Martin Monson - University of North Colorado

Photo: Martin Monson, 2006 NCLIV Fellow

Hello, my name is Martin Monson and I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. 

I started working in the field of vision impairment and blindness in 1992 as a dormitory assistant at the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind.  This was my first exposure to working with children who were blind or visually impaired.  After working for a short time in this capacity, I realized that educating children who are blind or visually impaired was my calling in life.  For the next few years, I continued working at MSAB and attended classes at the University of Minnesota.  After graduating with a MEd in Special Education majoring in the education of children with vision impairments, I took my first teaching job as a resource room teacher of the visually impaired with the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada.  My second year of teaching found me teaching as an itinerant teacher with the same school district.  After a very exciting two years in Las Vegas, my career took me to Eugene, Oregon where I continued working as an itinerant teacher to students with vision impairments.  While in Eugene, I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Oregon Deafblind Project as our regions consulting teacher.  Even though we had a small number of students who were deafblind in our region, the training, knowledge and experience I gained while being a part of this group allowed me to be a more effective teacher, not only for the students who were deafblind, but for all students on my caseload who had disabilities in addition to their vision impairment. 

While teaching in Eugene, I felt I could do more for greater numbers of students as a school administrator.  I completed the necessary course work at the University of Oregon and received my school administration license in the summer of 2003.  In January of 2004, I accepted a position as the principal of the Wisconsin School for the Visually Impaired, a part of the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  In September of 2005, I accepted the position as director of the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  Though my role as a school administrator was brief, I learned a great deal which will allow me to better serve students and their families in the future.

The students we teach are like all other students in many ways, but they also have unique learning needs that no other group of students has.  These students and their uniqueness are the very reasons I applied to be a NCLVI fellow.  I truly believe our work as individuals, and our work as a group will lead to a better education and better lives for students who are blind or visually impaired.  I am truly honored and humbled to be included with this group of educators.

Congratulations to Martin R. Monson for the lead article in JVIB April 2008 • Volume 102 Number 4 issue, pp. 210-220..

The Development of Phonological Awareness by Braille Users: A Review of the Research-

Martin R. Monson and Sandy K. Bowen

Abstract: This article presents a review of research on the development of phonological awareness by braille readers. The review determined that the relationship between phonological awareness and braille is uncertain because of the lack of commonality among the studies, the extent of contradictory findings, and the small number of studies involving beginning braille reader.