Meet the Perkins International Academy Team

The Perkins International Academy team consists of Perkins School for the Blind educators with vast international experience in the education of children and young adults with multiple disabilities, visual impairment and deafblindness.

Marianne Riggio

Marianne Riggio headshotMarianne Riggio is well known worldwide as an expert in the field of deafblindness.

As the Perkins International Academy project manager, she has led the development of the first-ever international competency standard for teachers working with children with multiple disabilities.

Riggio was named director of Perkins International’s Educational Leadership Program in 2012. Prior to her current role, she served as an educational consultant for Perkins International and as regional coordinator for programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

She is the co-author or editor of over 15 publications focusing on the education of children with deafblindness that are now used internationally as the basis of trainings for teachers, administrators and parents.

Riggio earned a master’s degree in multi-handicapped and deafblind education from Boston College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in special and elementary education.

Over the course of her career, she has traveled to Israel, Ukraine, Jordan, Portugal, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Haiti to provide technical assistance to Perkins International’s local partners.


Kristen Layton

Kristen Layton headshot

Kristen Layton is the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Learning at Perkins International. Before joining the team at PI, she served as an international consultant specializing in inclusive education and the education of children with disabilities, including those who are visually impaired and deafblind. While living in Amman, Jordan, in 2010, Layton helped launch Perkins International’s programs in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Layton led the Education Development Center, Inc., team that launched the International Inclusive Schools Network and has held positions with Boston College, the University of Maryland, the National Deaf-Blind Project, the Helen Keller National Center and in the New York Public School system.

She holds an MS degree in Special Education/Severe Disabilities from Hunter College, City University of New York.