Future Reflections Winter 1992, Vol. 11 No. 1

(back) (contents) (next)



                        OF BLIND CHILDREN

[PICTURE] Dr. Ralph Bartley, Superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped accepts the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award

One of the most valuable people in the life of a blind child is the dedicated, skilled, and caring teacher of blind and visually impaired children. Classroom teachers come and go, and one or two poor teachers can usually be tolerated without much damage. However, because positive attitudes about blindness and proficiency in the alternative techniques of blindness are so vital to a blind child's self-esteem and future success in life, he or she can ill-afford a poor, or poorly prepared, teacher of the blind and visually impaired.

A few years ago, in recognition of the importance of educators of blind children, the National Federation of the Blind instituted a Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award. An outstanding educator is selected each year to receive this award, which consists of $500 cash, a special plaque, and an expense-paid trip to the NFB National Convention where he/she receives the award and also is given the opportunity to speak to the Parents of Blind Children Division regarding his/her philosophy about the education of blind children. Dr. Ralph Bartley, superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped, was the 1991 recipient of this award.

Dr. Bartley has been an outstanding educator of blind children for about twenty years, and for much of that time he has worked closely and cooperatively with the NFB in his state in order to enhance the education of blind children. Dr. Bartley gave a most helpful and insightful presentation to the Parents of Blind Children Annual Meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 2 at the convention (see the next article, "Know the System.") The actual presentation of his award came later in the convention during the banquet on the evening of Friday, July 5.

Here is what was said at the banquet award presentation:

Sharon Maneki, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland and Chair of the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Selection Committee, presented the award. She said:

Fellow Federationists, his evening it is my privilege to introduce someone who needs no introduction--that is, the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children. We in the National Federation of the Blind started this award because we expect excellence and we demand excellence. And when we find excellence, we recognize it. It is always a difficult task for this committee to find the right person. We on the committee try to adopt Robert Frost's position on education. He said that there are two kinds of teachers. There are the quail hunters, the ones that fill the students up with so many facts and figures that they don't really remember anything. Then there are the other kind who are more like the pilot instructors who inspire and lead their students so that they can soar to their own heights. The committee, consisting of Allen Harris, Joyce Scanlan, Fred Schroeder, Jackie Billey, and me, found a distinguished educator who has worked at every level of various schools for the blind. He started in college as a supervisor of the dormitory, was a classroom teacher, was a principal, and now is superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped. Dr. Ralph Bartley is a man who believes in education. His school promotes competitions and events like Braille Student of the Year, Braille Math Student, and White Cane and Braille Appreciation Days. When the organized blind of Kansas said we need a Braille bill, he was right there in the forefront, right with the blind. Dr. Bartley receives a plaque and a $500 check, and I'm going to present the plaque to him and read it to you now.

Distinguished Educator of Blind Children

The National Federation of the Blind honors

Dr. Ralph E. Bartley
Kansas State School for the
Visually Handicapped
Distinguished Educator of Blind Children
For your outstanding efforts
to ensure that all blind children
in Kansas and throughout the nation
will continue to have the opportunity
to learn to read and write Braille.
For your leadership
in promoting greater educational
opportunities for blind children.
For working in partnership
with the organized blind.
You are our colleague, our friend, our ally.
You champion our movement,
you strengthen our hopes,
You share our dreams.
July 5, 1991

Dr. Bartley accepted the plaque and said: Dr. Jernigan, President Maurer, Chairman Maneki, and members of the Award Committee, with great feelings of honor and humility I accept the National Federation of the Blind's Distinguished Educator off Blind Children Award. You've not only recognized me, but also many others who have made major contributions. In Kansas we are fortunate to have many persons who dedicated themselves to the education of blind children. Some of these are here with us today. Among them: President Susie Stanzel of the NFB of Kansas, and many others, the Baleks, Steve and Lynn Hallenbecks, Peg Halverson, the Hemphills, the Kellys, Raymond Peel, Remlingers, the Thompsons, and many others. I would also be remiss tonight if I did not mentions with a word of thanks my parents, Tommy and Barbara of Henderson, Kentucky, who are with our four children (Jennifer, Ben, Jody, and Jessica.) I would like to thank them for their sacrifices so that I might be here tonight. I would also like to recognize our Kansas Braille Readers are Leaders, Angela and Jennifer, and their teachers, Virgine, Madeline, Jackie, and Darlene. Finally, I want to tell you that in 1953 I started school, and two very significant people in a particular reading series got me started on the right road to my own education and my own ability to read. Those two people were Dick and Jane, along with Sally and Spot. Those people help me learn today. Well today, I do not have a Spot and Sally in my life, but I still have a Dick and Jane. To Jane, my wife, thank you. And to Kansas State Representative Richard J. (Dick) Edlund, thank you for all that you have done and especially thank you for the great legacy you are building in Kansas. The cornerstone of that legacy is our new Kansas Braille Bill. Without you the Kansas Braille Bill would not be a reality, and Ralph Bartley would not be here tonight. Thank you.

(back) (contents) (next)