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Press Release

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Skip Koch
(850) 510-1872

Nonprofit Blind Services Organization Selects Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith For Their “Visionary Leadership Award”

Tallahassee - The Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind (FAASB) announced today that Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith is the recipient of the “FAASB Visionary Leadership Award.”

The sixteen-member FAASB Board, comprised of the senior executives of community-based nonprofit organizations throughout Florida, unanimously selected Commissioner Smith at its Board meeting in Tallahassee yesterday.

Commissioner Smith will receive the prestigious award during the 2010 Florida Vision Summit being held in Tallahassee today. Commissioner Smith is one of three public officials to receive the Award in its inaugural year.

FAASB President Robert Kelly said, “Commissioner Smith oversees the public education of Florida’s blind and visually impaired children, as well as the Florida Division of Blind Services. His leadership is crucial to thousands of Florida families. Under Commissioner Smith’s leadership, we have seen a new vision in Tallahassee. One that is passionate and effective.” Mr. Kelly is Executive Director of the Florida Lions’ Conklin Center for the Blind in Daytona Beach.

FAASB Board member Elly DuPré, executive director of Lighthouse of Broward, said, “Commissioner Smith has brought new life, new excitement, and new leadership to the Division of Blind Services that is helping seniors here in Broward County and all across south Florida.”

FAASB Board member Lee Nasehi, president of Lighthouse of Central Florida said, “We share Commissioner Smith’s passion and new vision for helping school-aged children. Even in lean budget times, vision matters in our leaders and our children. Commissioner Smith is my kind of visionary leader.”

The FAASB Visionary Leadership Award is reserved for distinguished individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a new vision and leadership in public service, in the for-profit private sector, or in the nonprofit community. Each honoree must have a distinguished body of work aimed at improving blind services in Florida and the lives of individual Floridians with vision loss or blindness.