2009 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Orientation and Mobility Instructor
Thanks to George Keckler, hundreds of youngsters in Nassau County learn vital self-advocacy skills and are prepared for life in school—and beyond. Although Keckler estimates he’s worked in 90 percent of Nassau County school districts, he believes it’s the work he does outside the school building that sets the Nassau BOCES program apart.
Keckler has more than 35 years experience working one-on-one with the vision-impaired. His warm personality helps his students feel at ease, enabling them to relax and learn with confidence. As a Nassau BOCES mobility specialist, Keckler begins working with vision-impaired students as early as kindergarten, helps them tackle the traumatic transition to middle school and eventually prepares them to head off to college.
He believes that every student heading off to college should know how to navigate public transportation. So, he spends many Saturdays each year at Penn Station, making sure that his students learn every step of the trip—from getting the train schedule to asking strangers for directions to finding the designated meeting spot.
Keckler developed the orientation and mobility program for Nassau BOCES Hearing and Vision Services in 1989. Fifteen years ago, Hearing and Vision Services began offering supplemental mobility classes at the end of the summer to help students adjust to new locations while the school buildings were empty.
In addition, Keckler served adults for nine years through the Jewish Guild for the Blind and for eight years through the Helen Keller Center. Since 1980, he has provided training to the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped clients as a private contractor for the New York Commission for the Blind.
Keckler holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Adelphi University. He is married and has two children.