Table of Contents

Spotlight

Personnel Actions

Tech Tip

Success Stories

Around the State

End Zone

Spotlight

Doyle named Division Director

By JoAnn Carrin

Director Robert DoyleJune 19, 2013, Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett named Robert Lee Doyle, III, as the director of the Division of Blind Services (DBS) within the Florida Department of Education. Doyle began his position with the division July 15, 2013.

Prior to his appointment to DBS director, Doyle served as director of the Division for the Visually Impaired within the Department of Human Services in Delaware. He implemented initiatives that resulted in an increase in successful employment outcomes for individuals with visual impairment and oversaw the expansion of the food service and vending machine business opportunities for people who are blind. Doyle places a high priority on customer service, accountability and better relations with consumer groups. He served in this capacity for the last four years.

“We are fortunate that Robert Doyle joined us as division director,” said Commissioner Bennett. “He has a proven track record of providing services and finding successful employment for blind and visually-impaired citizens. I am very pleased that he came to Florida to continue his work in the Sunshine State.”

Doyle has 14 years of experience in human services and education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political studies and a master’s degree in public administration, both from the University of Illinois.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Director Aleisa McKinlay has served as interim director of DBS during the past six months.

“I want to thank Aleisa for her tireless work on behalf of the department,” added Commissioner Bennett. “Her leadership and commitment to the needs of Florida citizens is commendable.”

Florida Mentors

By JoAnn Carrin

FDOE mentoring logo

Education Commissioner Bennett and Division Director Doyle are encouraging employees to become involved in mentoring. The Commissioner has set a department wide goal of 15 percent employee participation, the director has followed setting the same goal for DBS employees. You will need to have your supervisor sign off on the mentoring form, give a copy to your personnel liaison and send me a copy by August 23. I will calculate the progress toward our goal and will keep Director Doyle informed. So far six people have indicated their intent to sign-up. All volunteers will receive special recognition.

For more information and forms you may visit the DOE mentoring website at:
http://www.fldoe.org/mentoring.

Personnel Actions

New Hires

We welcome our newest employees to the DBS family.

Promotions

We congratulate Peggy Aikens, who was promoted to administrative assistant at the library.

Departures

We wish Penny Crouch, who retired from the library as a fiscal assistant, the best in her future endeavors.

Rest in Peace, Lynda C. Dotson of District 9

By Barbara Cutrera

Picture collage of DotsonLynda C. Dotson was born July 16, 1956, in Wichita, Kansas. Lynda received a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Kansas State University, then went on to achieve her master's degree in rehabilitation teaching for the visually impaired from Boston College. After graduation, Lynda moved to Fort Myers and started working at the Visually Impaired Persons Center of Southwest Florida. In 1990, she began her career with DBS as a rehabilitation teacher for all programs. During her 22 years with DBS, Lynda worked as a senior rehabilitation specialist for the independent living and adult program, and the vocational rehabilitation program.

Lynda loved singing in her church choir, spending time with family and friends, playing with her dog and enjoying mystery novels. She established the Lynda C. Dotson Scholarship which awarded several students money to assist with their educational needs.

Following a lengthy and courageous health battle, Lynda passed away June 15, 2013. She will be greatly missed, not only by her co-workers and friends in District 9, but by DBS employees around the state, clients and associates in other agencies, the community, her family and fellow church members.

"Lynda was a friend to everyone she met," said District 9 Administrator Carla Craver. “She was a devoted worker, and a determined and caring person who spent her life making a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Tech Tip

Computer Maintenance

By Kendra Jahnke

This month’s Tech Tip includes some quick ways to help maintain your computer.

Cartoon with man frustrated with his computer

Success Stories

Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Goal

By JoAnn Carrin

Congratulations on a very good job! Everyone should take credit for his or her hard work toward this year's vocational rehabilitation employment goal. We had 700 successful case closures this year. Special recognition is given to Districts 2, 5, 7, 9 and 10 for meeting or exceeding their goal. DBS is continuing to move in the right direction by overcoming economic challenges. Every person in the division can be proud of the results. The true beneficiaries of this year's employment outcomes are DBS clients who will enjoy a new sense of economic independence.

Business Enterprise Veteran Returns

By Janet Chernoff

Woody and Marion MatthewsGeorge “Woody” Matthews was first involved with the Business Enterprise Program (BBE) during the 1970s in Tallahassee, Fla. For more than six years he operated snack bars and cafeterias in the Larson, Knott, Mayo and Winewood office buildings. He left in 1980 to pursue a career in broadcast engineering and worked with Comcast and Florida public broadcasting.

More than 30 years later he returned to the BBE. After completing the required training and being licensed as a BBE vendor he took over management of the Pinellas vending machine route in St. Petersburg, Fla. This is a challenging route that comprises 33 locations. The numbers of locations along the route change as some are closed and others are added.

Woody’s wife Marion has been his primary employee until she injured her back and he hired a staff member to take on her duties. Even with the changes, Woody and Marion meet the challenges and are moving forward. They have increased sales in almost every location. In addition to the responsibilities of his route, Woody is active with the BBE committee of vendors and attends meetings regularly.

Around the State

Gainesville Job Readiness Classes

By Gina White

Group in conference room during trainingEach Monday, job-seekers from the Gainesville, Fla. DBS office gather in the conference room and meet with Benjamin Cutler, job readiness coordinator, and Robin Whiteley, executive director both from Florida Center for the Blind (FCB) in Ocala, Fla. Benjamin and Robin provide skills training in resume and cover letter writing and in the proper way to fill out a job application and they also conduct mock interviews. Joseph Doran, DBS employment placement specialist, also provides valuable information and leads that will boost the attendees’ opportunities to apply for various job openings.

The three participants in the program, Debra Simmons, Donald Johnson and Lily Ann Galasso, were dressed in their finest interview-ready attire, as they participated in the interviews. They arrived in good spirits and with smiling faces, eager and ready to learn. Both the FCB and DBS are doing excellent work preparing participants with the skills they need to obtain viable positions in the Gainesville area.

Learning, Living and Laughing at Bishop’s Glen Retirement Community

By Kara Riley

Braille and Talking Books Library logoIn June, the Braille and Talking Books Library had the pleasure of holding a Learning, Living and Laughing Workshop at Bishop’s Glen Retirement Community in Holly Hill, Fla. While the event did not garner a huge crowd of people, those who turned out for the presentation did so because they or a loved one needed our services. It was wonderful to get out in the community and connect with potential and current patrons.

Light refreshments were served during a brief presentation about the library and library services. Immediately after the presentation, we gave an equipment demonstration to attendees who wanted to see the machines in action. More than half the participants signed up for a library account after our presentation. We hope we can repeat this experience by being a part of future events at Bishop’s Glen.

Digital Accessibility Project

By JoAnn Carrin

Interim Director Aleisa McKinlay recognized the assistive technology staff at the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired for their amazing help with the Digital Learning Accessibility Project. Anna Johnson, Gary Kruger, Kati Lear, Charles Randall, Mark Lear, Dave Wasko, Maryanne West and Cynthia Slater spent many hours reviewing the digital course content of Florida Virtual School high school courses.

Front left to right; Kati Lear, Cynthia Slater and MaryAnne West;

The Digital Learning Accessibility Project is a very important effort, and McKinlay commended staff members for their commitment and willingness to add to their already busy workload. “You have knowledge and a unique skill set that enabled you to perform this review, and without your support this project could not have gone forward,” said McKinlay.

Based on the results of this work, the state office staff, as well as the Florida Department of Education Office of Digital Learning and Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, will work with digital education providers to share best practices and guidance. The end result will support successful development and continuous improvement of digital course content for students who are blind or visually impaired, which will help them to succeed in life.

End Zone

Publication and Submission Information

We hope you found this month’s newsletter interesting. Remember, we need your submissions each month. Let us know what’s going on in your district or facility. The publication date for the Visionary newsletter is the first week of each month. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of each month. Comments, suggestions, and submissions should be directed to:

DBS Communications:  Communications@dbs.fldoe.org

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

To request a Braille version of this edition of the Visionary contact the Braille and Talking Book Library: al.peterson@dbs.fldoe.org or call 800-226-6075.

MIS Help Desk:
Phone: 850-245-0360
Email: DBS.HelpDesk@dbs.fldoe.org

AWARE Help Desk:
Phone: 850-245-0395 or 866-841-0912
Email: Aware.support@dbs.fldoe.org

Division of Blind Services website (external): dbs.myflorida.com.


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