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a cranmer's abacus and a white cane laying across the pages of a spiral bound braille book Meet the APH Outreach Services Team

Our Outreach Services department is growing! We’re excited to offer more opportunities and support to families, educators, and professionals across the blindness field. We sat down with the team to learn about what each member does and how they work together to provide national support.

 

What is Outreach Services?

Outreach Services administers the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind by overseeing the annual student registration for the Federal Quota Program and providing consultation and support to Ex Officio Trustees (EOTs), professionals in the field of vision, families of people who are visually impaired, and consumers. Other services include distance learning and statewide/nationwide training opportunities; exhibits and presentations at regional, statewide, and national conferences; expanded core curriculum academies/professional learning communities; and parent and family training opportunities. Register for our Access Academy webinars to learn more about APH products and services, and invite students to participate in our ExCEL Academy, which features expanded core curriculum lessons for all ages. Professionals can also buzz over to the APH Hive, our FREE eLearning platform for educators and families that can be access at any time to earn ACVREP credits.

 

Get to Know Our Experts

Leanne Grillot (lgrillot@aph.org), National Director of Outreach Services

Leanne directs the operations of APH’s Outreach Services Department. Currently living in Tallahassee, Florida, she is working on her Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Special Education at Florida State University (FSU), where she is an adjunct professor in the Visual Disabilities Program. Since 1992, she has also served as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and O&M instructor for students of all ages. In her free time, Leanne loves to read fantasy and science fiction novels, watch romance movies, and spend time with her eight grandchildren.

 

Cindy Amback (camback@aph.org), Census Data and Information Manager and EOT Liaison

Cindy is responsible for ensuring that the yearly census is completed, all new EOTs and assistants are on-boarded, and all that are retiring are off-boarded. In 2005, she completed the large task of converting the census from floppy disks to a secure online system that designated users could update from anywhere, work or home. In 2020, her online system kept the census moving forward without fail and ensured students would have funding in the new year. In her spare time, Cindy loves to read, watch movies, and spend time with her grandchildren: Ella, Ben, and Grayson.

 

Troy Ambrose (tambrose@aph.org), Administrative Assistant

Troy generates the various forms, certificates, and data required to keep Outreach Services moving forward. He takes pride in creating accessible spreadsheets, forms, and documents that are functional for all users. Troy is also one of APH’s many talented tour guides. When not working at APH, Troy enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, going to concerts, and playing baseball and softball.

 

Amy Campbell (acampbell@aph.org), Learning Management System Administrator

Amy oversees the development of courses for the APH Hive. Amy’s experience in the blindness field spans over 20 years. She has worked as a TVI in Central Iowa and Central North Carolina; taught at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind; worked at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as a curriculum writer; and served as a state Educational Consultant and EOT for North Carolina. Amy, author of several articles published in a national peer reviewed journal, has experience presenting at a variety of national professional conferences.

 

Meet Your Regional Specialists

Regional Specialists help meet the unique needs of EOTs, professionals, families, and other service providers working with students who are blind or low vision, focusing on specific regions to provide support tailored to those communities. These experienced professionals will share knowledge across the field and build local networks of support. They are also qualified to assist with APH products and services. Regional Specialists are available to provide outreach at conferences, Braille Challenges, colleges, public and private schools, rehabilitation centers, and more.

 

Jeff Schwartz (jschwartz@aph.org), Regional Specialist, Southeast

Jeff represents Alabama, his home state of Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Virgin Islands. He has served as a TVI and O&M Specialist since 1992. He has also worked as an advisor for disability services at Miami Dade College; taught American Sign Language (ASL) as a foreign language course at Turner Technical High School in Miami; contracted with Lighthouse programs for college transition programs; and served as an Access Technology Specialist along with many other hats over the years. In his free time, Jeff enjoys gardening, traveling, riding roller coasters, and spending time with his dogs.

 

Scott Hegle (shegle@aph.org), Regional Specialist, Northcentral

Scott represents Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and his home state of Wisconsin. One of the newest members of the Outreach Services team, Scott is interested in access technology and hopes to be a resource for teachers and students who can benefit from the technology products from APH. Outside of work, he enjoys taking long walks with his guide dog Lumiere, listening to live music, and going out to eat.

 

Leslie Weilbacher (lweilbacher@aph.org), Regional Specialist, Northwest

Leslie represents Alaska, American Samoa, Guam, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, South Dakota, her home state of Washington, and Wyoming. Her experience working with students with visual impairments extends over 6 years in Kitsap and Whatcom counties and includes serving as a TVI and O&M Specialist, including summer programs in independent living skills, and career experiences for youth who are visually impaired. For the last two years, she has worked on completing a general certificate in Assistive Technology from California State University Northridge and through Western Michigan University for the Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist (CATIS) for people who are blind or visually impaired. Leslie lives with her current guide dog Neil and retired guide Gwenny and is working toward competing in Dressage with her horse Sid.

 

If you live in the Northeast, Southcentral, or Southwest regions of the US and are interested in representing your area as a Regional Specialist, reach out to Leanne Grillot (lgrillot@aph.org).

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