Reading is a right, not a privilege.”

Board of Directors 2019-2020

Executive

Directors

Natalie Martiniello, M.Sc, CVRT (President)

Natalie is first and foremost a longtime braille reader and is passionate about all things braille. She is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, and has taught both braille and other independent living skills to children, adults and seniors with visual impairments. She developed the group-based curriculum for adult learners at the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre and, through the Quebec Minestry of Education (MELS), steered the training workshops for Quebec-based braille teachers and transcribers transitioning to Unified English Braille. She is also a Ph.D Candidate at the University of Montreal - her research focuses on the impact of aging on braille reading performance and evidence-based approaches to improve outcomes for older braille learners. She is the appointed Canadian Representative on the braille research and braille technology committees of the International Council on English Braille (ICEB) and has been a board member of Braille Literacy Canada since 2013. Natalie has been heavily involved in advocacy initiatives related to braille, accessibility and inclusion over the years and currently also sits on the board of directors of Accessible Media Inc. She is an avid reader and loves to travel -- her most special trip was visiting the house of Louis Braille in Coupvray, France!

Daphne Hitchock (Vice-President)

Daphne began her teaching with visually impaired students in Alberta in 1978. She completed her Master's in the Education of the Visually Impaired at San Francisco State. After moving back to BC in 1980, she has enjoyed an extremely rewarding career working with low vision and braille reading students, ages 4-19, in several school districts in BC. For the past 13 years she has worked in the Greater Victoria School District. Daphne has a passion for teaching braille and supporting all her students to gain equitable access. She continues to advocate strongly for her students in the schools and the community. Many of her students have benefited from funding and grants from outside agencies, through the grant applications she has assembled on their behalf.

Daphne is enthusiastic about promoting braille through the creation of educational opportunities for those in the schools and in the community. She has contributed to the development and delivery of many projects over the years including BC's ELVI project (Early Literacy for the Visually Impaired), Braille Story Kits with the Vancouver Island Public Library and creating teaching videos. More recently, she has been involved in beta testing the iBrailleChallenge app, field testing APH Patterns for Preschool and trialing new technologies with her students. She encourages them to participate in activities such as the Braille Challenge and the CNIB Creative Writing Contest. She has presented to community service groups and has provided workshops and conferences on the education of visually impaired students.

Daphne actively served on the executive of BC Vision Teachers for 12 years, during which time she held the position of president for 5 years. She also continues to be an active member of the Vancouver Island Vision Teachers' chapter. With the adoption of UEB in Canada, Daphne certified as a braille transcriber, to ensure that her students would have the opportunity to have the new code presented to them. She looks forward to continuing to learn and develop programs with and for the visually impaired.

Anthony Tibbs (Treasurer)

Anthony is a lawyer with Merchant Law Group LLP, and his practice focuses on civil, class action, and human rights litigation. Since 2006, he has served on numerous charitable and not-for-profit boards, including the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Guide Dog Users of Canada, Media Access Canada, and Braille Literacy Canada. With a business/commerce and IT background, Anthony brings a variety of skills to the BLC board from a managerial, accounting, information technology, and legal perspective.

Kim Kilpatrick (Secretary)

My name is Kim Kilpatrick. I have been totally blind since birth and a braille reader and writer since age 6. I am forever passionate about braille and have used a Perkins brailler, Slate and stylus, Electronic braille displays and notetakers. I am so excited about the future of braille and want to use braille whenever I can. I studied music therapy and worked for many years in long-term and palliative care settings. then I studied volunteer resource management and worked as a volunteer coordinator. I also became a professional storyteller and I established and continue to coordinate the GTT (Get Together with Technology) program that allows peer mentoring as people who are blind or have low vision train and support each other in learning and using technology. I am proud of this program, which is now spreading to many locations. I have served on many boards and committees and have done a lot of volunteer work. I travel through life with my fourth guide dog (black lab Tulia) and I am so excited about being on the board of BLC.

Jen Goulden (Past President)

Jen Goulden has over ten years' experience in the field of document accessibility with the Government of Canada and then as a consultant with Crawford Technologies. She holds a Master's degree in linguistics from the University of Ottawa and speaks English, French and Spanish. She is also a certified transcriber/proofreader of Unified English Braille (UEB). Before joining Crawford Technologies as a full-time employee, Jen worked for the Government of Canada as a human resources advisor in employee performance management. She has been a board member of Braille Literacy Canada (formerly the Canadian Braille authority) since 2008 and has been its president since 2011. She also serves as treasurer of the International Council on English Braille and is Crawford Technologies' representative to the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). She plays the piano, is a voracious reader (braille, of course!) and loves to travel.

Jessica Blouin (T-Base Communications)

Jessica Blouin is a Transcription Specialist and Manager of Transcription Services at T-Base Communications. Since 2008 Jessica has been transcribing textbooks, transactional documents, and various types of documents into braille, ensuring transcription and output meets both the customer's requirements and BANA rules for English Braille (EBAE), Foreign languages, Unified English Braille (UEB), the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics, Code Braille Français Uniformisé (CBFU) and tactile graphics. Jessica also has a great deal of experience proofreading and editing transcribed material—as part of the quality assurance process—and creating tactile graphics using Microcapsule Paper.

Jen Jesso

Jen grew up with low vision and was taught to read both print and braille in elementary school, although she primarily used print until she started university and began using braille for most of her coursework. After graduating from high school, Jen attended Simon Fraser University where she graduated with a BA in English in 2005 followed by a BEd in Elementary Education in 2007. After several years of teaching, she also completed an MA in Special Education with a specialization in students with visual impairments from the University of British Columbia in 2014. Jen also has credentials to teach students with learning disabilities and a certificate in teaching English as a Second Language. Jen has worked with children and adults with visual impairments in a variety of roles over the past decade. These have included positions as an itinerant vision teacher for students in kindergarten to grade 12; as an instructor teaching adults with visual impairments at Vancouver Community College; and as an Assistive Technology Specialist with CNIB, as well as through many volunteer opportunities. Currently, Jen is a Vision Outreach Coordinator at the Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired and supports vision teachers and students throughout the province of BC. Jen uses both print and braille on a daily basis and is passionate about braille literacy for children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. She is an active volunteer and has served on the boards of several advocacy organizations, including Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers and at the chapter, provincial, and national level of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians.

Laurie Moore (W. Ross McDonald School)

Laurie has a Master's of Education degree from Brock University. She has been a teacher in the Toronto District School Board and the Halton District School Board for over 15 years where she taught children from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Passionate about students and their learning, Laurie spent the last few years as a coordinator at the Halton District School Board, as a secondary Student Success teacher and then at the board level where she worked with teachers in assessment and curriculum instruction. Laurie has been the Vice-Principal at W. Ross Macdonald School for the last three years. Throughout her career and education, Laurie has had a keen interest in literacy, particularly in the development of braille literacy of young children.

Dwila Nixon

Dwila Nixon is currently employed by Regina Public Schools as an itinerant Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVI). She works with students aged 3-21 years, has co-chaired two provincial INSIGHT conferences, has been to Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS) in Huntsville, Alabama, and has supported four Master's Degree students who are now employed by the Program for Students with Visual Impairments (PSVI) in Regina Public Schools.

Dwila is a keen advocate for human rights, and a strong supporter of braille literacy. She wrote an article about "newbies who braille" for BLC (then CBA) in 2010 and attended the UEB Summit in Vancouver in 2012. When asked her thoughts on adopting UEB, here is what she had to say:

UEB is a philosophy that promotes the equality of all humans in our global society. It aligns braille with print; it ensures accessibility of braille in all English speaking countries, and it allows for much cleaner translation in a technology-driven world.

Cheryl Roberts-Dupasquier

Cheryl is employed with the Province of Manitoba as leader of the Braille, Tactiles, and E-text Production Team, and has been in this position for 8 years. She is responsible for ensuring that current braille standards for educational materials are communicated and maintained. She is certified in UEB, braille instruction, music braille transcription, and Nemeth Code.

As a member of Manitoba's UEB Implementation Committee, Cheryl works closely with braille transcribers, and communicates with vision teachers on UEB implementation for students in Manitoba. Cheryl is also an instructor for CNIB braille courses for Manitoba school staff who have made a commitment to improve their braille skills and to achieve Literary or UEB braille certification. She has written and facilitated workshops on changes in braille standards, and workshops on using braille translation software for production in the classroom.

As the daughter of a Canadian Air Force pilot, Cheryl attended schools throughout Canada and the United States. This experience taught her to celebrate diversity and to appreciate cultural differences. Her education includes a University Certificate in Adult Learning, and a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Psychology.

Melanie Romer-Noel (CNIB)

I have been working in the braille department of CNIB for 11 years and have been a transcriber for almost 10 years. I received my Braille Literary Transcription certification in the fall of 2007, and the UEB Update certification in the spring of 2013.

In addition to trying to figure out how the translation software and Braille Formats work, one of my favourite parts of my job is working on printbraille. I loved reading as a child and I am pleased to produce books for young braille readers.

Glenda Parsons

Glenda Parsons is currently the Director of Programs for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired with the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA). She is also a part-time professor at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia teaching educators who are training to work with students who are blind or visually impaired. Prior to being Director, Glenda was the Assistive Technology Consultant and a Classroom Teacher at APSEA. She was also an Itinerant Teacher working with students who are blind or visually impaired in Newfoundland and Labrador. As an educator of 33 years, Glenda continues to be dedicated to guiding students to succeed, encouraging a positive learning environment, while inspiring a passion for excellence.