Teacher of the Year for Excellence in Braille Instruction

Every year, Braille Institute recognizes Teachers of the Visually Impaired for their hard work, dedication, and innovation. The Teacher of the Year for Excellence in Braille Instruction award is an opportunity for all Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) to be recognized on a national level for the amazing work they do with students who are blind or visually impaired.

Any Teacher of the Visually Impaired in the US or Canada can be nominated by peers, students, or others. The Teacher of the Year is selected by The Braille Challenge National Advisory Committee! For more information, contact Matthew Beckwith at mjbeckwith@brailleinstitute.org or (323) 663-1111, Ext. 1215

Kateri Gullifor 2019 Teacher of the Year

Illinois teacher Kateri Gullifor has been named 2019 Teacher of the Year by Braille Institute! Gullifor has been with the Huntley Community School District in Algonquin, Ill. since 2013. She works with students across all grade levels who have visual impairments. “Kateri is very well deserving of this honor,” said Peter A. Mindnich, president, Braille Institute. “She takes the time to understand her students individually and customizes instruction to fit their specific needs. She works tirelessly, showing love and dedication to her students, who thrive under her guidance.”

Gullifor was drawn to the teaching profession from an early age. While in seventh grade she was paired with a blind preschooler as part of a student mentor program called Little Angels. She became close with the student’s family over the years, and it had a tremendous impact on her. But it was only years later during a major showcase at Illinois State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Education, that she recognized her true calling.

“While walking through the event, I came across the booth for special education, and a lightbulb went off. At that moment, I completely connected the dots between my longtime desire to become a teacher and the experience with my Little Angel. I said to myself, ‘Of course! This is exactly what I’m supposed to do!’”

Watch the videos below to get to know the TVIs who won the award recently and to learn more about the amazing work Teachers of the Visually Impaired do.

Teaching Students With Visual Impairments

In the United States, there is a shortage of certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired.

If you enjoy collaborating with others, have strong report writing skills, are organized, have good time management skills, are willing to learn new technologies, like variety in your day, would like to work one-on-one with students ages birth to 21 and would like to make a difference in a student’s life, this may be the career for you! As a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI), you will have the opportunity to improve the lives of students who are blind and visually impaired by providing specialized instruction and supportive services. The specialized instruction you provide to students will help prepare the student for each stage of life.

The TVI is a teacher first but has taken additional coursework to be specialized in visual impairments. To become a TVI, you must hold a teaching degree in general education or special education. Certification to be a TVI is an “Add-On” to your teaching license. Each state has different requirements but generally, you will be required to take approximately six courses specific to visual impairments. Coursework usually includes:

  • Foundations of educating students with visual impairments;
  • Braille reading and writing;
  • Structure and function (or anatomy and physiology) of the eye;
  • Educational implications of low vision;
  • Instructional strategies; and
  • Basic O&M skills.

Would you like to become a Teacher of the Visually Impaired?

Here’s a list of universities who offer TVI and other Vision Professional Programs.