The Texas Perspective
Authors: Emily Coleman, Superintendent, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Keywords: outreach, student support, statewide, independent school district, ISD, education service centers, ESCs
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On August 1st, I moved from the position of Outreach Director into the role of Superintendent at TSBVI. My entire career to this point had been spent focusing on students who were visually impaired (VI), blind, or DeafBlind served in local independent school districts (ISDs). Starting as an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired, those were my roots. Therefore, my perspective has always been statewide, and that hasn’t changed with my new office setting. Let’s call this the “Texas Perspective,” because it requires big thinking.
Regardless of the department at TSBVI, or the programs housed within, we work for the benefit of all students in Texas. We’re providing research-based academic and enrichment programs for students who are here all year or just for a week. If we don’t have students physically on our property, we’re collaborating with experts outside of TSBVI to develop strong programs for them in their home communities. We’re solving problems that will be shared with our field and creating trainings that will meet the needs of teachers and families. We are here when any of the almost 11,000 students identified as blind, VI, or DeafBlind in Texas need us for any level of support.
Luckily for TSBVI, our new Outreach Director, Kate Borg, also has the Texas Perspective. Kate is coming to us from the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind where she most recently served as Director of Blind Educational Services. Kate has also worked as a university instructor, instructional coach, classroom teacher, itinerant teacher, and in a family support role. She’s leading the Outreach department with a heart and background for each of the almost 11,000 students with visual impairment or DeafBlindness in Texas.
Kate joins a team of individuals at TSBVI that is dedicated to Texas and to our students. As we continue through the 2019–2020 school year, we’ll be thinking more about each of those 11,000 students, as well as the ones we may be missing, and working to determine what is needed to make sure they are set up for success. We’re lucky to have statewide partners within universities, ISDs, and ESCs that have extensive expertise, and we benefit from our collaborative efforts. Together we’re all building a culture of improved student outcomes, not only with a Texas Perspective, but also with a Texas Passion.