Nothing inspires and authenticates vision like hearing it "from
the source." Two Advancing
Leadership grads take this to heart, urging others to
travel on paths they themselves have walked.
Gaylen Floy, AL '08,
teaches computer skills to students who have limited sight. Gaylen - who was born vision-impaired but
not diagnosed until she was 21 - is committed to helping others with similar
challenges connect to training and services, share ideas and become active
participants in their communities.
One way she encourages others to engage at a deeper level is
through involvement in a community leadership program. In December 2009, Gaylen published her
article "Seeing Federal Way in a New Light" in the Washington Council for the
Blind's quarterly newsletter. The
article describes her experiences in Advancing Leadership and urged readers to
consider similar training.
"The purpose of the article is to
encourage other people with vision-impairment to get involved and connect," she
explains. That's how we'll change
people's perception of what it means to be blind. That's the way barriers will
come down." A big part of Gaylen's philosophy is moving
out of comfort zones in order to grow. AL was one of her leaps, and she hopes her example will
encourage others to give it a try.
"It was a very positive experience," she says. "My computer students get to hear about AL and Federal
Way. It encourages them to
consider volunteer work back home."
To read Gaylen Floy's article online, visit the Washington
Council of the Blind's website: www.wcbinfo.org/newsline_dec2009.html.
Ron Podmore, AL '01,
teaches American Sign Language (ASL) and Applied Math courses at Decatur High
School. He recently stepped up to
a new level in his own education, becoming the first ASL teacher with hearing
loss to earn National Board certification.
Throughout his career, Ron has sought new challenges for
himself, then used the knowledge he has gained to help others. In his
classes at Decatur, he is able to incorporate his own experiences with hearing
loss into instruction of ASL students. He has also written two books - Signs in Success: Profiles
of Deaf Americans (1995) and A Sign to Remember (2004). He was a 1999 Golden Apple award
recipient. In addition to being a
National Board certified instructor, Ron is a certified K-12 Licensed School
Administrator. It was during his
year of principal internship for that certification that Federal Way
Superintendent Tom Murphy recommended he join Advancing Leadership.
"I enjoyed being a part of the early cadre when AL was just
getting started," he says. "It is
remarkable how the program is still very strong and active and components of it
are now duplicated in several other municipalities across our great nation. I came away with the experience that
there needs to be a commitment to helping those who request it. The spirit and
commitment of helping others is something that is sometimes not always as
observable (elsewhere) as it is in our area, but nonetheless, it is a component
in our lives."
To see Ron Podmore's video about the value of National Board
Certification visit this link on the WEA website: www.washingtonea.org/content/video/09/sign/frame.html.