From Phil Hatlen
Ann B. Silverrain is a hero to many blind and deafblind persons in this state. They remember her with love and respect as their teacher, their mentor, and their friend, sometimes at a time when only she seemed to care deeply about them.
Ann received her BA and Med degrees as an honors student at the UT. She earned her teaching certificates in elementary education, learning disabilities, and visually impaired. In 1974, Ann accepted a position at the Texas School for the Blind as a teacher of deafblind students. At the time, Texas, along with the entire country, had experienced a literal epidemic of babies born with deafness and blindness due to rubella. Educational programs were desperate for skilled, creative teachers for this particularly challenging group of children. Ann Silverrain responded, and in a few short years became a legend at the Texas School for the Blind for her creative and effective methods of teaching deafblind children.
Ann then went on to become the coordinator of braille production at ESC #20 in San Antonio. TEA had decided to equip two service centers, #s 4 and 20, with high-tech braille production equipment, with the hope of being able to deliver high quality braille textbooks in a timely manner throughout the State. Ann’s capability in braille, as a leader of a team, and as a quick learner about technology, soon resulted in the establishment of Region #20 as one of the outstanding braille production programs in the U.S. Her staff were completely dedicated to Ann, and they shared her pride as one textbook after another was produced and placed in the hands of blind students.
This was when I became personally acquainted with Ann. I shared her passion for braille as a reading and writing medium, and we worked together on many projects. After the legislature passed what has become known as the braille bill in 1991, Ann emerged as a leader in implementing the bill. I was appointed the Chair of the Commission on Braille Textbook Production, and Ann was one of its most active members. I often called upon Ann to help me in working with textbook publishers, with ways in which to assure timely delivery of braille, and with TEA in order to assure a smooth process from commercial textbook producer to braille production to the student. Ann Silverrain was truly an inspired leader in utilizing high tech methods for the production of error-free braille.
When Ann was first diagnosed with cancer, she requested, and was granted, permission to step down from the position of coordinator of braille production. Region 20 re-assigned her to a role as a consultant in the education of blind and visually impaired students. She excelled in this new responsibility for a very short time.
Ann Silverrain died far too young of cancer. The Board of Trustees and the staff of TSBVI request that we honor this special person who cared so much for children with disabilities by naming a building on our campus the Ann B. Silverrain Building.