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At the Council’s first meeting of the year, the executive committee members and officers were elected and welcomed.  We are pleased to introduce Rhonda Staats, our new board president. 

Rhonda is a longtime Council friend, supporter and Board member whose first connection with our organization dates back to preschool days, when she attended the Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped in Janesville and met a few of the Council members.  “My first formal connection,” Rhonda recalls, “began in the early 1990’s, when Council board member Ray Revor invited me to become a member of the Recreation Committee.”  In 1999, Rhonda was elected to the Council board.  Over the years, she has served as Vice President, and she has been an active member of the Legislative, Executive, Newsletter, and Sharper Vision Store committees. 

A 22-year resident of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Rhonda has three grown sons, and she is currently an instructor/department chair of healthcare management at Globe University in La Crosse.  When she’s not teaching or working on behalf of the Council, Rhonda loves to read and spend time with friends, and she has a deep passion for musical theater. 

Legislative advocacy has always been a personal interest of Rhonda’s, and she considers it one of the strengths she brings to the position of board president, as well as her previous years of service and institutional knowledge.  “I also look forward to continuing my involvement with Council outreach throughout the state and helping to expand our resources.  That will enable us to serve even more blind and visually impaired individuals and help them live independent and fulfilling lives.”  She considers it crucial to be a good listener—to both board members and consumers—and to “use that knowledge to help in the formation of policy decisions.”

As government channels and many other resources narrow, Rhonda knows that more people will turn to the Council for vision rehabilitation training and other assistance. Her vision is for the Council to be ready to respond. She believes that developing close community partnerships will help increase awareness of and support for the Council’s work.