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 headshotKristen Layton is the director of Strategy, Innovation and Learning at Perkins International.

She is an experienced 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. She continues to serve as regional consultant.

Layton earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the State University of New York at Plattsburg, and a master of education degree in special education from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

She was part of the Education Development Center, Inc., team that launched the International Inclusive Schools Network. She has also contributed to the growth of the deafblind graduate program at Boston College by developing and introducing new course curricula, recruiting students and enhancing the internship program.

In addition to her work with Perkins International, Layton also serves as the coordinator for professional learning at the Helen Keller National Center.