The Teacher of the Visually Impaired was nominated by her peers, “She goes above and beyond”

By: Cara Martinez

Foundation for Blind Children Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Claire Fineberg, receives March 2022 Star of the Month award.

“I was very surprised and not expecting it at all,” says Claire. “There are so many people who do amazing things here that I cannot believe it was me.”

Claire completed her bachelor’s in Psychology at University of Northern Arizona and Master’s in Special Education with a focus in Visual Impairments at University of Arizona.

Claire’s visually impaired high school best friend inspired her to become a TVI. It was difficult for her friend to get the “bare minimum” in terms of materials and accommodations says Claire. “One time we were talking, and she told me about how her TVI changed her life,” adds Claire. “I would love to be that advocate for someone else.”

Claire joined FBC in 2019. After touring FBC’s campus, Claire says, “I just completely fell in love.” She was so in love she put all her “eggs in one basket” by only applying for a paraeducator position at FBC.

Now, she’s an Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired serving 22 students from kindergarten to 8th grade at almost 12 different schools.

The main duties of an Itinerant TVI include serving visually impaired students in school districts and teaching areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum. The ECC captures skills a visually impaired student might not understand without incidental learning. Claire’s job is to fill the gap that teachers might not be able to fill.

“Claire consistently provides a high level of service for her students and for FBC,” says a colleague who nominated her to receive FBC’s Star of the Month award. “She goes above and beyond when working with her students”, says another colleague.

One way Claire goes above and beyond is by participating in a program called Girls on the Run. Claire encouraged multiple students and staff in the Phoenix Elementary School District to join her in a 5k. The group will complete the run by the end of April 2022. The effort aims to teach valuable lessons like confidence and compassion.

Up next, Claire will teach braille in FBC’s SHARP summer program to help students maintain their skills outside of the school year. “I’ve gotten to work with so many school districts and school staff,” says Claire. “It is a lot, but it is such an exciting job, and it is so fun.”