Meet Vicki Barnitt
Vicki Barnitt devoted her 36-year career to improving education and the quality of life for children with disabilities and their families. After a decade of teaching and providing school-to-work transition services for students with disabilities, she earned a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of South Florida, with a focus on school-to-work transition and employment for students with severe disabilities.
Vicki is a founding member of the Florida Inclusion Network (FIN), a federal and state-funded project, currently in its 25th year, whose mission is to provide professional development, support, and resources to educators and families as they develop and implement research-based, inclusive practices for children with disabilities in Florida. FIN provides services to district-level leaders, schools, and families in each of the state’s 67 districts. Vicki has authored over twenty publications on inclusion-related topics and is an internationally published author on the topic of inclusion and systems change for children with severe disabilities.
Currently retired, Vicki sits on the Board of Directors for the Community Partnership for Children in Grant County, NM. Throughout her career and volunteer work, Vicki’s greatest reward is the quality outcomes for children with disabilities and their families as they become successful, valued, and complete members of every classroom, school, and community.
Meet Miriam Showalter
Ms. Showalter holds her bachelor’s degree in Special Education and her master’s in secondary mathematics. Out of personal experience and interest in autism, she returned to complete her undergraduate degree in 2001. For most of her teaching career, she taught autistic students and related needs at an elementary school, but her teaching experience includes students of all ages in public and private settings. Currently, Ms. Showalter is on a one-year leave from Sarasota County Schools, where serves as a case manager at a fully-inclusive middle school. Throughout her career, she provided leadership and consultation to support improved practices and collaboration. She wrote grants to provide integrated play and sensory-rich learning experiences and to give parents information in support strategies and research-based options. With eight teaching certifications, she is truly a lifelong learner, participating in countless workshops, institutes, and conferences. She served on Florida’s Math Access Points writing team and has advocated for students during multiple legislative sessions. When not working, Ms. Showalter enjoys time with family and friends or in contemplative solitude. She loves to write prose and make music. She and her husband enjoy playing piano and violin together and cultivating a backyard vegetable, fruit, and butterfly garden. Their three sons (engineering graduates) are spread across the country, but love to stay in touch and play creative games.