Board & Staff

Board of Directors 2020

  • Tom Gardner, President
  • Dr. Celia Barberena, Vice-President
  • Russell Hatch, Treasurer
  • Sonja Jackson, Secretary
  • Joe Desmond
  • Randy Henson
  • Toula Hubbard
  • Dr. Ken Hunter
  • Bob Johnson


  • Steven Macias, Executive Director
  • Cheri Padin, Finance and Facilities Coordinator
  • Karen Levin, Vision Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Martha Burgoon, Blind Rehabilitation Specialist/Low Vision Clinic Coordinator
  • Esmeralda Ortiz, Orientation & Mobility Specialist
  • Marisa Vallejo, Intake Assistant/Receptionist
  • Lucy Yen, OD, Low Vision Optometrist
  • Megan Carter, OD, Low Vision Optometrist

Staff Bios

Steven Macias
Executive Director

Steven Macias, a Monterey native, serves as the Executive Director for The Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County. At 13, Mr. Macias designed a website that placed first in Monterey County’s History Day and went on to compete at the state level. At 16, Mr. Macias began working for the City of Monterey and, a few years later, for the City of Seaside in a variety of after-school and coaching positions with over 170 teams with highly respectable win-to-loss ratios. In 2008, he was the Junior Pee Wee Head Coach for the Seaside Raiders, one of twelve teams in the Monterey Bay Youth Football League, and received the Coach of the Year Award. In 2011, he began employment for the Oldtown Salinas Association as the Executive Administrator, where he worked closely with City officials, City Council members, and over 300 business owners to re-develop the downtown Salinas area. He also served as the committee chair for the Second Annual Salinas Valley Food and Wine Festival and helped launch Ciclovía Salinas. That same year, he began work for Mesa del Sol Vineyards, implementing a variety of social media strategies to drive product sales. In 2014, he returned to the City of Monterey as an Office Assistant in the administrative offices and, shortly after, joined Smith Micro Software, Inc., working to expand the company’s social media and online presence. In January 2015, he joined The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, serving as the Chief of Staff and Programs. In that capacity, Mr. Macias supervised staff for the successful production of Institute programs and events and oversaw all administrative assignments while serving as Secretary Leon Panetta’s point of contact. With his six sigma green belt and keen eye for detail, he successfully reduced staff overtime and increased event sponsorship. In February 2019, Mr. Macias left the Panetta Institute and shortly after began employment at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies as the Senior Administrative Assistant, working with nonproliferation expert Dr. William Potter on office management and scheduling needs. He was last employed at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as the Executive Administrator. Mr. Macias served on the board of directors for California State University, Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) Alumni Association and is the Founder of Monterey County Camaros Car Club. He was CSUMB’s featured alumni in October of 2018.

Mr. Macias holds an Associate in Arts in Business Administration from Monterey Peninsula College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and International Business from California State University-Monterey Bay.

Karen Levin, VRT
Vision Rehabilitation Services

Having moved to to the Monterey Peninsula from Washington, DC, Karen Levin served as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) with the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. While there, Ms. Levin provided home assessments to throughout the DC area and in nearby Maryland and Virginia. Ms. Levin engaged in support groups in Spanish and provided a two-week Foundations to Adjust to Blindness (FAB) class along with O&M colleagues where people learned independent living skills.

Ms. Levin has a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy and a master’s in VRT. She completed an internship at a VA hospital in Pennsylvania where earlier was a teacher’s assistant at a school for children with severe cerebral palsy.  She later became an educational aide in American Sign Language (ASL) classes at a Washington high school. Ms. Levin has basic ASL skills but is fluent and literate in Spanish. She looks forward to providing services to our Spanish speaking clients.

Esmeralda Ortiz, Orientation and Mobility Instructor, M.A., COMS.
Orientation and Mobility

Esmeralda Ortiz received her Master’s degree in Special Education with an option in Visual Impairments and Blindness and a focus in Orientation and Mobility from California State University, Los Angeles. Ms. Ortiz completed her orientation and mobility internship training at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System where she trained veterans who were visually impaired.  In addition, she also worked for nearly six years at the Braille Institute where she worked directly with the visually impaired youth. Ms. Ortiz is currently an Orientation and Mobility Specialist at The Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County.

Martha Burgoon
Blind Rehabilitation Specialist/Low Vision Clinic Coordinator

Martha started working at The Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County in March 2019.  She is the Supervisor of Programming & Low Vision Services.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a Master’s degree in Blind Rehabilitation Teaching.  She formerly worked at the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh for thirty-three years before joining The Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County.