LEADERSHIP

The National Braille Association is led by a dedicated team of volunteers from around North America who make up our Board of Directors. Each member of the board brings a unique set of skills from their experience as braille transcribers, teachers of the visually impaired, and program directors.

The Board of Directors oversees our Executive Director, who in turn provides leadership and oversight to our headquarters in Rochester, New York.

PRESIDENT

Jana Hertz President of National Braille Association 150 x 150

JANA HERTZ

As the President of the National Braille Association, I’d like to express my gratitude to our supporters. Each of our members possess unique qualifications, interests, and talents. Whether you are a committee member, transcriber, teacher, or administrative professional, your compassion, fortitude, and generosity help contribute to the important work NBA does.

 

My own story began over thirty years ago when I met a teacher for visually impaired students. She introduced me to braille through a card game with a set of cards featuring only raised dots. When I questioned her about how I could play this game in a braille code I didn’t know, she replied, “I guess you’ll need to learn.” She set high expectations and pushed me but she especially inspired me to learn, grow, and share in that passion for braille.

 

Since that first card game, my path with these six amazing dots has afforded me the opportunity to educate, enhance, and promote an understanding of braille for all students, professionals, and educational faculty. I’ve been put in a position to reach and teach new transcribers and provide support to educators. Most importantly, braille has allowed me to have a direct impact on the educational success of countless braille readers.

 

As we continue to evolve, the National Braille Association must blend the past and future, employing a combination of new technology and traditional hands-on training. Our face-to-face experiences have always brought us together and bonded our community. In recent years, we’ve learned that technology allows us to bond in new ways, and deliver the same services we have for over seven decades to even more transcribers.

 

As I serve in my role as President know it is with excitement and pride in my heart. I challenge each of you to consider serving with the National Braille Association. Your support is essential to grow and sustain this organization. We welcome new faces, creative ideas, and aspiring talent. Through this cycle of support, I am confident we can forge a new path and a better tomorrow for braille readers everywhere.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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DAVID SHAFFER

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.

LEADERSHIP

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

Creating and presenting web-based learning materials

The Board invites members who are interested in serving to contact either the Skills Committee Chair or any member of the Board of Directors.

OFFICERS

PRESIDENT - Jana Hertz (California)

PRESIDENT ELECT - Patrick Janson (Ohio)

VICE PRESIDENT - Diane Spence (Texas)

SECRETARY - Cindy Olmstead (Michigan)

TREASURER - Heidi Lehmann (New York)

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT - Cindi Laurent (Minnesota)

ELECTED MEMBER FROM THE BOARD - Kathleen Cantrell (New York)

DIRECTORS

Kyle DeJute (Kentucky)

Nancy Raspiller (Arizona)

John Romeo (Nevada)

Sally Schreck (Maryland)

William Freeman (Kentucky)

SKILLS

Braille Formats/Textbook: John Romeo, NV, 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: William Freeman, 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: Patrick Janson, OH, 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.

Music Braille: Kathleen Cantrell, 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.

Nemeth Code for Math and Science: Cindi Laurent, MN, Chair
Makes available to transcribers and to instructors of braille transcribing, interpretations and examples based on the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, the Nemeth-based Chemistry Code, and the Guidance documents from BANA for using these codes within UEB contexts, including special formats and code switches.

Tactile Graphics: Cindy Olmstead, MI, Chair
Makes available information concerning the equipment and techniques required for the production of tactile graphics, and keeps tactile graphics producers informed of good practice and new developments in the field.

Unified English Braille Literary: Sally Shreck, MD, Chair
Makes available to transcribers, and to instructors of braille transcribing, interpretations and examples based on the rules of Unified English Braille.

Unified English Braille Technical Material: Kyle DeJute, KY, Chair
Makes available to transcribers and to instructors of braille transcribing, interpretations and examples based on the rules of Unified English Braille and on the UEB-based Guidelines for Technical Material.

ADMINISTRATIVE

NBA’s Representative to the BANA Board of Directors: Diane Spence, TX

Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures: Patrick Janson, OH, 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, Chair
Is responsible for the 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.

Meetings: Heidi Lehmann, NY, Chair
Identifies sites for NBA professional development conferences, establishes local contacts, if available, and coordinates the details of the meetings.

Nominating: Cindi Laurent, MN, 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.

Online Learning: David Shaffer, NY, Chair
Plans, implements and evaluates high-quality educational offerings that are delivered via webinar.

Planning and Program Development: Patrick Janson, OH, Chair
Devises long-range plans for the Association and reviews specific projects.

Prison Braille: Nancy Raspiller, AZ, Chair
Makes available information and resources for administrators and corrections officials of prison braille programs. Providing advocacy, inclusion, communication, knowledge, and experience in starting up and operating a prison braille program, and information sharing/gathering as it affects the incarcerated men and women braille transcribers.

Publications: Betty Marshall, Canada, Chair
Examines for content, format, and style any educational materials such as guidelines, manuals, and lessons developed for publication.

Skills Coordinator: David Shaffer, NY
Coordinates the activities of the skills committees.

Transcriber and Educator Services: Jana Hertz, CA, Chair
Provides education and timely information to volunteer groups and educators of persons who are visually impaired.