When Jean Kalscheur announced her impending retirement to her Council coworkers last spring, she chose her words thoughtfully. “My ‘sell-by date’ is approaching,” she wrote in an email to colleagues.
Jean is reaching that sell-by date this month, leaving a legacy that has shaped the Council’s education and outreach mission. She joined the organization in 2008 as a vision rehabilitation teacher before becoming Director of Vision Services in 2015. In 2019, she transitioned to part-time, becoming education program specialist, while still providing in-home vision rehabilitation.
During her time with the Council, Jean played an enormous role in growing our education and outreach programming. She played a lead role in planning and implementing Low Vision Fairs held at locations across the state, and her leadership and involvement in webinars, senior fairs, kids’ events, the popular Birding by Ear program in collaboration with Madison Audubon, and other initiatives were key to our success over the years.
Jean also serves on a professional board and connects the Council with the broader vision education and service community. With her training in occupational therapy, Jean continued to work with students at the University of Wisconsin and Madison College throughout her tenure at the Council. And as a former associate professor, she kept the Council up to date on research that could benefit our clients.
“Jean’s level of integrity in all the roles she played shows a clear path on how to provide excellent services,” says Education and Vision Services Director Amy Wurf. “She’s a role model for our team. The standards she sets ensure that everything we do is as thorough and high quality as it can be.”
But Jean’s most lasting contribution may be her work with clients, whom she helped learn to better adjust to their visual impairment through her one-on-one teaching visits.
“She really cares and was always there for me when I needed her, and always found the best way of helping me,” says Violet Haverland of Cuba City. “Jean just made me want to do more, and helped me understand that I can do things I never knew I could.”