Board of Directors

President: Amy Ruell

I am the current president of the National Federation of the Blind. I am a product of a public school education and obtained my Bachelor of Arts and my Master of Science degrees from Smith College and Simmons College School of Social Work respectively.

I have worked as a psychiatric clinician and supervisor specializing in trauma treatment for many years and currently authorize psychiatric emergency admission for several companies. In addition, I work for Baum USA, a company that produces and sells braille displays and screen magnification products. I also am an access technology trainer and consultant and have my certification from the Access Technology Institute.

I have been active in advocacy efforts to benefit the blind for many years. I am the immediate past president of VIBUG, the oldest group of blind computer users in the country. I currently serve on the Braille Literacy Advisory Council for Massachusetts, am a member of the advisory board for the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library, and have recently been appointed to the Attorney General's task force on disability. I worked for 7 years as the program manager for a literacy program at National Braille Press. I have also served on the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Council, the board of directors for People Making a Difference, and the WGBH advisory board in the past. I also work as a beta tester for several products and have participated in multiple efforts to improve the accessibility of multiple websites and products.

I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband and am the proud mother of two grown children. My hobbies include reading, spectator sports, attending live theater productions, music, and travel.

Second Vice-President: Mika Pyyhkala

Secretary: Shara Winton

Board Member: Basil Maurice

Born in Heidelberg West Germany on December 28, 1964, I came to the United States with my parents in March of 1965. We eventually settled in the town of Ludlow. I attended the Ludlow public school system and graduated from the Ludlow High School in June of 1982. I received a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice in May of 1986 from Westfield State College. I received a Certificate in Advanced Paralegal Studies from Our Lady of the Elms College in 1990. I have worked as a peer advocate for the Stavros Center for Independent Living since 1998.

In mid Spring of 1969, I lost a substantial portion; about 97%; of my vision due to a medical condition known as hydrocephalous, (water on the brain), which destroyed my optic nerve. I came to the National Federation of the Blind in 1987. Over the years, I have served as Springfield chapter president, chapter treasurer, board member, Treasurer of the Springfield chapter, and as a member of the state board.

In addition to my work with NFB, I am a member of the Lodge of the Loyal Order of the Moose and hold a "General" class Amateur radio operator's license. I serve the City of Springfield as a member of the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services unit, the Amateur Radio Emergency Services unit, and the local emergency planning committee.

Board Member: Karen Dupuis

Board Member: Mark Paquette

Mark Paquette has extensive experience as an IT consultant and systems' engineer, and has worked for a number of businesses and organizations providing consultation, training, and hardware and software support. He has also been an audio engineer for his local radio reading service. He received his A.S. degree in Computer Science Information Security and Assurance from Holyoke Community College in May 2011 and also has certifications in Windows NT for CFSE and audio engineering.

Mark is a board member at large of NFBMA and is also the Vice-President of the Springfield chapter. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus in his community and assists as a volunteer at a summer camp for blind children in the summer.

Board Member: Meaghan Roper

Board Member: David Ticchi

A lifelong calling to promote education and understanding characterizes all of David Ticchi’s professional endeavors. A faculty member at Newton North High School, he has taught English and supervises a School-to-Career program, working closely with students to prepare them for real-world options. Concurrent with his role as a teacher, David serves as Special Assistant to the President at the Legal Sea Foods Corporation acting as co-chair of an ethics program and facilitating internal training and communication projects. Before taking on these current challenges, David filled an executive position for over 10 years at Xerox Imaging Systems (XIS), a Xerox subsidiary.

Legally blind since birth, David graduated from the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), receiving his B.A. in economics cum laude. After spending a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, he returned to Boston to earn a Masters degree and a Doctorate degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

One of his proudest moments occurred in 1998 when David was named “National Blind Educator of the Year” by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). In 1996, David was chosen a Community Hero by the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and carried the Olympic Flame in the Olympic Torch Relay.

Board Member: Steven Max-Faults