COSB Congratulates This Year’s COSB/POSB Award Winners!

Thank you to all who nominated a deserving professional for our and POSB Awards. COSB is proud to honor these special leaders who truly demonstrate excellence, compassion and innovation, and who have demonstrated superior leadership by making significant contributions in service to our field.

Awards were presented at the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB) Leadership Institute Awards Banquet at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.

2019 COSB Principal/Director of the Year Award

Photo of Audrey, Tanya holding a bronze plaque, and Paul
Tanya (center) accepts her award from NCECBVI Principal Audrey Graves, and (at right) COSB President Paul Olson.

Tanya Armstrong – Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired (NCECBVI)

At NCECBVI, dedication, leadership and commitment best describe Dr. Tanya Amstrong.  Before joining the school in 2011, she was part of the transition committee at the Nebraska Commission for the Blind or Visually Impaired and was working as a special education department supervisor for Lincoln Public Schools. During her first several years at NCECBVI, Tanya led the outreach team as Director. Tanya led efforts in changing the NCECBVI Outreach model from one that was consultative to a more direct service/instruction model. Her plan both increased revenue and led the school to now provide more effective/much needed services to schools and students in the state.

After a few years in this role, Tanya became the NCECBVI Nebraska Instructional Resource Center Coordinator. She also teams up with the Principal to address effective instruction in center-based classrooms.  Tanya has led the charge with training in Explicit Instruction as well as leading the staff evaluation process following the Charlotte Danielson model.  She has implemented an instructional framework across NCECBVI which impacts every staff member, how their performance is evaluated, along with allowing avenues for every staff member (regardless of their role) to make the connection to an instructional framework with keeping students as the main focus in every person’s daily duties.  

She belongs to several organizations and has attended state, regional and national conferences and meetings such as AER, CEC, Nebraska Association of Special Education Supervisors (NASES), and state/national Deaf-Blind offerings.  Tanya organizes two statewide conferences per year for all staff in our field in Nebraska. Tanya serves as Nebraska’s Deaf-Blind Project Coordinator along with representatives from the Nebraska Department of Education.  In this role, she organizes a large summer institute each year which is held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

During her employment with NCECBVI and juggling numerous balls at one time, Tanya also managed to receive her doctorate degree.  Through this process, she studied low incidence programming and services for students and has a clear understanding of the research and needs in our field. 

2019 COSB Champion Award

Intellectyx, Inc.Raj Joseph, CEO

2019 POSB Awards

Cindy at left, Kristen holding a bronze plaque, Adrian at right
Kristen Applebee (center) accepts her award from, left, Cindy Gibson, Superintendent for the Georgia Academy of the Bind, and Adrian Amandi, POSB President

Outstanding Teacher of Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Kristen Applebee – Georgia Academy for the Blind

Outstanding Teacher of Students who are Blind/Multiply Impaired

Julie Conner – The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind

Outstanding Residential Life Staff Member who is Currently Working with Blind or Visually Impaired School Age Children

Mark Raetzman – Washington State School for the Blind

Outstanding Paraprofessional who is Currently Working with Blind or Visually Impaired School Age Children

Group shot of all POSB award winners all holding their engraved bronze plaques
POSB Award winners pose in celebration with their awards.

Lori Adamo – The Maryland School for the Blind

Outstanding Related Services Provider

Jennifer Pelletier – Minnesota State Academy for the Blind

Outstanding Provider of Outreach Services

Joe Dlugo – Washington State School for the Blind


Didn’t nominate anyone this year? Get Inspired! Watch this video to learn more about Bill English and the William H. English Leadership Award!