For more information, contact:
Christine Parker Roberts, AIDB Public Relations Assistant
(256) 761-3207; Roberts.firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2015
AIDB Names New Regional Directors in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham
Edmiston and Stewart named as AIDB Regional Directors
The new Directors of Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) Regional Centers in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham are familiar faces at AIDB with more than two decades each of experience in working with individuals who are deaf and blind. Robbie S. Stewart has been named the new Regional Director in Tuscaloosa and Jessica Lerer Edmiston has been named the new Regional Director in Birmingham.
“AIDB is strongly committed to providing outreach service to consumers when and where they need them,” said AIDB President Dr. John Mascia. “We do this in a number of ways for more than 22,000 individuals each year through our campus programs and particularly through our network of eight Regional Centers. These Centers take our services into homes, communities, public schools and businesses in all 67 counties of the state and are a vital part of our mission. Robbie Stewart and Jessica Edmiston are extraordinary members of our championship team at AIDB and I am confident that they will provide effective leadership in these communities.”
A native of Pickens County, Robbie Shields Stewart’s journey with AIDB began as a parent alongside one of her sons, Andrew, through the Early Intervention Program in the Tuscaloosa Regional Center. Andrew later enrolled at Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) and Robbie joined the AIDB staff in 1995. She served as a teacher at Fayetteville and Lincoln High Schools before returning to AIDB in 2011 as Career and Technical Education Director at Alabama School for the Deaf. She has also been an adjunct professor at Central Alabama Community College.
“Robbie’s connection with the Tuscaloosa community and her knowledge and experience in education make her a perfect fit to serve that area. As a former Tuscaloosa Regional Center Kinderprep parent, Robbie has said she feels like she’s “coming home,” said Karla Smith, Director of Field Services for AIDB.
Stewart earned her bachelor’s degree in office management in 1985 from the University of Alabama and was in the Career and Technical Education program at Athens State University from 2003-2004. Stewart earned her master’s degree in business education from Auburn University in 2011 and a master’s in educational leadership from UAB in 2013.
AIDB’s Tuscaloosa Regional Center serves individuals and families with hearing and vision loss in Bibb, Choctaw, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Perry, Pickens, Marengo, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties. “I’m very excited to be back “home” and to fulfill the role of director at the Tuscaloosa Regional Center,” said Stewart. “I’ve been a part of the AIDB family for a long time as a parent and staff member and I know firsthand the value and impact of AIDB’s programs and services for families with hearing and vision loss. I look forward to being of service and to renewing and building new relationships in the area.”
Jessica Edmiston began her career at AIDB in the position of Public Relations Coordinator in 1996. She was named the Federal and State Grants Writer two years later. Her roles as both AIDB Alumni Liaison and AIDB Assistant Director for Development began in March 1999, a position she held for 10 years. In 2010, she took on the role as owner of Kaizen Consulting, LLC, where she contracted with AIDB to pursue grant funding for expansion of innovative programs. Currently she serves as Project Director for AIDB’s federally-funded Initiatives for Children and Youth who are Deaf-Blind.
Edmiston earned her bachelor’s degree in English-journalism with minors in public relations/history from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee in 1995. She went on to earn her master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2004, specializing in arts, education, educational leadership, special education and foundations.
“Early in my career, I immersed myself within the various cultures and communities of those we serve and have continued to be involved in the AIDB Family,” said Edmiston. “This has enabled me to understand the abilities of individuals with hearing and vision loss and/or multiple disabilities as well as the obstacles faced in early intervention, education, rehabilitation and employment fields. I look forward to taking this knowledge to Region III, creating partnerships and collaborations both internally and externally to provide targeted, distinct outreach in Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties.”
“Jessica’s experience working with the Birmingham Regional Center staff, her knowledge of Birmingham resources, and her organizational skills will be a definite advantage at the Birmingham Regional Center,” said Karla Smith.
Established in 1858, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind is the nation’s most comprehensive education, rehabilitation and service program for infants, children, adults and seniors with hearing and vision loss. AIDB operates five campuses in Talladega and a network of eight regional centers located in Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Talladega, Tuscaloosa and Tuscumbia.