Click Here to Read Pam Allen's Biography
Pamela Allen currently serves as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Center
for the Blind in Ruston, Louisiana. Prior to her appointment as the director in
2001, Ms. Allen served as the Director of Youth Services for the Center.
She is the President of the NFB of Louisiana and as Treasurer of the National Federation
of the Blind.
Ms. Allen has served on the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
and currently serves as Secretary of the National Association of Blind Rehabilitation
Professionals. Ms. Allen was appointed by Governor Jindal to the Louisiana Rehabilitation
Council and has held various offices on the Council. She is also a member of the
Advisory Board and the Research Council of the Professional Development and Research
Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University. Ms. Allen is a frequent presenter
and keynote speaker at seminars for parents and teachers of blind children, and
Ms. Allen received a B.A. in Psychology from Denison University, and her graduate
work includes certification from Utah State University. She and her husband, Roland,
a talented and dedicated Cane Travel instructor and active leader in the NFB, reside
in Ruston, Louisiana and have been married for twelve years. Both are active in
church and local community organizations.
Click Here to Read Cris Mathew's Biography
Cris has worked with Wright Vision Center for many years and will speak on the Dry
Eye Disease that is prevalent in our area due to weather.
Click Here to Read Gaye Mattke's Biography
Gaye Mattke has a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Dakota in Sociology
and Psychology. She has worked for Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired since
1990 and has been Director since 2001. She has served on a variety of boards and
councils addressing services for South Dakotan’s with disabilities. She’s a member
of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation; the National
Council of State Agencies for the Blind, the SD Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities
and South Dakota Rehab Action. She has one daughter who is a counselor at Carroll
Institute in Sioux Falls.
Click Here to Read Michael D. Goehring's Biography
Michael Goehiring, Field Representative Guiding Eyes for the Blind has twenty-six
years of experience in the field of trained dogs assisting those with disability.
Mr. Goehring has worked with clients in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Hong Kong assessing
individuals for appropriateness in use of a Guide Dog as well as providing training
and after care services. Michael is a co-founder and the former Executive Director
of Great Plains Assistance Dogs Foundation and spent six years in service on the
Board of Directors for Assistance Dogs International [1992 to 1998]. He has presented
at the ADI conference on multiple occasions as well as having presented on hundreds
of occasions to rehabilitation professionals and consumers alike on the topic of
dogs who serve those with disabilities [including AER, NFB, ACB, Foundation Fighting
Blindness] and others. Michael’s work with Seizure Dog training was featured on
Turning Point with Dianne Sawyer and the Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. Most recently,
Michael has presented at the University of Hong Kong, the International AER conference
in New Orleans and the IGDF conference in Kyoto, Japan.
Click Here to Read Twyla Eggers' Biography
Twyla Eggers began in her role as the Assistant Director for Service to the Blind
and Visually Impaired on December 9, 2013. Twyla was born in St. Paul, Minnesota,
but has lived in the Redfield, SD area for most of her life. She is married to Rob
who works as a Program Manager at the South Dakota Developmental Center in Redfield
and together they have 2 adult children Taylor, 23 also from Redfield and Dylan,
21 who lives in Watertown.
Twyla is a graduate of Northern State University in Aberdeen with a Bachelor of
Science degree Psychology & Sociology and a Minor in Gerontology. She received her
Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Montana State University. Twyla
has worked for state government for over 30 years. During this time she has worked
for the South Dakota Developmental Center, Division of Rehabilitation Services and
Division of Developmental Disabilities. When not at work, Twyla enjoys spending
time with her family and friends. Twyla very much enjoys the outdoors, gardening,
canning, camping and going to auctions.
Click Here to Read JoMarie Laughlin's Biography
JoMarie Laughlin has been the Assistive Technology Instructor at the SD Rehabilitation
Center for the Blind for the past 13 years and presently serves on the Atech committee
for SBVI. She expanded the Assistive Technology training by teaching the Mac Computer,
iPad and iPhone, the Victor Reader, the Pearl Camera, the Hovercam TV5 and much
Prior to working at SDRC, she was a client in the Blindness program during the end
of 1998-1999. She became a substitute teacher for all areas of the skills of blindness
until she became self-employed in her own business designing Braille greeting cards
and doing Braille transcription.
JoMarie completed the Literary Braille Certification in 2009 through the National
Library of Congress. She is a lifetime Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary member
and volunteers many hours helping others. She received the Directors Award in 2011
in recognition of her exceptional accomplishments in supporting the mission of the
Divisions. She enjoys spending time with her husband of 38 years and with her two
grown children, Nicholas and Starrla, and her three grandchildren Kyra, Haley and
Carter. In her spare time, she loves to garden, exercise and give a helping hand
for any person in need.
Click Here to Read Colleen Kirby's Biography
Colleen Kirby is the Assistant State Librarian for Access Services at the South
Dakota State Library. In this position she is responsible for the Collection Services
Program, the Reference and Documents Program, and the Braille and Talking Book Program.
Prior to being appointed to her current position Ms. Kirby served in several positions
at the State Library including Continuing Education Coordinator, Technical Services
Librarian and Digital Initiatives Librarian. She has also worked as the Special
Collections Librarian at Black Hills State University, Librarian for the South Dakota
State Archives, and as Assistant Cataloger for South Dakota State University.
Ms. Kirby is a South Dakota native having spent her childhood in the Lebanon area.
She received her undergraduate degree from Northern State University, a Masters
in Library Science from North Texas State University, and a Master of Arts in History
from the University of South Dakota.
Click Here to Read Connie Sullivan's Biography
Connie Sullivan is a Program Assistant with the Braille and Talking Book Program
at the South Dakota State Library. She has been a part of the Braille and Taking
Book Program for 31 years. Connie has been a crusader for Braille and Talking Book
Program her entire career, which includes working closely with the National Library
Service in Washington, DC. One major project was preparing for the onset of digital
talking books and the new digital talking book player. Connie believes that Libraries
are one of the very important corner stones in the education of not only our children
but also the adult population.
Click Here to Read Dave Miller's Biography
Dave Miller is a graduate of the South Dakota School for the Blind. He obtained
his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Dakota and his Master’s Degree
from Mankato State University. He was State Director of both the South Dakota Division
of Vocational Rehabilitation and State Services to the Blind and Visually Impaired.
He was appointed by the US Senate to serve on the Social Security Ticket to Work
Panel to advise the administration on issues affecting the employment of SSI/SSDI
beneficiaries. Prior to recent retirement he was the Chief Administrative Services
Officer for Communication Services for the Deaf. Dave has been a lifelong advocate
for people with disabilities and currently serves on the Board of the South Dakota
Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and the State Independent Living Council.
Click Here to Read Michelle Hosman's Biography
Michelle has been employed with Black Hills Special Services Cooperative for 16
years holding a variety of different positions but the last seven years as a Community
Work Incentives Coordinator providing benefits and employment counseling to SSA
beneficiaries in western South Dakota. She graduated from Chadron State College
in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Social Work. Michelle has
been a member of South Dakota RehabACTion since 2004 and received the “Friend of
Social Security” award in March 2012.