The members of the NBA Board of Directors and members of Skills Committees are all volunteers who are committed to supporting the organization and its mission. They participate in:
- two Board meetings per year, for dedicated time to discuss and act upon recommendations on the business of the association (e.g. budgets, policies, fund development)
- an annual Professional Development Conference, often serving as presenters of conference workshops
- writing articles and skills columns for issues of the NBA Bulletin
- development of website content and Ask an Expert discussions
The Board invites members who are interested in serving to contact either the Skills Committee Chair or any member of the Board of Directors.
Whitney Gregory, President
The following speech was given by Whitney at her Presidential Installation on April 17th, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Whitney will serve in the position of President from 2015 to 2017.
It is indeed an honor to take up the mantle as the next president of the National Braille Association. I am humbled at having been entrusted with this responsibility… particularly at a time when we are facing significant changes to the industry to which we have such deep devotion. As I was thinking about the message I wanted to share with you that was the word I simply couldn’t escape… CHANGE. Typically, that is not my favorite word in the dictionary. My comfort zone is nice and cozy, so why mess with a good thing? That has been my personal viewpoint regarding the Unified English Braille Code for a considerable amount of time.
Well, when I started looking at the various definitions of the word change, one caught my eye: “to undergo a modification of.” The accompanying example of foliage changing color served as a not-so-subtle reminder that changes are not restricted to negative connotations, because I do love to see the leaves turning those beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red when autumn is upon us.
All of a sudden, change didn’t seem as daunting when thinking of it as a modification. When I began to consider the synonyms for modification, an interesting thing happened. Let’s take a brief stroll through the thesaurus… Modification leads to “adaptation” which simply means “adjusting to a different situation or condition.” Advances in technology, for example, have led to innumerable adjustments… some good, some not-so-much… but I think we can agree that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, yes? That is becoming my personal viewpoint regarding UEB. One of the key reasons for moving to the new code was improved back-translation in today’s technologically-advanced world. Does that mean I agree with every modification or adjustment made to the long-standing EBAE? Certainly not… some are good, some not-so-much.
Back to the thesaurus… from adjustment we arrive at fine-tuning which then takes us to improving. Wait… is that right? Could change really mean an improvement when you’re talking about UEB? Yes, I suppose it is possible that the reality of the “changes” to our beloved EBAE are not quite as disastrous as first imagined. Once again, am I on-board with every “improvement?” Certainly not… some are good, some not-so-much.
What I have come to accept, in learning about UEB, is that the world will not stop spinning on its axis just because some of the contractions have been eliminated; and the sun will still rise even though we now have letter, word, and passage indicators. More importantly, the training offered at recent NBA conferences, reminds me that I was able to learn braille using EBAE; and I am now reassured that I can learn the modifications to braille using UEB and so can you.
The next few years will likely be very interesting and I expect we will be faced with many new and unexpected challenges. As Arnold Bennett once said, “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” While I accept that fact and am willing to face those challenges head-on, the point I need to focus on is summarized in this quote by an anonymous source, “Don’t be afraid to change. You may lose something good but you may gain something better.”
David Shaffer, Executive Director
As Executive Director it is my pleasure to work closely with the Board of Directors, members, volunteers and staff.
I have come to realize how important the NBA’s services are to braille transcribers and readers. It is a great honor to represent the NBA in the many ways I have been asked to serve. The dedicated Board of Directors, the staff, and many volunteers are the heart of this outstanding organization.
The National Braille Association seeks to enhance and expand the services we offer. I encourage our members and our website visitors to submit new ideas and suggestions. Contact me.
President Whitney Gregory, Texas President Elect Heidi Lehmann, New York Vice President Betty Marshall, Alberta Secretary Cindi Laurent, Minnesota Treasurer Diane Spence, Texas Immediate Past President Jan Carroll, Kentucky Elected Member from the Board Kyle DeJute, Kentucky
Robert Beaton Michigan Carol Greer Washington Jana Hertz California Marcetta Ponzio California Cindy Olmstead Michigan Rebecca Sherwood Washington Julie Sumwalt Wisconsin
Braille Formats/Textbook Committee: Cindi Laurent, MN, Chair
Makes available to transcribers and instructors of braille transcribing interpretations and usage based on rules contained in the official braille codes as they pertain to the transcription of textbook materials. Also develops and implements the self-study NBA Braille Formats Study Guide and conducts the examination leading to certification as a braille textbook transcriber.
Computer-Assisted Transcription: Jan Carroll, KY, Chair
Makes available information concerning the techniques required for preparing braille with the assistance of a personal computer, and keeps transcribers informed of new developments in the field.
Foreign Language: Carol Greer, WA, Chair
Makes available to transcribers and instructors of braille transcribing interpretations and usages based on rules contained in the official braille codes as they pertain to the transcription of foreign languages.
Mathematics, Science and Computer Notation Braille: Kyle DeJute, KY, Chair
Makes available to transcribers and instructors of braille transcribing interpretations and usages based on rules contained in the official braille codes as they pertain to the transcription of mathematics and science texts, including the special formats, tables and figures in such texts.
Music Braille: Heidi Lehmann, NY, Chair
Makes available to transcribers and instructors of braille transcribing interpretations and usages based on rules contained in the official braille codes and all subsequent materials approved by the Braille Authority of North America as they pertain to the transcription of music.
Tactile Graphics: Rebecca Sherwood, Washington, Chair
Makes available information concerning the equipment and techniques required for production of tactile graphics, and keeps tactile graphics producers informed of good practice and new developments in the field.
Transcriber/Educator Services: Jana Hertz, CA, Chair
Provides education and timely information to volunteer groups and educators of persons who are visually impaired.
Unified English Braille: Julie Sumwalt, Wisconsin, Chair
Makes available information concerning the upcoming transition from EBAE to UEB.
NBA’s Representative to the BANA Board of Directors: Diane Spence, TX
Bylaws, Policies and Procedures: Heidi Lehmann, NY, Chair
Reviews, frames, and proposes amendments to the NBA Bylaws and to the Policies and Procedures in accordance with actions taken by the Board of Directors. The committee also interprets these documents.
Bulletin Editor: Betty Marshall, Canada
Is responsible for production of the Bulletin – NBA’s quarterly membership publication, produced digitally and in print and braille. The Bulletin contains articles about new materials and equipment, modification of braille codes, skills columns, tips to transcribers, and news of activities of interest to the membership.
Fund Development: David Shaffer, NY, Chair
Maintains ongoing relations with existing supporters, seeks new funding sources for NBA programs and services, and submits applications to appropriate grant makers.
Meetings: Robert Beaton, MI, Chair
Identifies sites for NBA professional development conferences, establishes local contacts, if available, and coordinates the details of the meetings.
Membership Development: Cindy Olmstead, MI, Chair
The purpose of the committee shall be to increase and retain membership in the National Braille Association.
Nominating: Jan Carroll, KY, Chair
Presents a slate of candidates for offices and directorships to be elected at each Annual Membership Meeting, and submits to the board of directors names of candidates to fill vacancies occurring in the interim between Annual Membership Meetings.
Planning and Program Development: Heidi Lehmann, NY, Chair
Devises long-range plans for the Association and reviews specific projects.
Public Relations/Marketing: Marcetta Ponzio, CA, Chair
Positively promotes the organization and purpose of the National Braille Association to individuals, groups, or organizations.
Publications: Betty Marshall, Canada, Chair
Examines for content, format, and style any educational materials such as guidelines, manuals, and lessons developed for publication.
Skills Coordinating: Diane Spence, TX, Chair
Coordinates the activities of the skills committees: Computer-assisted Transcription, Literary Braille, Mathematics and Science, Music, Tactile Graphics, Textbook Format, and Transcriber and Educator Services.