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West Virginia Schools For The Deaf and the Blind

Outreach Staff

Regional Outreach Specialists
 
WVSDB employs four full-time Outreach Specialists with master's degree or higher in Deaf Education and four full-time Outreach Specialists with master's degree or higher in Vision Education. These specialists work collaboratively with the West Virginia Birth to Three Program. Outreach Specialists provide in home early intervention services to children with vision, hearing or a combined sensory loss ages birth to five years across the state of West Virginia.
 
All of our Specialists can be located on the Birth to Three Matrix here
Hearing Specialists
 
 
Calla England
Calla England
Calla started learning sign language in a middle school club and immediately fell in love with the language. She obtained an associate’s degree in Sign Language Interpreting from Fairmont State University in 2005 and worked as an interpreter in the school system for a year before deciding to return college. In 2013, Calla earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, also from Fairmont State University. During her time in college, she became the proud mother of two sons, who are now 16 and 11 years old. 
 
Calla returned to college at Marshall University in January of 2014 to obtain a master’s degree in Special Education, with an additional certification as a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She worked in the public school system as a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for six years before joining the Outreach team in March of 2020.
 
Ressie Phillips
Ressie Phillips
Ressie lives in Summersville, WV with her wonderful husband and two cats.  She has worked in the field of education for more than 25 years teaching PreK through college.  She has worked in early intervention for more than 20 years.  Ressie has an associate degree in Sign Language Interpreting, a bachelor's degree in elementary education, a master's degree in deaf education, an educational specialist degree in curriculum and instruction and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.  Additionally, she teaches sign language classes for New River Community & Technical College.  Faith and church are very important to her.
 
Melanie Shuck
Melanie ShuckMelanie Shuck is a graduate from Marshall University with her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement Special Education and her master's degree in Special Education with certificates in deaf and hard of hearing as well as visually impaired. She taught at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind almost nine years, with one year in the multi-sensory school and eight years in the elementary deaf school, before transitioning to the outreach department to work with West Virginia Birth to Three. She has worked as a deaf/hard of hearing specialist with WVBTT for the past four years. She has experience working with children with conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, and auditory neuropathy, reading audiograms, and sign language.

 

Nora Stevenson
 

Nora SmithNora Stevenson began her teaching career as a music educator.  After experiencing a significant hearing loss of her own, she chose to take a different path and began her career as an educator for the Deaf and hard of hearing.  Her personal understanding of the needs of people with hearing loss give her a unique perspective and subsequently lead to her championing the needs of the students she encountered as a DHH teacher.  Her compassion and understanding for D/HH children and their families has driven her to continuously seek new ideas and strategies to allow children to reach their full potential.She has worked as an itinerant K12 deaf educator, a presenter, and now focuses her passion and dedication on children from birth to five and their families as an Outreach Specialist for the WV Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

 
Vision Specialists

Debbie Adams
Debbie Adams
Debbie graduated from Frostburg State University in 2002 with a degree in Elementary/Middle School Education with a focus on Language Arts. She taught first grade until 2010.  In 2010, Debbie began her career as a teacher of the visually impaired.  She earned a Master of Arts in Special Education/Visual Impairments through Marshall University. Although Debbie enjoyed teaching elementary school and especially reading, her passion is Special Education and Visual Impairments.  Debbie has been working for five years in outreach.  She truly loves working with families and children with early intervention strategies.  Debbie also works as an adjunct for Marshall University teaching braille skills to future teachers of the visually impaired. When Debbie is not working she loves spending time with and going on adventures with her favorite people- her three children.
Laura Anderson

Laura AndersonLaura Anderson is a native of West Virginia and a graduate of Marshall University, with a Masters of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis in Visually Impaired.  She has substantial experience in secondary education in both Mercer and Raleigh counties working with students with Multiple Disabilities and some with just Vision Impairments, before accepting her current position at the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind as an Outreach Specialist for the visually impaired.  
 
Laura has demonstrated commitment to the visually impaired activities throughout our region.  Recently she was asked to working closely with the West Virginia State Department of Education’s Vision Advisory Board to create guidelines for teachers of the visually impaired. Her real-world application and insight of the current practices in the visually impaired offer her families the opportunity to benefit from specialized knowledge in this area.
 
Laura's passion for working with families with children who have a sensory impairment started with her own family.  She has a niece that has Usher’s Syndrome which means she is both Visually Impaired and Hard of Hearing. She has always enjoyed working with her to overcome her obstacles in life.
 
Laura has been married to Dr. Timothy Anderson for 24 years. They live in Princeton, West Virginia and have two adult sons, Stephen and Adam along with a miniature schnauzer who has been in their family for 17 years.  Their dog's name is Holly Belle and she is blind and has very little hearing left.
 
Her favorite quote is:  Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. ~ Helen Keller
Melissa Carpenter

Melissa CarpenterMelissa Carpenter earned her master’s in Special Education in May of 2008 along with her certification in Vision Impairments. She began working with WVSDB in the fall of 2012 doing vision services with the Outreach Program. She has experience working with both school age and babies who are either blind or visually impaired. Before becoming a vision specialist, she worked as a developmental specialist for 13 years within the Birth to Three system. She works with the Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Project and volunteers with Camp Gizmo (a camp for families with children with special needs).