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GMS Advisory Council

The NC State Board of Education Appoints 5-member Advisory Council at the Governor Morehead School

In September, 2014, the State Board of Education appointed a 5-member Advisory Council for the Governor Morehead School. The members of the Governor Morehead School Advisory Council are listed below.

Rachel Martinez, Chairman

Rachel Martinez of Greensboro was appointed by the State Board on February 4, 2016 as an individual from the special education community. She has been a Spanish Teacher in several schools in Guilford County, NC and in Connecticut. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, with a minor in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and holds K-12 certification in teaching students with visual impairments.


Ed Summers, Vice-Chairman

Ed Summers represents individuals from the blind community being visually impaired for many years. He is a software engineer and an accessibility specialist. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from UNCW and 20 years of professional experience as a software developer and manager.  He currently serves as Senior Manager, Accessibility and Applied Assistive Technology, SAS Institute, Inc.

Ed’s personal mission is to enable people with disabilities to realize their fullest potential. He fulfills that mission as a leader in the software industry and disability-related not-for-profit organizations. 

Ed leads the accessibility team at SAS which helps people of all abilities succeed using SAS software. They also help SAS customers fulfill their disability-related legal obligations.

Ed’s passion is education and in 2012, he created a professional development program on how to use the Apple iPad effectively in the classroom with students with visual impairments (in collaboration with Ms. Diane Brauner, a teacher of the visually impaired). 

Ed is also leading several projects that make math and science more accessible for students with disabilities. He is the co-investigator on a NASA Education and Public Outreach project that will deliver an eBook on astronomy designed to be accessible for students with visual impairments. Ed is a Creative Technical Advisor on the Skynet Junior Scholars project which will deliver a browser-based interface that allows middle school students of all abilities to conduct research using a global network of robotic telescopes. Ed is also the driving force behind the STEM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities. This event will connect young students with disabilities with role models, i.e. successful professionals with disabilities that are working in STEM fields. Ed serves on the board of several non-profit organizations

Traci Wilkerson

Traci Wilkerson was appointed to the Advisory Council by the State Board of Education in 2019 to serve as the representative from Wake County where the Governor Morehead School is located. Traci is a Braillist for Equal Eyes Vision Services in Raleigh, NC.  She is passionate about working with students who are blind or visually impaired.  She has served as a Braillist for over five years in the Wake County area. She transcribes materials into Braille, creates tactile-ready materials, and produces large print materials.

Traci also holds a bachelors degree in Accounting from Meredith College. She has over 25 years of experience as an Office Manager/Bookkeeper. She and her husband own a small business in Raleigh. They have two children who are both visually impaired.

Annette Vinding

Annette Vinding has over 35 years of service as a teacher of the visually impaired in several school districts, the Early Learning Sensory Support Program, the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and as Adjunct Instructor, NC Central University. She is a certified low vision therapist and holds a Master of Arts in Special Education-specialization in vision impairment, a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies, and elementary teacher certification from the San Francisco State University.


Donna Permar

Ms. Permar is a member representing the local school district. She holds a Bachelors of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She attended the Governor Morehead School for the Blind from 1964-1977. 

Ms. Permar currently serves as staff assistant at the Duke Medical Center. She coordinates and prepares monthly call schedules for the Medical Intensive Care Unit; monitors medical student enrollment for the Medicine Sub-internship; and coordinates clinic appointments, referrals and diagnostic tests for clinic patients. She also arranges meetings, maintains calendar, coordinate travel arrangements, and composes correspondence to patients and Duke Medical Center staff. Ms. Permar previously served as a medical secretary and administrative secretary.

Ms. Permar has served on the Durham Area Transit Authority Board of Directors, is experienced as an event coordinator, and has held officer positions in several organizations. 

Advisory Council Calendar

The Council meets quarterly (August, November, February, May). Advisory Council meetings are meetings open to the public. Agendas for meetings are available on the GMS website.

The GMS Advisory Council meetings are scheduled for: February 10, 2023; May 12, 2023; August 11, 2023; November 10, 2023.

Contact Information:

Melvin Diggs
Superintendent/School Director
Governor Morehead School

[email protected]


Accessibility Notice

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the American with Disabilities Act, The Governor Morehead School for the Blind is committed to having a website that is as accessible for individuals with disabilities. If you are a student, parent, or any individual who has a disability and the format of any material on our website interferes with your ability to access the information, please bring it to the attention of Dr. Sarah McManus, Digital Learning Director at [email protected].  The issue will be corrected and/or an alternate format will be made available.