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By Bill Daugherty, Superintendent, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Abstract: TSBVI selected a new Outreach Director, Emily Coleman. You will learn more about Emily, her background, family, and her new role at TSBVI.

Keywords: Outreach Director, leadership, parent, family, advocate, TSBVI

What better way to honor the decades of outstanding and transformative work of former TSBVI Outreach Director, Cyral Miller, than to have Emily Coleman assume the leadership of TSBVI’s statewide efforts? In more good news, Cyral will remain at TSBVI in an outreach capacity. The position opened by Cyral attracted many truly outstanding candidates, and Emily’s background and views on the challenges and opportunities facing our field now and in the future resonated well with the excellent and diverse interview team.

Emily, her husband, and three children come to Texas from western Washington State, where she served as the Director of Outreach for the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB), as well as the State Vision Consultant for Sensory Disabilities, and the Ex-Officio Trustee for the American Printing House for the Blind. And, added on just before she accepted the position at TSBVI, Emily is now the President Elect of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER).

Emily first served WSSB as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired. The model of outreach at WSSB is to provide TVI services under contract with school districts. As WSSB’s Outreach Director, she was responsible for managing these service contracts and the associated TVIs statewide. This level of administrative capability as well as the direct knowledge Emily has of specialized services in the public schools will serve us all very well in her new role. But it may be her background as an advocate for parents and families that will be of much interest to TX SenseAbilities readers. Emily is an active blogger on family issues in special education, and serves as a contributing editor of AFB’s Family Connect. She founded and facilitated a communication platform for parents of children who are blind or visually impaired in Washington along with many other efforts to support families.

When you meet Emily Coleman, and I hope that happens soon, this background will make itself apparent in the knowledge, joy, energy and commitment she is bringing to our combined statewide efforts. Please help welcome her to what we hope she and her family will call home for many years to come.

Emily and Cyral are smiling and sitting outside of the Outreach building on TSBVI campus.

Caption: New TSBVI Outreach Director, Emily Coleman, smiling with former Director Cyral Miller.