Meet the AER Staff!
Mark Richert, Interim Executive Director
Since March of 2020, Mark has been serving as Interim Executive Director for the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER). He previously served as AER’s Executive Director from 2001 to 2005. As AER’s chief staff officer, Mark partners with AER’s elected leadership to provide strategic direction and oversight for all AER programs and activities. Mark leads AER’s team of professional staff and supports the work of AER’s member-led committees. Over the course of his more than twenty-five-year-long career in the vision loss and broader disability communities, Mark has successfully championed most of the significant public policy achievements in our field over the last quarter century, including: establishment of the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) to support K-12 students with print disabilities; ensuring voting accessibility at each polling place in America; promoting prescription drug labeling accessibility; authorship of the historic Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act to drive fundamental systems change in special education for students with sensory disabilities; and enactment of the landmark Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act which began a revolution in mainstream technology usability, audio description, and availability of assistive technologies for specific populations including low-income individuals with deafblindness.
Dr. Elly du Pre
Dr. Elly du Pré is the former executive director of Lighthouse of Broward (an accredited agency since 1988) and currently directs Florida Agencies Serving the Blind, a consortium of 17 nonprofits providing direct services to people of all ages. She started as an Orientation and Mobility instructor in 1971 and coordinated rehabilitation services and implemented the computer training program at Miami Lighthouse.
Michele Basham, Director, Membership and Community Engagement
While Michele Basham’s career has spanned a variety of roles in association management, her passion is working with members. Since joining AER in 2018 as the Director, Membership and Community Engagement, she is primarily responsible for membership recruitment/retention and providing our members with the best possible service. She is also the staff liaison to the AER Chapters, Divisions, and several Committees, and in her spare time works on AER’s office operations. Prior to joining the team at AER, Michele worked at several other associations and nonprofit organizations. Michele lives in the Washington, DC area with her family and sweet little Yorkie, Snicks.
Megan Doty, eLearning and Professional Development Program Manager
Megan Doty joined the AER team as the eLearning and Professional Development Program Manager. Her role is to facilitate the construction of the new professional learning website for the organization, as well as virtual continuing education opportunities for members. She worked in in-person and online professional development project management for about three years prior to joining AER. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Go Big Red!) and enjoys spending her free time with her family, friends and cats.
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Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
5680 King Centre Drive, Suite 600
Alexandria, VA 22315