Nominating Someone for an Award

The presentation of awards to individuals whose efforts have made a significant contribution to the field of deafblindness and/or who have contributed to improving the lives of Texans with deafblindness is one of the highlights of the Texas Symposium on Deafblindness.   With the 2021 Symposium just around the corner, we are asking for your help in determining the recipients of this year’s awards.  Please help us by nominating individuals whom you feel should be recognized for their contributions at the 2021 Symposium.  You may nominate individuals in any of the four categories using our online form. If you have questions, please contact Adam Graves – Email:  gravesa@tsbvi.edu

All nominations must be received by February 5, 2021.  All nominees must be from Texas or work in Texas.  A group made up of individuals with deafblindness, family members, educators, interveners, and others interested in working with individuals who are deafblind will review the nominations and select the recipients. 

Award Categories

Trail Blazer Award

Given to a family member(s) who has, through their advocacy or efforts on behalf of their family member with deafblindness, blazed a trail that has made it easier for other families who follow. Previous winners include:

      • 2000 Pat McCallum, Bud & Lynne Freeman, Celeste & Riley Rand, Larry & Clarke, and all the families who pioneered services in Texas for their children with deafblindness.
      • 2003 Norm McCallum
      • 2005 Paul, Susie, and Leo Welch  
      • 2007 Cathy Springer
      • 2009 Melanie and Gary Knapp
      • 2011 Rubina & Fareed Khan
      • 2013 Brownie Shott
      • 2015 Molly Roberts
      • 2017  Kathi & David Barksdale
      • 2019 Jacqueline Izaguirre

Robbie Blaha Intervener Award

Given to an intervener who has demonstrated excellence in their role of support to a child with deafblindness and whose efforts have contributed to the success of the intervener model in the educational setting in Texas. Previous winners include:

      • 2000 Ann Bielert, Houston, TX
      • 2003 Mercedes Brown Killeen, TX
      • 2005 Helen Porter, Amarillo, TX
      • 2007 Kristen Riggs & Tasha Vaughn-Brittain, Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
      • 2009 Gloria  Authement, TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2011 Irma Lopez, TSD, Austin, TX
      • 2013 Laura Cornell, Granbury ISD and Chelsea Dean
      • 2015 Ruthanne “Mimi” Garcia, Austin ISD
      • 2017 Geri Ortiz
      • 2019 Rusty Alford, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

Community Intervener Award

Given to an intervener who has demonstrated excellence in their role of support to the individual with deafblindness and whose efforts have contributed to the success of the intervener model in the home and community setting in Texas. Previous winners include:

      • 2019 Aneisha Waugh, Spring, TX

Marty Murrell Excellence in Education Award

Given to a professional in education who has made a long-term commitment to excellence in education for Texas students with deafblindness. Previous winners include:

      • 2000 Karen Buchine, RDSPD, Houston, TX
      • 2003 Mary Scott, ESC Region 3, Victoria, TX
      • 2005 Tish Smith, TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2007 Sharon Parham, Supervisor, Sandy Chance Lead Teacher, Johanna Borg, Classroom Teacher, and Lisa Moore, Parent Infant Advisor, Regional Day School for the Deaf, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
      • 2009 Matt Schultz, TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2011 Susan Lawrence, Region 10 ESC, Richardson, TX
      • 2013 Jennifer Lester, Luis Miranda, Johanna Borg, Elsie Rao, Vicki Cole and Karen Lampkin-Johnson; Spring Branch ISD
      • 2015 Cecilia Robinson, ESC Region 4, Houston, TX
      • 2017 McNeil RDSPD, Round Rock, TX
      • 2019 Kaycee Bennett, Northwest ISD, Ft. Worth, TX 

Ann Silverrain Award

Given to any individual who has made an extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of individuals with deafblindness in Texas. Previous winners include:

      • 2000 Randy Feille, TCB, Austin, TX
      • 2003 Steve Schoen, TRC, Austin, TX
      • 2005 Gay Bellamy, San Antonio, TX
      • 2007 Fran La Ware, Behavior Specialist TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2009 Vivecca Hartman, Houston, TX
      • 2011 C. Colman Davis, (“C.C.”) DARS, Dallas TX
      • 2013 Deanna Peterson, TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2015 Susan Starnes, DARS, Austin, TX
      • 2017 Carolina Gonzalez, TSBVI, Austin, TX
      • 2019 Marina McCormick, Region 4 Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD), Houston, TX