Reaching Out Newsletter


Cindy Williams: New Coordinator of Student Programs

Dear NDVS/SB families, friends, and associates,

I am excited for the start of this school year as I adventure into my new position at NDVS/SB as the Coordinator of Student Programs. This isn’t my first transition while working at NDVS/SB. I have been here for about 17 years with my first position being the secretary. After being in that position about a year, I submitted my resignation to go back to school to be a Teacher of the Visually Impaired. During my time attending UND, I started working nights as a Houseparent. Soon after, I took on the new position of Evening Activities Coordinator. With one year left in my master’s program at UND, I was hired as an Outreach Teacher - Region 3 Coordinator serving the Devils Lake Region. A few years later, the position of Region 4 Coordinator serving the Grand Forks region opened. I took on that region and now, as I write this, I have finished my first day in my new position of Coordinator of Student Programs. Looking back on my career thus far, I am thankful for every position I have held as I have learned so much and each one has contributed knowledge and experience which I will use in my current role as Coordinator of Student Programs.

As far as my personal life, I was born and raised in Rugby, ND and have lived in various places including Tucson, Arizona; Winnipeg, MB; and International Falls, MN before settling in Grand Forks in 2002 when my husband, Craig, accepted a position here. We have two children, our oldest, Tyler is a young adult making his way in the world working full-time for McKinnon Company after taking some time off from his studies at UND. Our youngest, Sophia is in the 7th grade and keeps Craig and I busy with all her activities. Our family enjoys our two pets, Winnie, our Shih Tzu and Misty our cat. When there is time to spare, I enjoy reading and being part of my book club with friends, gardening, attending sporting events and concerts, and spending time with my family and friends.

I am entering my new role as Coordinator of Student Programs with enthusiasm and a bit of sadness as I leave my role as Region 4 Coordinator and the close working relationship I have had with all the families I serve, Anne Carlsen Early Intervention, schools throughout Region 4, DHS, and others. Thank you all for your collaboration and allowing me to serve and support infants and students as I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all of you!

I am filling the big shoes of former Coordinator of Student Programs, Deb Johnsen whom I have admired for years. She has been a moving force in my life and has been an excellent mentor, co-worker and friend. Thank you in advance for your patience with me as I learn the ropes of this new position. Some changes you can anticipate and look forward to as we plan short term programs include a shortened week to Monday through Thursday for elementary and middle school age groups, on-line forms/registration, and a cross-training programming focus on the nine areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. My office phone number is 701-795-2704 and my email is I am thankful to work for such a wonderful agency and work with excellent co-workers and I look forward to working with many of you in my new role as Coordinator of Student Programs!


Cindy Williams


Upcoming Events:

September 9–14
Adult STP

September 23-27
Elementary STP (1st-5th grade)

October 18
Visions Forum

October 21-25
Middle School STP(6th-8th)

November 4-9
Teen STP/Careers (9th-12th)

November 29-Dec. 1
Middle School JAM

December 7
Retirees Christmas Tea

December 9-14
Adult STP

January 13-17
Elementary Literacy (1st-5th)


Summer Camp


NDVS/SB 2018 Teen Work Experience was a success in Medora, North Dakota!

Eight high school students ranging from 9th grade to 12th grade got the opportunity this June to experience what it is like to work in a tourism/service industry setting.  Students’ backgrounds were from Western ND to Eastern ND/MN so each of them had unique perspectives and talents that they were able to contribute to their job skills!

Job opportunities and assignments were in all areas of the Medora setting from working in the shooting gallery, mini golf, cleaning cabins, retail shop/snack bar at the Bully Pulpit golf course, yard maintenance, and greeting/serving visitors at the Medora musical.

Each of the students did very well in learning and fulfilling their job duties and also enjoyed interacting with the public as well as meeting other volunteers/workers who were there for the week. 

Fun activities were also on the agenda with swimming, shopping, mini golf, and attending the Medora musical as well as just “hanging out” together as all teens do!

This week was such a success that it is hoped to be continued in the future as an opportunity for our high school students to focus on more vocational opportunities in their learning experiences.

Submitted by Mary Verlinde


Superintendent's Scoop

There is both excitement and a little anxiety at the beginning of every new school year for everyone associated with education. As educators we have both an awesome and an arduous obligation to “bring our A game” to work every day. At NDVS/SB we have so many great things happening, and we are excited to come alongside our students of all ages, parents and partners. We have begun our new strategic plan that will carry us through this school year and through the summer of 2021.You might say this is our roadmap for staying on course and taking a few new and exciting trips. this journey we have a few new staff and new leadership within the organization that will help us chart our course and achieve our mission. We developed a new mission statement this past year and it reads: “NDVS/SB provides individualized services and resources to infants, children and adults with visual impairment to empower them in achieving their goals. “This simplified mission statement very clearly says who we are and what we are all about. We are about empowerment!

I hope you enjoy this edition of Reaching Out. In it you will read about some of the new and exciting things that are happening at NDVS/SB


Paul Olson—Superintendent.


Available at The Store

Since my last update, I have a few new items available in The Store. We currently have in stock three different atomic clocks. Two models are clocks that you may use at your bedside. These are priced at $20 and $30. The third clock I have is the atomic keychain watch. This watch is like the previous keychain watches that we still stock. Although it costs a little bit more, it is handy to only have to reset the time when the battery goes dead instead of having to reset it every spring and fall and in between when the watch loses time.

I recently changed up the guided knife that we stock. I only have the right hand in stock but can order a left handed one. This new knife runs a little bit less money than the old one at $18, and it also comes with a wood block to store it on your counter and a two prong fork to help hold what you are cutting.

Finally, we now can get Noir glasses for you. Amy has talked to a number of you about what filters will work best for you. We can special order those filters for you in a number of different frames. We do still stock the same Haven glasses that we have had for the last couple of years in three shades: gray, amber, and yellow.

These great products and many more are available at The Store and are listed in our most recent catalog that is available online at our website: Or a copy can be sent by contacting Ryan Torgerson at or by calling (701)795-2714.


Publisher & Editors


Reaching Out is published by the ND Vision Services/School for the Blind, an agency funded by the state of North Dakota for the benefit of people with visual impairments. ND Vision Services/School for the Blind is a division of the ND Department of Public Instruction. NDVS/SB does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in employment or provision of services. Out is available in alternative formats upon request. Please send comments to:



ND Vision Services/School for the Blind

500 Stanford Road

Grand Forks, ND 58203-2799


Superintendent of Public Instruction: Kirsten Baesler

Superintendent, ND Vision Services/School for the Blind: Paul Olson (

Reaching Out Editor: Ryan Torgerson ( and Leslie Pederson (