Dr. Richard L. Welsh, 2013 COSB Bill English Awardee
Dr. Welsh is an extremely well-known and highly respected leader in the blindness field. He passed away on September 13 in Pittsburg. He was recipient of numerous honors that include the Council of Schools for the Blind Bill English Leadership Award, the AER Bledsoe Publication Award, the AER Shotwell Award, the AER Division IX Sir Francis Campbell honor, Visionserve's Leadership Award and was inducted into the Leaders and Legends in the Blindness Field's Hall of Fame. He edited the landmark Foundations of Orientation and Mobility textbook.
He was a staunch advocate for professionalization of the field. He championed codes of ethics, certification, licensure, continuing education, professional literature, program standards and accreditation of schools and agencies. Throughout his career he was a sought after speaker for his thought provoking, humorous and content-rich presentations. He often partnered with his wife, Mary Nelle McLennan, to present at conferences around the county.
One of his major contributions to the field was his foresight and leadership in the consolidation of the American Association of Workers for the Blind and the Association for Education of the Visually Handicapped into the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Dr. Welsh went on to serve with distinction as AER's first president.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) serves as a special public school in the continuum of statewide placements for students who have a visual impairment. Students, ages 6 through 21, who are blind, deafblind, or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities, are eligible for consideration for services on the TSBVI campus. It is also a statewide resource to parents of these children and the professionals who serve them, from birth through transition from school.
The other major divisions of TSBVI are: School and Student Services (student admissions and records); the Business, Operations and Technology Division (budgeting, accounting, purchasing, payroll, supply warehouse, maintenance, food service, security, transportation, duplication and technology); and Executive Administration (superintendent's office, human resources, curriculum, legal, internal audit and risk management).