Georgia Council of the Blind

GCB board - taken at the 2018 Convention Conference

Conference-Convention Biographies

Timothy Jones

Timothy Jones has been a member of GCB since the age of 10, and credits the support he has received from GCB for much of his academic success in high school and college. He will graduate (summa cum laude) from Mercer University in Macon in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance, having studied organ under Dr. Jack Mitchener and piano under Dr. Ian Altman. He is a recipient of the Excellence in Performance Award from the Townsend School of Music at Mercer.
He has also received many regional and national awards. Timothy has worked since 2017 as full-time Organist and Assistant Pianist at Gilead Baptist Church in Macon, playing for both Sunday services and Wednesday evenings. He also gives local performances upon request. Timothy’s future plans include Graduate Studies at Georgia State University for a Masters Degree in Piano Pedagogy. He will also be studying piano tuning with a GSU professor, as well as honing his Assistive Technology skills. He hopes to pursue a multi-pronged career teaching piano and Braille Music to visually impaired students, working as an AT Support Technician, and giving piano or organ performances.

Ray Campbell

Ray is completing his final term as Secretary of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), having first been elected to that position in 2013. In total, Ray has served on the ACB Board of Directors since 2006. He chaired ACB’s Constitution and Bylaws Committee for six years, served on ACB’s Resolutions Committee and served as the inaugural Chair of what is now ACB’s Special Education Task Force.
Ray has served as both Treasurer and President of the Illinois Council of the Blind and in several other positions. Ray is a well known and respected Transportation advocate, having played an instrumental role in founding Ride DuPage, a 24/7 transportation service which has operated in DuPage County, Illinois since 2004. He served six years as DuPage County’s representative on the Metro Commuter Rail Citizens Advisory Board, and currently is Vice Chair of the Pace Suburban Bus Suburban ADA Advisory Committee.
Ray works full time as Senior Accessibility Analyst for United Airlines, playing a central role in bringing accessibility to all parts of United including its website, airport kiosks and mobile app. Ray enjoys spending time with family, listening to older country music and listening to spectator sports, especially the Chicago Cubs, Green Bay Packers and College basketball March Madness. He and Karyn make their home in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Zelma Murray

I began my career at the Georgia Department of Human Resources where I worked 20 + years as the Deaf and Blind Services Coordinator. I am a certified teacher in the areas of Intellectually Disability, Deaf Hard of Hearing, and Visual Impairment. I am also a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I served in both Putnam and Baldwin Counties as an itinerant TVI and O&M specialist for 8 years. In 2011, I accepted a position as an Outreach Specialist for the Smokey Powell Center at the Georgia Academy for the Blind. I have since become the State-Wide Vision Coordinator for the Georgia Department of Education.

Karyn Campbell

I graduated from college in May 1984 with a BA degree in Political Science. I have been happily married for 21 years as of August 2018. While we have no kids, we do have 6 nieces and nephews. I work as a receptionist at a small state agency which serves DeafBlind children, a job I have held for 27.5 years as of this March. I enjoy football and baseball.
As you may know, the DeafBlind community is very diverse. This is because the range of combined loss. It can go from some usable vision and hearing to no usable hearing or vision and anything in between. I have a mild to moderate hearing loss and am considered blind, having almost no usable vision. My vision consists of light perception and objects up close with no detail. I wear hearing aids and communicate using speech exclusively.
I am involved in the deafBlind community having served on the American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB) board from July 2008 to April 2014. I also have served on the ACB Sight AND Sound Impaired (SASI) Committee since 2000, becoming this Committee’s Program chairperson in 2004 and Chairperson of the committee itself in August 2009. It is a role I still serve in to the present day. I have served on a couple of different Task Forces to explore the creation of a Support service Provider (SSP) program in the state of Illinois. One of these was run through the Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired (CLH) and one was run through the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission (IDHHC). The CLH effort went from about 2002 through about 2011 and the IDHHC effort went from September 2012 thru May 2015. The final report from the latter effort should have been out in late 2015 but as with anything in Illinois, politics got in the way of this release.
I have also helped the Illinois Council of the Blind (ICB) on issues of reasonable accommodation for those with a combined vision and hearing concern. Our greatest achievement in this area was the 2006 O’Shaunessy award given to a student at our adult training facility. I am currently participating in the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) intervener modules through the National Consortium on deafBlindness (NCDB) under the Illinois cohort. This is an opportunity for me to learn more about the community in order to improve my advocacy efforts. I completed the first four modules in 2016.

Rebecca Cowan-Story

Resides in the tiny metropolis of Adairsville, Georgia. Since 2011, Rebecca has worked as the State Coordinator of Deaf Blind Services for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. Her professional journey began as an American Sign Language Interpreter for the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia after completing her interpreter training program in 1998 at Floyd College in Rome, GA. She went on to become a high school vocational instructor with the Jobs for Georgia Graduates program at the Georgia School for the Deaf, later serving as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the deaf before obtaining her current position. She still does not know what she wants to be when she grows up, but every job she has had in her life has been working with people that have hearing loss, and she has not lived a day on earth without people who are deaf in her life. Rebecca is currently serving as the secretary of the Georgia Association of the Deaf Blind. She is active with Georgia Blind Sports and Northwest Georgia Council for the Blind, and various other organizations, but gains most of her wisdom and insight for serving others at Pleasant Valley North Baptist Church as a follower of Christ. Rebecca graduated from the University of Kentucky with her Master’s in Rehabilitation and earned an additional graduate certificate in Deaf Blind Rehabilitation from Northern Illinois University. She is the proud mom of Luke (15), Mark (10) and Maggie (10), and proud human of two felines, Habankah and Hershe. Throughout her career, the lack of service equity for people that are Deaf Blind has fueled her insistence on raising the bar within the state of Georgia. Being selected to serve on the core team of the Deaf Blind Interpreting national training grant and working to ensure that national services are taken to the next level gives her heart joy. Big PT Squeezes!

Dana Tarter

Teacher for students with multiple disabilities, at the Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring, Georgia, brings over 20 years of classroom expertise to her students. After graduating from Shorter College with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Mrs. Tarter pursued her Master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Emotional Behavioral Disorders at Jacksonville State University. As a lifelong learner she has since completed her Early Intervention Infants, Toddlers, and Family Counseling Certificate from Gallaudet University, and added a Teacher of the Visually Impaired endorsement to her list of accomplishments. She contributes her success to the many students that have been her teachers throughout the years, each one leaving a lifelong impact. She loves being an educator. She says her students teach her far more than she has ever taught them.

District I LIONS Governor Dr. Dede deMarks 18-I FY 2018-2019

She has been a member of Lions since 2009. She has been a part of the Social Circle Lions Club and Covington Lions Club. Dr. deMarks has been a Zone Chairperson, Diabetes Awareness Chairperson, and GA Lions Camp Awards Chair. She has worked for the Walton Tribune Newspaper, Walton County (GA). Although Dr. deMarks is published weekly, currently she writes a monthly column (1st Sunday issue). Dr. deMarks is also the owner of DdM Professionals, LLC that operates as a management & technical consulting company. Currently, Dede is the Interim Deputy Commissioner for the City of Atlanta –Department of Watershed Management. She has a Masters’ degree from University of Georgia; M.B.A. from Mercer University; and Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University, FL. Dr. deMarks resides in Social Circle with her three cats and two parakeets. In her spare time, she likes to play the violin.

Jack Gilson

Jack obtained a BA and MA degrees from Ohio University, Athens, OH. He served in the U.S. Army at Ft. Gordon, GA. From 1975 to 1988 Jack worked in the private, corporate sector in sales, marketing, and training for companies that developed sensory aids for individuals who are blind. Then from 1988 – 2015, He was employed by Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency as a Rehabilitation Technologist, Rehabilitation Engineer, and Assistive Work Technology Supervisor. Jack retired from GVRA in 2015. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Radio Reading Service and the Georgia Co-op. In his free time he enjoys scuba diving with the Eels on Wheels, an adaptive diving group based in Austin, TX.

Hal Simpson

Hal is with Georgia Blind Sports. Born in Greenville, South Carolina; but was raised in Sandy Springs, GA. Hal graduated in 1975 from The Citadel. He started Kingsfield Properties, a residential construction business in 1983. Hal married Linda Johnson Simpson from Dallas, Texas. They have two children: Lindsay Simpson and son Matt in law school at UVA.
Hal helped organize goalball in Atlanta in 2003, coaching both youth and adult teams. He has coached the Atlanta Force a goalball team. In 2011, Hal founded Georgia Blind Sports Association. He has received two awards “Triumph of the Human Spirit Award” and “Helping Hand.”

Elizabeth Head

Elizabeth Head, MPH Program Coordinator, Georgia Department of Public Health.
Ms. Head’s area of expertise is aging and injury prevention. She earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from Georgia State University. She has worked with in public health for fourteen years. As a program coordinator at the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Injury Prevention program, Elizabeth coordinates the GOHS funded Older Driver Safety Program. The program focus on education, engineering, EMS, evaluation, and policy aspects of older driver safety and mobility for professionals and older adults. She has worked with national, state, and local partners on a variety of injury topics including: fire prevention, drowning prevention, and fall prevention. Elizabeth spends her free time enjoying quality time with her family.

Kay McGill

Kay graduated from the University of Kentucky (UK) with a Bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in Psychology and Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Certified Public Manager. She has been with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) her entire career serving in numerous roles and receiving various awards during this time. After retirement, she was asked to return to the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) to serve as the GVRA Older Blind Program Manager – Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for Adults Age 55 and Over, where she continues in this role to this day.

Dawn Wells, Angel Eyes Fitness

Dawn Wells, aka “Sistah Fitness” has enjoyed it more than 25 year fascination and passion for fitness and dance coupled with her time in the United States Marine Corps led her to become a Certified AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, an SCW Certified Personal Trainer, and a Certified Nutritional Coach. Dianne was invited to lead a Zumba demo for blind and visually impaired participants at the 2014 National Federation of the Blind of George’s Annual State Convention. Understanding that this audience would require a different approach to teaching a dance fitness class based primarily on visual cues Dawn quickly adapted a method to direct the demo through a series of strategic verbal commands. Dawn realized the dire need for fitness and nutrition programs tailored to the blind and visually impaired community. This realization inspired the creation of her nonprofit organization Angel Eyes Fitness and Nutrition.