Panel Named to Develop Voluntary File Format for Accessible Digital Instructional Materials

January 7, 2003

In consultation with the Education Department, the center identified the group to be known as the National File Format Technical Panel. NCAC is located at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) in Wakefield, Mass.

The panel will be composed of about 40 knowledgeable individuals representing:

  • Consumers, such as advocacy groups and state and local educational officials;

  • Technical experts, including assistive technology professionals, textbook administrators, software developers, standards organizations, and data conversion experts; and

  • Feasibility experts, such as national standards agencies, curriculum publishers, technology researchers, and ex-officio members from the Department of Education.

In order to accomplish this work, NCAC will convene a series of technical meetings during 2003 to address the interests of each of three key constituencies represented by panel members. The first meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 7 from 8:30 a. m. to 5 p.m. at the Washington Capital Hilton, 1001 16th St., N.W., in Washington.

Consumer representatives will be called upon for the first meeting with technical experts playing significant roles in subsequent meetings. The meeting is open to the public and interested parties are encouraged to attend, observe and provide comment. Other technical panel meetings are scheduled for March 11 and June 10.

In order to ensure that the proposed NFF is responsive to the needs of students with disabilities, NCAC requested that parents, students, advocates, professionals, and anyone else with relevant knowledge or experience in these issues send comments (mail to: on the following issues:

  • Impediments facing students with disabilities, including the context in which these arise.

  • A list of particular features and functions that would benefit students with disabilities and a description of how those would be beneficial.

  • A statement outlining any suggestions with regard to the creation of a National File Format.

National File Format Technical Panel

OSEP Project Officer

Bonnie Jones, OSEP, Education Research Analyst

CAST/National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (NCAC)

David Rose, NCAC Principal Investigator

Chuck Hitchcock, NCAC Project Director

Bob Dolan, Project Technical Support

CAST, Wakefield, MA

National File Format Panel Members

U.S. Department of Education


Robert Pasternack, assistant secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Stephanie Lee, director, Office of Special Education Programs

Louis Danielson, director, Office of Special Education Programs, Research-to-Practice Division


Mary Ann Siller, co-chair, National Education Programs, American Foundation for the Blind, Dallas.

Paul Schroeder, vice president of government relations, American Foundation for the Blind, Washington.

Curtis Chong, director of field operations and access technology, Iowa Department for the Blind, Des Moines, Iowa.

Mark Richert, executive director, Association for Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired, Alexandria, Va.

Melanie Brunson, director of advocacy and governmental affairs. American Council of the Blind, Washington.

Barbara Cheadle, president, National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, a division of the National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore.

Robin Church, assistant vice president for education, Learning Disabilities Association, and executive director, Kennedy Krieger School, Baltimore.

Randall Boone, Council for Learning Disabilities, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.

Sheldon Horowitz, director of professional services, National Center for Learning Disabilities, New York.

Alice Parker, assistant superintendent and director special education, California Department of Education, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Sacramento, Calif.

Susan LaVenture, executive director, National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI), Watertown, Mass.

Muffi Lavigne, information and referral coordinator, United Cerebral Palsy Association (UCPA), Washington.

Michael M. Behrman, professor, Graduate School of Education, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.

Michael Wehmeyer, associate professor, special education, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.

Irvin Shapell, publisher, Woodbine House, Bethesda, Md.

Donna Palley, Concord School District, Concord, N.H.

Jim Allan, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, Texas


Joe Sullivan, president, Duxbury Systems Inc., Westford, Mass.

Larry Skutchan, technology project leader, The American Printing House for the Blind Inc., Louisville, Ky.

Eileen Curran, vice president for education services, National Braille Press, Boston.

Bill Raeder (Jan 7 mtg.), president, National Braille Press, Boston.

James Pritchett, Project Manager, Digital Audio Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Princeton, NJ

Steve McBride, chair, Electronic Instructional Materials Committee, National Association of State Textbook Administrators, West Virginia Department of Education, East Charleston, W.Va.

Kim Hartsell, project director, Georgia Project for Assistive Technology, Forest Park, Ga.

Melonie C. Warfel, director, World Wide Standards, Adobe Systems Inc., McLean, Va.

Gary Moulton, Microsoft Accessible Technology Group, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Wash.

Madeleine Rothberg, director of research and development, National Center for Accessible Media, WGBH, Boston.

Michael Moodie, research and development officer, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, Washington.

Rick Ferrie, vice president/general manager, Mazer Corporation, Boston.

Gene Golovchinsky, senior research scientist, FX Palo Alto Laboratory Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.

Dave A. Schleppenbach, ghBraille, LLC, Purdue Technology Center, West Lafayette, Ind.

Martin Hensel, president, Texterity Inc., Southborough, Mass.


Skip Stahl, CAST, Inc., Wakefield, Mass.

John Roberts, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Md.

Margaret E. Bausch, Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.

Steve Driesler, executive director, School Division, Association of American Publishers, Washington.

Pearce McNulty, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

Alex Mlawsky, Glencoe/McGraw Hill, Columbus, Ohio.

George Kerscher, senior officer, accessible information, DAISY Consortium, Open Ebook Forum, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Missoula, Mont.

Martha Minow, Harvard Children’s Initiative, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass.

Contact: Jim Bradshaw, (202) 401-1576