Scott Flagel, MS
Chief Executive Officer
Scott joined Lighthouse of Collier as the Executive Director after completing a successful career in the Senior Living Industry. He spent 23 years with The Eddy Senior Living Communities in upstate New York. The Eddy is a comprehensive continuum of healthcare, supportive housing and community services that reaches 22 counties and serves more than 40,000 people yearly in the capital region of New York. Eddy services help maximize independence, quality of life and dignity of individuals, and help prevent the premature institutionalization of chronically ill, frail or disabled seniors.
Since moving to Naples, Florida in January 2015, Scott has been very involved in the Southwest Florida community. He completed the Bonita Leadership program and was a board member of the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.
Scott has a passion for giving back to those less fortunate than him. He was very involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Southern Adirondacks for 10 years. He was a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters twice as a “Big Brother” and also as a board member and board President.
Scott received his Bachelor degree in Business/Accounting from George Washington University and his Master of Science degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Massachusetts.
Director of Programs
As our current Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT) and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS), Wendy brings more than 20 years’ experience in the field of education and rehabilitation for persons with low vision and blindness. She has worked with individuals of all ages, abilities/disabilities and cultural backgrounds. Her experience includes working as a: part-time Parent Advisor for blind/visually impaired babies/toddlers, a Teacher of the Visually Impaired in the various school districts, an Assistive Technology Specialist (performing AT Assessments and training on screen readers, notetakers and screen magnification programs), and Orientation and Mobility Specialist (babies to seniors) and a VR College Counselor. Wendy’s passion for travel and cultural exploration brought her to China, the Navajo Indian Reservation (in Arizona) and Ghana, West Africa, where she also worked as a TVI/COMS. Ms. Olson holds a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Teaching for The Blind/VI and a graduate certificate in Orientation and Mobility from San Francisco State University. She is also certified in the State of Florida as a TVI.
At the Lighthouse, Wendy is currently responsible for teaching independent living, orientation and mobility and braille skills to adults. She also organizes various recreation and leisure events, such as the Out and About monthly mobility group and the Unique Skills in Vision Workshops. Wendy finds great satisfaction in having the opportunity to participate in her clients’ journey towards gaining hope and independence, while adjusting to their vision loss.
Vision Rehabilitation Therapist
Jennifer was born and raised in Miami, FL. From a young age, she has been interested in the field of Vision Rehabilitation, due to her father being blind and a CVRT himself. While in high school, Jennifer volunteered in local rehab agencies, and continued this trend by serving as an intern at a local rehab agency while pursuing her Bachelor’s in Psychology at FGCU. She has previously served as a Transition Program Coordinator and is currently completing her Master’s in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy through UMass Boston. She enjoys getting to know clients and hearing their stories, all while watching them grow throughout the program and adjusting to their vision loss.
Assistive Technology Instructor
Mentoring & Support Groups
Rick joined Lighthouse of Collier as a volunteer in February 2015 and it was known early that his services were invaluable. In working with Case Management, Hart works with clients on an individual basis assisting in meeting the changing needs of life as it relates to vision impairment. He targets specific individual goals as part of the plan in overall independence for each client.
Also working with Assistive Technology Instruction and facilitating support groups, Rick is a key member of the staff working with our transition students from ages 14-22 in preparing them for the work force or higher education.
Hart holds a Master of Arts in Community Agency Counseling from Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois. He is also a licensed Professional Counselor and a member of the American Counseling Association.
Office Manager / Bookkeeper
With over 20 years’ experience in bookkeeping, Sura brings her organizational skills, joy of numbers and knowledge to Lighthouse of Collier, Inc. Adept at streamlining day to day tasks and processes, she is a welcome asset. She enjoys helping others and being part of the team. Her love of accounting started in high school and continued through University of Phoenix. Sura is the proud parent of two sons.
Stephany prides herself on having excellent interpersonal communication skills. She is bilingual and enjoys living in Naples. Stephany has worked in customer service positions that have allowed her to assist people which she enjoys very much. She is currently working on her Associates Degree in Psychology from Florida Southwestern State College.
Samantha grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut until she attended Florida Gulf Coast University. She graduated in 2018 with a Degree in Social Work, a minor in Sociology, and concentration in psychology. Within the social work program, Samantha wore many hats from being the Vice President of the BSW program, working as a research assistant, even being a mentor for a child in foster care. She has worked with various populations within the Southwest Florida community as well as other parts of the world such as traveling to Africa to work with the Social Work department of the Ghanaian government. Samantha prides herself on upholding and adhering to the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics.
Cindy Bello, MA, OTR/L
Director of Children’s Programs
Cindy Bello has joined the Lighthouse team serving all children. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Susquehanna University and a Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University. Cindy began her career in pediatrics, providing early intervention occupational therapy services to children from birth to three. Over the course of her 27 year career as an OT, Cindy has served individuals of all ages in a variety of settings, including outpatient rehab, acute care hospital, school, and home health. She received a Graduate Certificate in Low Vision Rehabilitation from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2016, and enjoyed implementing low vision strategies in the home to help individuals maximize the use of their vision. Cindy began volunteering at the Lighthouse Summer Camp with children and also worked with adults assisting with Activities of Daily Living Classes.
Sandra Zimmerman MS, MEd
Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Sandy has joined us as a volunteer in our Children’s Program. She is retired from supervising Teachers of the Visually and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists in the Pittsburgh area and previously coordinating the Outreach Program and the Early Intervention Program at Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia. Sandy is a graduate of Salus University where she received a M.S. in Low Vision Rehabilitation and a M.Ed. in Education of the Visually Impaired. She and her husband have recently relocated to Naples from Pennsylvania and is enjoying the sunshine and her newest passion, Pickleball!
Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Kathy was born and raised in the Chicago area. She earned both her Bachelor and Master of Education degrees at Northern Illinois University. The first was in foreign language and the second was Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Kathy taught for two major school districts—both, visually impaired students Kindergarten to age 22. She also holds professional educator certification in the State of Florida as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired.
Presently at the Lighthouse, Kathy provides services in the Early Intervention Program which includes babies through children who are age five. Besides the privilege of working with their children for the Lighthouse program, it’s the families and school staff who make successful visits possible! Also, the many Lighthouse professionals are always available to offer advice and resources when needed.
Kathy loves to travel with tour groups and has visited a preschool of the arts in China and an elementary school in Africa. She says she is also happy drinking coffee at home while watching TCM.
Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist
Prior to his retirement in 2016, Professor Emeritus Zimmerman was the Coordinator of the University of Pittsburgh Vision Studies Program, which is a program that prepares teachers of the blind and visually impaired and orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists to serve the education and rehabilitation needs of individuals in the U.S. He is a 1973 graduate of Kutztown University’s teacher of the visually impaired program, and a 1976 Master’s degree graduate of Western Michigan University’s Orientation and Mobility program. He received his PhD in Education and Human Development, with emphasis in O&M research, from Vanderbilt University in 1987. He has served the educational and O&M needs of children and adults in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Texas, and Tennessee. He has received numerous national and regional awards for his service, including the 2014 Lawrence W. Blaha Award, which is the highest award presented within his O&M professional association of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI).
From 1996 to 2000, Dr. Zimmerman served as Chair and Co-Chair of the various AERBVI committees that were responsible for the establishment of the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals, the national certification body, which now provides multiple types of professional certification in the field of blindness.
Professor Emeritus Zimmerman is also the creator of the Zimmerman Low Vision Simulation Kit, which is used by thousands of professionals around the world for informing others about low vision.