Narrowing the Gap for Blind in Maryland Teacher Preparation Press Release

Release Date

National Federation of the Blind Celebrates Maryland Teachers of Blind Students

Thirteen Future Teachers to Participate in Innovative Program

Baltimore (April 18, 2022): The National Federation of the Blind, the transformative membership and advocacy organization of blind Americans, is proud to announce the first cohort of our new and innovative program: Narrowing the Gap for Blind and Low-Vision Students in Maryland Teacher Preparation. These thirteen participants will receive full funding to attend the Louisiana Tech University Program to train teachers of blind students. They will also partake in firsthand training, a community of practice, mentorship opportunities, and resources from the National Federation of the Blind. This program is funded in partnership with the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.  

“The National Federation of the Blind and our partner organization, the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, are committed to doing all we can to help blind children. This includes enhancing the professional development of teachers of blind students by exposing them to the best available training, informed by a positive philosophy of blindness and the lived experience of blind people,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We know that this program will enhance the education of blind students in Maryland for years to come, and hope that it will serve as a template for programs throughout the nation. I am pleased to congratulate these future teachers of blind students, who were selected from a pool of highly competitive candidates.” 

“One way we narrow achievement gaps and dismantle inequities in special education is by training and retaining master teachers who can instruct, inspire and support students with disabilities. In this innovative partnership with the National Federation of the Blind we are building a new pipeline of educators prepared to support students who are blind or with low vision to ensure that we are fulfilling our mission to provide an excellent and equitable education for every child," said State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury. 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to enhance our partnerships and respond to the statewide need for teachers of blind and low-vision students by building capacity within our Local Education Agencies and at the Maryland School for the Blind through this program,” said Marcella E. Franczkowski, Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services.  

The members of the first class of the Narrowing the Gap program are: 

  • Sadiqa Al-Salam 
  • Sharon Boger 
  • Debbie Harris 
  • Abigail Hurd 
  • William Klotz 
  • Andrew Lovett 
  • Brittany Nuse 
  • Rachel Otremba 
  • Katelyn Paylor 
  • Lori Rossio 
  • Elizabeth Tuttle 
  • Dawn Vosburgh 
  • Erin Zobell 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
410-659-9314, extension 2330
410-262-1281 (cell)