Meet the Pre-Employment Program Team

The Pre-Employment Program team consists of Perkins School for the Blind educators with vast experience in vocational training and learning with blindness, as well as hiring experts, disability specialists and successful professionals who are blind.

Karen Wolffe, expert on career counseling for people who are blind, content contributor

Karen Wolffe headshotThe Pre-employment Program was designed and created in collaboration with Karen Wolffe. She has worked with the American Foundation for the Blind as Director of Professional Development and CareerConnect. Prior to that, she directed the Job Readiness Clinic, an applied learning lab for people with disabilities looking for work, at the University of Texas. Today she works privately as a career counselor and consultant in Austin, Texas.


Marie Russo-Amaral, Perkins School for the Blind, Co-Facilitator

Marie Russo-Amaral headshotMarie is a Lead Teacher of the Visually Impaired at Perkins School for the Blind where she works with public school students who have visual impairment. Marie has more than 16 years of experience teaching students of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. She also designed curriculum and taught a course on teaching students who are visually impaired for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Summer Institute. Marie is the mother of two grown children with Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, which inspired her to begin working in the field of blindness education.


Kaitlyn Barron, Perkins School for the Blind, Co-Facilitator

Kaitlyn Barron headshotKaitlyn is a third year Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) at Perkins School for the Blind. She has been in the field of education for more than seven years and has worked with students of all ages and abilities. Kaitlyn completed her undergraduate studies at Bridgewater State University and later attended the University of Massachusetts Boston TVI Graduate Program. Kaitlyn is passionate about helping students achieve their maximum potential in both academic and social settings.


Courtney Wescott, Perkins School for the Blind, Co-Facilitator

Courtney Wescott headshotCourtney Wescott is the Coordinator of Outreach Short Courses at Perkins School for the Blind, where she recruits public school students to attend programming geared toward teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum. A graduate of Fitchburg State University, she began her career at Perkins as a teaching assistant before moving on to fill various roles in the Secondary Program. She is currently enrolled to be a graduate candidate of the Vision Studies, Vision Rehab Therapy cohort at the University of Massachusetts Boston to further her passion for providing safe, supportive environments where children of all abilities can come together to socialize and learn.

Panelists and speakers

PEP students have benefitted from the insight of representatives from corporate and nonprofit Perkins Business Partnership partners, including WinterWyman, Tufts Health Plan, Partners Continuing Care, Inc. (PCC) and Perkins School for the Blind.