredericksburg, VA to join another agency providing contract services to public schools. After a successful 2 years in VA, Joe decided to join the staff of Invision Services. He loves being part of a dynamic team of seasoned professionals working to develop and increase independence among the population of people with visual impairments.

 

John Higgins, Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist, Founding Director

John, a native of Minnesota, received Bachelor's degrees in English and Religion from Berea College in 1984 and a Master's degree in Blind Rehabilitation with an emphasis in Orientation and Mobility from Western Michigan University in 1985.

John came to North Carolina in 1985 and was fortunate to fill the first-ever opening for the position of Orientation and Mobility Specialist in a North Carolina public school system, Wake County, where he worked for 10 years.

Owner, President, Founding Director, and COMS, John practices win-win thinking to create an environment where students, parents, instructors, and schools all benefit from each other.

 

Elga Joffee, M.Ed., MPS, Lead Teacher of Orientation and Mobility 

Elga Joffee earned her M.Ed. from Boston College in Special Education and Rehabilitation with a specialty in orientation and mobility and a Masters of Professional Studies in Management and Urban Professions from the New School for Social Research in New York City, where she completed a specialty in health services administration and independent study in education administration. Elga holds certification as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist and is credentialed as a New York State and North Carolina Teacher of the Visually Impaired. 

Prior to retiring to North Carolina, Elga served as Coordinator of Orientation and Mobility at the NYC Department of Education, and Director of the Information Center and National Program Associate at the American Foundation for the Blind.  She is the author of a wide range of peer reviewed books, textbook chapters, and journal articles in the area of orientation and mobility for school age students, students who are deaf-blind, students with severe visual and multiple impairments, environmental accessibility, and civil rights for people who are blind and visually impaired.  She has presented on these topics at local, national, and international conferences.  

Elga teaches on-line courses at Hunter College of the City of New York, and has been an active board member of the New York State Vision Rehabilitation Association, an organization working to secure licensure for the specialized professions of orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation therapy, and low vision therapy. 

With more than 40 years of professional service, Elga’s greatest loves remain teaching orientation and mobility to children and young adults, and preparing teachers of the visually impaired and orientation and mobility specialists to carry the professions forward.

Elga and her husband live in New Bern, NC, are parents to three grown children, and proud grandparents of 7 wonderful grandchildren. 

 

Kelly Myers, TVI Coordinator, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Kelly is a graduate of North Carolina Central University with a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Visual Impairment and a Masters in Education with a concentration in Orientation & Mobility.
She has served the TVI and O&M needs of students in the public schools of North Carolina for the past 8 years.

Kelly joined Invision in 2008 and enjoys working with her visually impaired students and raising her own children with her husband, an NC State Trooper.

 

Denise Munz, Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Denise, a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Thiel College in her native Pennsylvania, and her Master's degree and dual certification in Visual Impairment and Orientation & Mobility from the University of Pittsburgh. Denise has 37 years of experience in the O&M field.

Prior work experience includes Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind, Governor Morehead School, Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind, and Wake County Public Schools.

Denise, Invision’s longest serving O&M Specialist with nearly 17 years in our practice, also provides contract services to the deaf-blind population at the Eastern NC School for the Deaf.

 

Kathy O’Connor, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Kathy began her career in California as a licensed guide dog trainer for 9 years at Guide Dogs for the Blind, training guide dogs and visually impaired adults in the use of their new dogs.

After completing a Master’s in Special Education at San Francisco State College, Kathy served 3 years as a TVI working with children with visual impairments and other disabilities in public and private school settings in California before moving back to her native New York. There she spent 5 years as lead classroom teacher in a self- contained preschool setting for children with multiple disabilities, including blindness, at Helen Keller Children’s Learning Center.

Kathy has served the TVI and O&M needs itinerantly with Invision since moving to the mountains of North Carolina in 2010 and is entering her 21st year of service to the field.

 

Susan Phelan, Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Susan began serving visually impaired people in high school, volunteering in the VI resource classroom, where she discovered her joy for a TVI career path.

Graduating from Northern Illinois University in 1970, Susan taught in a Corpus Christi, Texas Visual Impairment Resource Room and itinerantly for grades 7-12 before moving to Fayetteville, NC in 1971 to continue teaching in the classroom.

Susan has served as the Director of the Vision Resource Center in Fayetteville and as an Educational Outreach Coordinator for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, now known as Learning Ally.

Susan joined our practice in 2009 and enjoys her visually impaired students’ positive attitudes and sense of humor.

 

Deborah Shearin, Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Deborah Shearin is a graduate of East Carolina University with a Master’s in Special Education in Visual Impairment and Special Education Supervision. Debbie was an accomplished Teacher of the Visually Impaired for over 35 years before joining our practice.

Debbie enjoys teaching her students Braille literacy and introducing them to the joys of using an iPad in the mainstream classroom.

 

Daniel Simmons, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Licensed Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Daniel is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Licensed Teacher of the Visually Impaired with Invision Services, Inc. He has served the visually impaired community since 2007, and enjoys the challenges providing quality rehabilitation and educational support. Daniel specializes in accessible technology, 3D printing to create tactile models and maps, and working with Argus II retinal prosthesis patients. 

 

Angel Wallace, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Angel’s Bachelor’s degree is in Early Childhood Education from Mount Olive College. She entered the field as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired in 2007 after receiving her Masters in Education in Visual Impairment and Orientation & Mobility from North Carolina Central University.

Angel enjoys working with preschool visually impaired students and sharing her Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation & Mobility knowledge with their parents.

 

Marc Wentz, Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Marc, a native of Erie, Pennsylvania has three grown sons and is married to Michele Wentz, another fine COMS serving with Invision. 

Marc has been in North Carolina since 1997 where he earned a Bachelor degree in History from UNCG and worked in inventory management. Marc recently switched careers and became a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist through Stephen F. Austin State University’s program in 2015.  

Although new to the field, his life experience of service working one-on-one with a student who was blind, in addition to his faith, community and family ties with Michele have provided him a keen understanding of the field and motivation to become a COMS and guided his decision to change careers and be of further service to others. 

Marc reports It was a long journey but taking the steps to become a COMS was "one of the best decisions of my life."