Wendy Jackson, MSW, LCSW, Executive Director
Mrs. Jackson graduated with her Masters in Social Work from Missouri State University in 2001 where she now enjoys teaching per course work in the Social Work program. Mrs. Jackson has worked with not-for-profit and governmental organizations providing services to people with varying disability since 1997. Mrs. Jackson is a member of the Queen City Lions Club where she is able to share her passion for providing services for people with vision loss.
Cassidy Coiner, Event Coordinator
Ms. Coiner went to school for Entertainment Management at Missouri State University. After a year at MSU she found her passion in events through a venue in Republic called Old Towne Event Center. After planning weddings and events for a few years she decided to take an internship at Disney World to learn the ins and outs of the entertainment industry from the best of the best. When Cassidy got back from her 6 month internship in Orlando, Florida, she decided to create a company that helps brides find their way to vendors in their area for their big day called Brides of the Ozarks. After 5 years in the wedding industry, Cassidy found her way to Vision Rehab Center of the Ozarks through a service learning class and fell in love with the people and the mission of the VRCO family. Cassidy loves spending her time with her family and three dogs. She enjoys hiking, going to the lake, and eating Andy’s Frozen Custard.
Bailey Johnson, Social Work Practicum Student
Ms. Johnson attends Missouri State University for a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She spent many years trying to find her passion in accounting, education, culinary, and graphic design, but was ultimately smitten with Social Work’s values, ethics, and impact. Bailey is finishing her degree by completing her Senior practicum with the Vision Rehabilitation Center. When she is not at VRCO, Bailey enjoys spending time with her fiancé and two dogs, knitting, and camping.
Christopher Boschen, OD
A native of Springfield and a 2003 graduate of Hillcrest High School, Dr. Boschen received his Bachelors of Arts in Biological Sciences from the University of Missouri in 2007. He graduated with honors and received his Doctorate of Optometry from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He then completed a year-long primary care residency at the VAMC Outpatient Clinic in Mt. Vernon, MO. During the residency, he provided low vision services to veterans suffering from vision loss. Dr. Boschen is a member of the American Academy of Optometry, the Missouri Optometric Association, and the Greater Ozarks Optometric Society. Dr. Boschen’s wife’s name is Ashely and they have two sons named Henry and Tucker.
Dr. Carol Scott, OD
Dr. Carol L. Scott founded the Vision Enhancement Clinic to serve the needs of children and adults with binocular vision problems. Dr. Scott is a developmental optometrist specializing in pediatrics, vision-based learning problems, sports vision and rehabilitative optometry. Her practice fist began in November 1986 after graduating and completing a two-year residency program in pediatric vision and vision therapy at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. After selling her private practice she added vision therapy to The Vision Clinic in Ozark, MO and specialized in developmental optometry and rehabilitative optometry. She enjoys helping people with developmental or acquired vision problems to function better in school and activities of daily living. In February 2017, Dr. Scott joined Vision Rehabilitation of the Ozarks specializing in stroke and brain injury vision rehabilitation. Dr. Scott is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD). COVD provides board certification for eye doctors and vision therapists who are prepared to offer state-of-the-art services in developmental vision care, vision therapy, and visual rehabilitation. Dr. Scott has been a Fellow of COVD since 1993 and is only one of a few optometrists in the state of Missouri to be board certified by COVD. She is a past president of COVD. She is also a member of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, Sports Vision Section of the AOA, MOA, and Optometric Extension Program Foundation.
Debra Williams, OD
Dr. Debra Williams’ specialty is working with patients with Macular Degeneration as well as diabetes-related vision impairments. Dr. Williams found her niche in optometry by following her passion for helping those in need. Over the last seventeen years, Dr. Williams has provided low vision care in Kimberling City, Branson, and Springfield areas. In November 2010, she focused her attention on launching the VRCO to serve southwest Missouri and surrounding states by providing low vision care exclusively in Springfield. She graduated from Pacific University College of Optometry in 1993 and opened her private optometry practice in Kimberling City where she continues to provide primary care to her patients. As well as a founding board member of the VRCO, she is active in her church and community organizations, including Lions Club and Christian Associates of Table Rock Lake.
Cathy Grimes, Optometric Technician
Cathy Grimes is an optometric technician specializing in low vision. She has been in this field for almost 10 years with ongoing education in ophthalmologist assistance and vision impairments. Ms. Grimes has a passion for helping clients return to the activities that they love. Ms. Grimes lives on Table Rock Lake and enjoys spending time with my family and friends.
Tara Boehne, Occupational Therapist
Tara Boehne, MS/OTR/L is a registered occupational therapist practicing in Springfield, MO. She has practicing occupational therapy in southwest Missouri for the past 23 years, serving primarily adults and older adults in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, home health care, the acute care hospital environment, and outpatient. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science, Occupational Therapy, from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master of Science in Health Service Administration from Southwest Baptist University. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and is presently enrolled in the Post-Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy Program through Creighton University. She presently works as a Clinical Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator in the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at Missouri State University. Tara holds certification with the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy, as well as a state license in occupational therapy for the state of Missouri from the Missouri Division of Professional Registration: Board of Occupational Therapy. She is a member in good standing of both the American Occupational Therapy Association as well as the Missouri Occupational Therapy Association. She is also a Certified CarFit Instructor.
First Steps providers
Susan Conover, First Steps Vision Coordinator
Susan Conover retired from Springfield Public Schools at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. She spent most of my career as a Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach, although she also has experience in kindergarten, first grade, Special Education (Behavior Disorders) and as a Library Media Specialist. Ms. Conover has a BA in Education from Fontbonne College and an MEd from Lindenwood. She is certified in the areas of Kindergarten, Elementary Education (1-8), Behavior Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Blind/ Visually Impaired, Reading Specialist, and Library Media Specialist.
Colleen Appleby, First Steps Vision Instructor
Colleen Appleby graduated from Missouri State University with my Bachelor of Arts in Special Education in 2004. She is certified to teach Kindergarten through 12th grade special education, Early Childhood Special Education (birth to age 3), and is a Teacher of the visually Impaired. She is currently working on my Masters at Missouri State University with a degree in visual impairments. Ms. Appleby began teaching in the public school system in 2004. Throughout her teaching career, she has worked in a wide variety of classrooms with children of all ability levels and has loved every minute of it.
Kelli Frost, First Steps Vision Instructor
Kelli Frost has been teaching in the public school system since 1997. She started as an Early Childhood Special Educator and has been working with the blind & visually impaired since 2007. In addition to her work at VRCO, she works for several school districts within the southwest Missouri area. Ms. Frost serves as the secretary for the Missouri Chapter of the Association of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired.
Lyn Harris, First Steps Vision Instructor
Lyn Harris has taught Special Education at Forsyth Elementary for 16 years. She received her training as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Certified Orientation and Mobility instructor at Missouri State University. Lyn has been married to Ray, a professional musician, for 32 years. They have two daughters, Abby of Springfield, MO and Bonny 26 of Forsyth, MO. They have two granddaughters.
Melissa Park, First Steps Vision Instructor
Melissa Park is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired in Springfield Public Schools and lives in Springfield, MO. She attended College of the Ozarks near Branson, Missouri and graduated with a Bachelors in Elementary Education. She received her Masters in Education-Special Education from Walden University. She received completed her coursework for becoming a Teacher of the Visually Impaired from Missouri State University. She has been teaching for 20 years. She has always known that teaching was something she wanted to pursue because she loves to see students develop into healthy adults. Her teaching career began in Salem, Missouri where she taught 6th, 5th, and 2nd grades. Then, she taught in Clever, Missouri in 5th and 6th-grade science. She taught middle school science, 5th grade, and special education at Strafford Middle School in Strafford, Missouri before teaching at Springfield Schools. Melissa is a mother of two boys. Her interests include reading, riding horses, hiking, church activities, and family activities.
Shari Scott, PhD, First Steps Vision Instructor
My name is Shari Scott and I’ve been working with First Steps as a Special Instructor in Vision since the summer of 2017. I am also an instructor for MSU in the Blindness and Low Vision Program in Springfield Mo. I moved to Missouri in 2014 after working for several years at the TN School for the Blind in Nashville. I was also the State Assistive Technology Coordinator for Students with Blindness and Low Vision for a few years. A TSB I taught Special Education, Language Arts, Mathematics, and Technology. I was the ‘history dept’ for several years as well. At a small school, you wear many hats! Prior to that I worked in the Clarksville Montgomery County and the Dickson County School systems so I’ve had a lot of varied experiences and have loved every one of them.
Debbie Wolf, First Steps Vision Instructor
Debbie Wolf is a teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). She received a Bachelors of Science degree from Pittsburg State University (1988) and a Masters degree from Pittsburg State University (2008) and is completing an internship for Orientation and Mobility (O&M) with Missouri State University. Ms. Wolf has been teaching since 1990 in various school districts with her most recent placement with Carthage Public Schools beginning 2006.