“Perkins School for the Blind, founded in 1829, was the first school for the blind in the United States. Even 175 years ago, our founders were committed to opening the doors to education, literacy and independence for people who are blind, visually impaired and deafblind.” Perkins School For the Blind
Our Interview with Kate Katulak & Brian Switzer of the Perkins School for the Blind
In this interview, our President & Founder, Alexandra Nicklas talks with Kate Katulak and Brian Switzer, of the Perkins School of the Blind. Kate and Brian discuss the school's mission to unlock the tools and skills children and young adults need to realize their potential. Through the use of an Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) students are introduced to a more inclusive world. The ECC pairs academics with a focus on independence, assistive technology, work skills, socializing and more to prepare students to lead their fullest life. Kate and Brain explain how the ECC prepares students for college and career readiness. Through transitional programming, such as Career Launch and Compass, students are able to reach their post-secondary goals and choose career programs that are effective and equitable.
Kate Katulak is the Associate Director of College Success at Perkins School for the Blind, the Lead Coach for Perkins’ virtual transition program, and a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments. She has worked in the field of blindness education and rehabilitation for a decade. Her career started as a Research Assistant at Yale University, where she contributed to the development of a social-emotional learning curriculum, and where she discovered her passion for teaching and curriculum development. She then worked as an itinerant TVI in Connecticut, before coming to Perkins as a classroom teacher and later, an administrator. Kate became blind unexpectedly as a teenager. Since then, she has dedicated her life to helping individuals adjust to vision loss and enabling people with disabilities to create paths towards their best lives. She is living her best life in Massachusetts with her partner, guide dog, and vivacious black cat. She enjoys spending time outdoors, and has completed several triathlons, one full marathon, and many other road races of varying distances. Kate has a master’s in education with a concentration in blindness and visual impairment from Columbia University’s Teachers College and a B.A. in Psychology from Wright State University.
Brian Switzer is an Access Technology Instructor in Career Launch, a career readiness program at Perkins School for the Blind. Brian started out his teaching career as a paraprofessional in a special education classroom, ultimately becoming a high school math teacher. As someone with a visual impairment, he brings to the classroom a lifetime’s worth of experience being visually impaired. He holds a master’s degree in Public Policy, focusing on disability policy and Brian holds teaching licenses in secondary and middle school Mathematics, Biology, and English with SEI endorsement. Outside of the classroom Brian is an avid athlete and consulted on the accessibility of fitness apps such as RunKeeper and Strava. He is a published author on a book about living with deaf blindness called, “Walk in My Shoes: An Anthology on Usher Syndrome” and a second book about service dogs called “Walk in My Paws: An Anthology on Service Dogs.”
Social Media Links
Brian Switzer-DeafBlind Athlete Facebook page