John Ellzey

Assistive Technology Instructor

John has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. He minored in computer hardware, software, and networking. He is a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). He has completed Business Fundamentals at the Hadley School for the Blind, as well as the Franklin Covey Leadership Foundations course. John also completed the National Industries for the Blind’s (NIB) Business Management Training (BMT) program at George Mason University (GMU). The BMT program develops critical business and management perspectives for high-potential employees who are blind and demonstrate leadership abilities. 


Ronda Girardi

Vision Rehabilitation Therapist

Ronda joined AVRE in 2017 as a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. She graduated from Western Michigan University with her Masters Degree in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. She spent four years as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist at the Cleveland Sight Center in Ohio. She also has experience working part-time as a Sign Language interpreter for the Elmira City School District. Ronda was a recipient of the Costello Scholarship Award through AVRE in both 2007 and 2008.
 

Beth Jurco

Orientation and Mobility Specialist

Beth joined AVRE as a Orientation and Mobility Specialist in 2017. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Beth obtained a Masters Degree from Western Michigan University in Orientation and Mobility. Her past work experience includes interning for Palo Alto VA Hospital in California. More recently she spent nine years with the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist.


Diane McMillan

Manager of the Low Vision Clinic and Children’s Services

Diane has a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation from the University of South Florida, specializing in Blindness.  She holds a dual national certification as a Low Vision Therapist and a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist.   She has worked in the blindness field for 30 years.  Most of her work has been with disabled children in the early intervention system.  She worked in Florida and North Carolina before moving to Binghamton 14 years ago.  At AVRE, Diane works with Dr. Lange in the Low Vision Clinic and conducts the functional vision assessments.


Michelle Murray

Employment and Career Specialist

Michelle joined AVRE in May 2016 as our Employment and Career Specialist. She attended Binghamton University and earned a Bachelor's Degree in History. After receiving her Master of Science in Childhood Education from Binghamton University, she spent four years as a Substitute Teacher for the Binghamton City School District. She worked as an Employment Specialist for three years at Community Options. Michelle works with teens and adults in finding work experiences and job placements. 


Margaret Opalka

Vision Rehabilitation/Orientation and Mobility Therapist

Margaret joined AVRE as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) in January 2014. After completing her internship and field work with AVRE, she received her master’s degree in Vision Rehabilitation from Salus University.  She is credentialed by the Academy of Certification of Vision Education and Rehabilitation Professionals (ACVERP). Previous experience in the field of low vision was as a caseworker for a nonprofit organization in PA that provided referral services and social activities to individuals with vision impairments.  Her undergraduate degree is in Special Education from East Stroudsburg University in PA.  She is a member of the Lions Club. Margaret received her certification in Orientation and Mobility Specialist (O&M) at Salus University in 2016, making her dually certified as a VRT and an O & M Specialist.


Annie van der Wal

Vision Rehabilitation Specialist

Annie is a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist. She graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Bachelor of Science in Bible. In 2004, she completed the Rehabilitation Teaching Study Course conducted by Lighthouse International. She works with the adult population in Broome County. Annie is also the Outreach Coordinator for Broome County, which involves doing presentations, health fairs, visits to eye doctors, and other various outreach efforts throughout the community.