Alumni Association Board of Directors
Becky Andrews and Cricket
Becky enjoys life in Bountiful Utah with her husband, Steve and current 2nd Guide, Cricket. They have two adult children - Natalie and Kendall. Becky loves to run, tandem bike, garden, hike, travel, time with family and friends and enjoys long walks with Cricket.
With a master's degree in psychology counseling, Becky is a marriage and family therapist. After several years as a therapist with different agencies, Becky started her own business, Resilient Solutions, Inc and has 12 therapists who work in her company. As a fellow in thanatology her passion is working with clients who are experiencing trauma, grief and loss.
Terry M. Christensen, Ph.D., and Zane
Terry is a historian of science. With the able assistance of his Guide, Zane, Terry is currently working on a biography of the renowned theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler. In an earlier career, Terry was a professional mariner who held a U.S. Merchant Marine Master’s License. In addition to his time at sea (typically ocean towing and salvage work, often in Alaskan waters), Terry also served as a maritime educator. Terry is currently Clerk of Yardley Friends Meeting, in Yardley, PA and a football coach at George School in Newtown, PA. In addition to offering guest lectures on various topics in the history of science and technology, Terry also serves as a volunteer assistant coach for the wrestling team at George School.
Michelle R Miller and Tango
A life filled with constant enrichment, integrity and a love of sharing life’s gifts are the guiding principles for Michelle R. Miller. Throughout her professional career, her community projects, and her personal relationships; she has been fortunate to share her gifts and interests with countless others. This exchange of information and ideas is extremely meaningful to Michelle in all aspects of her life, particularly when it comes to educating individuals about dog guides. It not only affords her happiness but fosters true fulfillment.
Presently, Michelle serves as Director of Community services for the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind; she oversees program creation and direction, counseling and guidance to blind and low vision clients. She has been in this field for nearly ten years both in the nation’s capitol, and Sacramento, California.
Michelle is a clinical social worker, and earned her respective degrees at the University of Mary hardin-Baylor, and Tulane University. Empowering clients to live productively and independently through guidance, training, and mentorship is not only what she contributes to others, but is also how she lives her life, since losing her vision.
On both national and international travel excursions, she has had Tango her current guide by her side to experience the adventure, and educate others about dog guides. “I love to explore unique places, learn new fun facts, and increase my awareness about other cultures.”
Some of her hobbies and interests include urban ministry, cooking, shopping, and collecting items with butterflies. The uniqueness, colors, and exquisiteness of these amazing creatures have charmed her for a majority of her life, and are symbolic for all new adventures and endeavors she undertakes including this new opportunity of serving on the Alumni Association Board for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Members at Large:
Samantha Adams and Lotto
Sam Adams is a Canadian transplant now living in Gold River, California, Sam is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan. She has a degree in English literature as well as a law degree. Sam worked as a defense lawyer in southern British Columbia and in the Yukon Territory before switching to criminal prosecutions. In 2008, she moved to northern California to marry her husband and her life has changed dramatically. She assists with her husband’s business, manages a household consisting of a 14 year old daughter, a working Guide Dog, 2 cats and one retired Guide. As of July 1, 2013, she assumed the role of band booster president for her daughter’s high school marching band. Sam enjoys reading, writing, cooking, music, yoga, exercise and participating in pet therapy work with her retired Guide Gilbert. She is actively involved in her church and her local puppy raising club. She received her first guide dog from GDB in 1995 and has never looked back. She currently shares her travels with Lotto, a male Yellow Lab.
Leanne Bremner and Ayanna
Leanne lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, young daughter and fourth guide, Ayanna. Leanne has worked in the banking industry for 10 years at CIBC, one of North America's largest banks. As a Senior Consultant in the area of communications and reputation management, Leanne leads the banks corporate-wide external awards and recognition efforts. In addition, she plays a key role in raising awareness of the banks commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainable business practices and is responsible for providing content for CIBC's annual Corporate Responsibility Report. She was previously a consultant with Monitor Company, a business strategy consulting firm.
Leanne received her first guide from GDB in 1995 while attending the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary where she earned a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction.
Prior to joining the GDB Alumni Association Board in 2013, Leanne served on the Board of the Ontario Foundation for Visually Impaired Children (OFVIC) from 2005 to 2012 and has been involved with several community organizations including the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Melanie Brunson and Sparta
Melanie Brunson has been working with GDB guide dogs since 1995, and Sparta is her third guide. The other members of their family include Melanie’s husband, Lyle, and her retired guide, Zora. The activities they enjoy doing together include reading, camping, and listening to bluegrass music.
Melanie Brunson has been employed by the American Council of the Blind (ACB) since August of 1998. Her initial position was Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. In March, 2004, she was named Executive Director of the organization. She holds that position at this time.
In 2008, she was appointed by the governor of Virginia to the State Rehabilitation Council, a federally mandated body that advises the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired on how to improve the vocational rehabilitation services it provides throughout the commonwealth. She chaired that council during 2012, and was reappointed in 2013.
Prior to coming to ACB, Mrs. Brunson lived and worked in California. She practiced law in that state for fourteen years. Much of that time was spent in private practice. Her practice specialized in estate planning for people with disabilities and their families. From April of 1996 to December of 1997, she was employed as a Client Assistance Program Advocate, assisting individuals with disabilities with legal issues related to their matriculation of the state’s vocational rehabilitation system.
From January to July of 1998, she was employed by the Western Law Center for Disability Rights in Los Angeles.
In addition, Mrs. Brunson served for six years on the board of directors of the Spanish Trails Girl Scout Council, one of the largest Girl Scout councils in southern California. During her tenure on the board, she assisted the council with the revision of their program for serving girls with disabilities, and updated their training curriculum for troop leaders on best practices for integration of girls with disabilities into Girl Scout troops.
Mrs. Brunson also served for eight years as an elected member of the School Board that oversees the operation of the Whittier Christian Schools, a not-for-profit organization that operates three campuses serving students from preschool through middle school age.
Mrs. Brunson obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Whittier College, and her Juris Doctorate from Whittier College School of Law. She was admitted to the California Bar in 1984 and maintains her license to practice law in California
Maile George and Jasmine
Maile (pronounced My-lee) is a native of California. Among her many passions are Guide Dogs, animal welfare and the human-canine bond. Currently, Maile shares her life with her fifth Guide Dog, a sassy yellow Labrador named Jasmine, who takes a lot of pleasure in sporting her growing wardrobe of colorful Martingale training collars. Maile studied at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington and graduated from San Francisco State University. In 1985, two years after experiencing vision loss, Maile’s life was transformed when she met her first Guide Dog, Egan, a sweet and shiny male black Labrador. Her successor dogs were Acorn, an affectionate male Golden Retriever and tennis ball aficionado, Huntley, another sweet and sensitive male black Labrador and Flanders, an energetic, exceptionally beautiful, incredibly friendly female Golden Retriever. Along with her glowing review of her five dogs, Maile readily acknowledges that every GDB graduate is convinced that he or she was granted the privilege of working with the most extraordinary Guide Dog ever ! After a 26 year career at Bank of America, Maile is now involved with Dogs4Diabetics and The Foggy Doggies, a GDB alumni chapter based in the San Francisco bay area. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family at Lake Tahoe, playing Scrabble, lunching with friends, creative writing, gardening, vegan cooking and reading.
Melissa Hudson and Camry
Melissa Hudson is a proud Latina and graduate of Class 639 with her first Guide Dog, Anya. Her current guide is Camry. Fluent in English, Spanish and Braille, she received her B.A. from California State University, San Bernardino in 1996. She worked as an elementary, bilingual school teacher for several years before moving into the corporate world as a project manager for a global Internet consulting firm and later served as the National Sales Manager for the Latino Speakers Bureau. Melissa found her true passion, however, as a speaker and advocate for Guide Dogs for the Blind, especially reaching out to underrepresented communities. She also volunteers at the Braille Institute teaching adaptive cooking skills. Her husband was a GDB puppy raiser and they both are active members of L.A. Southwest Guide Dog Raisers. Melissa was honored at the GDB 2010 Alumni Reunion with the Forward Award. She enjoys hiking and tandem cycling with her husband. She also enjoys travel taking adventures around the U.S. and also in Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, Nepal, United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Australia. Melissa, her husband and Zorro recently returned from a 3-month stint in Stockholm, Sweden, where she continued her passionate advocacy for guide dog access.
Gary C. Norman, Esq. L.L.M. and Pilot
Gary, a dynamic leader with a disability and a Civil Rights Commissioner, resides in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is an attorney practicing in areas of animal law, disability law, and healthcare reimbursement appeals. He is also a dispute resolution professional with interests in creating platforms that stimulate dialogue. Gary is partnered with his second guide dog, and is the proud custodian of his now retired first guide dog with whom he shared myriad adventures and accomplishments, including, but not limited to, receiving the Ten Outstanding Young Americans award by the Jaycees of the United States.
Gary is a proud native of Ohio, having received the majority of his formal education as a young person in Southern and Northern Ohio:
- Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (May, 2000)
- Wright State University (perhaps dating himself, June 1997)
Many fine people throughout his life, who mentored him, such as his O&M instructor Ruth of the Medina County schools. As a lad, she enlightened Gary how dogs can be an asset to him once he mastered O&M and grew-up.
Now also a proud citizen of Maryland, when Gary is not at the office, he may be found at a fine bistro with Pilot, found editing the law journal he has co-founded, or found when feasible, at the Eastern Shore with his fabulous wife, with his photogenic guide Pilot and with his longest lasting friend Langer. In terms of pure frivolities or luxury, Gary loves cards, loves the occasional evening of gaming, and loves a good facial or massage.
EX Officio Members:
George Kerscher, Ph.D. and Mikey
GDB Board of Directors Representative
George Kerscher is dedicated to developing technology to make information not only accessible, but fully functional in the hands of persons who are blind or who have a print disability. He believes that properly designed information systems can make all information accessible to all people, and is working to push the evolving technologies in that direction. As Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and Senior Officer of Accessible Technology at Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic in the USA, Dr. Kerscher is a recognized leader in document access. In addition, he chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, chairs the W3Steering Council for the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), and serves on the IDPF and NIMAS Boards. In his professional capacities, George Kerscher travels the world. His first dog guide, Nesbit, logged over 1.2 million air miles (Delta gave Nesbit his own frequent flier card). His second guide Mikey is already racking up the air miles as well. Dr. Kerscher was elected to Guide Dogs' board in 2009, and began his service on the Alumni Association Board in 2010.
Jeffrey Senge and Fodi
Immediate Past Chair
Jeff is the founder and coordinator of the Information and Computer Access Program at California State University, Fullerton. He was the co-project director of the Braille Transcription Center Project and co-authored "Preparing for College and Beyond, A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments." During his nearly 20 years in the field of adaptive technology and information access, he has authored numerous articles and presented at many professional conferences. His work for the past 15 years has focused on improving information accessibility for persons with disabilities in postsecondary education. Jeff has conducted campus-wide as well as state-wide research studies in this area. He has provided assessment and consultant services for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights as well as the California State University and the California Community College.