TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Sead Bekric, Sophia Eccleston, Paul Edwards, Paul Martinez, Roxann Mayros, Ciawanda McDonald, Arthur Moody, Misty Porter, and Denise Valkema and the reappointment of Nancy Bateh, Jorge Hernandez, Patricia Lipovsky, Donté Mickens, and Bessie Outman to the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind.
Sead Bekric 
Bekric is the former President of All American Canteen, Inc. Proficient in assistive technology, he has served as a district representative on the Committee of Blind Vendors. Bekric attended Eckerd College and Schiller International University. 
Sophia Eccleston 
Eccleston is an External Affairs Manager with Florida Power and Light Company. She is a veteran of the United States Army, the 2022 Chair of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, and a board member for CareerSource Florida. Eccleston earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Armstrong Atlantic State University and her master’s degree in business administration from American Intercontinental University.
Paul Edwards 
Edwards is the former Director of Access Services for Miami Dade College. He is a member of the Commission on Disability Issues and a board member of the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind. Edwards earned his bachelor’s degree in history and his master’s degree in both international relations and secondary education from the University of West Indies in Jamaica. 
Paul Martinez 
Martinez is a Banquet Server at the Tampa Convention Center. He is an Ambassador for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, serves on the Bay Legal Services Board of Directors, and is President of the National Federation of the Blind. Martinez earned his associate degree in liberal arts from Hillsborough Community College and currently attends the University of South Florida.
Roxann Mayros 
Mayros serves as a consultant to nonprofits and is the previous Chief Executive Officer of VisionServe Alliance. In 2019, VisionServe Alliance created the “Roxann Mayros Champion Award” to highlight the legacy of her service to the field of blindness and low vision. Mayros earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Eckerd College and her master’s degree in nonprofit management from Washington University. 
Ciawanda McDonald 
McDonald is the Chief Executive Officer of Disability Solutions for Independent Living. Previously, she was a Medical Disability Program Specialist at the Florida Department of Health. McDonald earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University, her master’s degree in public administration from Troy University, and her master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Saint Augustine. 
Arthur Moody 
Moody is an Advocate-Investigator at Disability Rights Florida. Previously, he was a Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant at the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Moody earned his bachelor’s degree from Union College and his master’s degree from the University of South Florida. 
Misty Porter 
Porter is a Parent Liaison at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Previously, she was a Service Coordinator at Northeastern Early Steps. Porter earned her teacher of the visually impaired certification from St. Johns River State College and her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Valdosta State University.
Denise Valkema 
Valkema is a board member and past President of the National Federation of the Blind – Florida. She was previously appointed to and served on the Miami Dade County Commission on Disability Issues and the Miami Dade County Local Coordinating Board. Valkema earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Clearwater Christian College. 
Nancy Bateh
Bateh is a Senior Rehabilitation Counselor at the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services. Previously, she was a Special Education Teacher with Duval County Public Schools. Bateh earned her bachelor’s degree in special education and her master’s degree in education from the University of North Florida.
Jorge Hernandez
Hernandez is the Manager of Technology at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. He serves on the Board of Directors for the National Federation of the Blind – Florida. Hernandez earned his bachelor’s degree in information technology from Florida International University.
Patricia Lipovsky 
Lipovsky is the Vice President of the Coalition for the Concerns of the Totally Blind, an affiliate of the Florida Council of the Blind. She has been involved with the Florida Independent Living Council, Handicapped Adults of Volusia County, and the Friends of Library Access supporting the Braille and Talking Book Library. Lipovsky earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Jacksonville University. 
Donté Mickens
Mickens is a Financial Consultant at the National Council on Compensation Insurance. He is a member of the United States Association of Blind Athletes and is Chair of Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches. Mickens earned his bachelor’s degrees in finance and risk management and his master’s degree in risk management from Florida State University.
Bessie Outman
Outman is a Registered Nurse at Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired. Previously, she was a Registered Nurse at All Ways Caring HomeCare. She is a member of the New Smyrna Advent Hospital Faith Nurses and the National Federation of the Blind of Florida Daytona Beach Chapter. Outman earned her nursing degree from St. Luke’s School of Nursing and her bachelor’s degree from St. Francis University.

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